Thursday, March 29, 2012

Incheon : different varieties of food are in display

Diverse Snacks Await at Sinpo Market in IncheonIncheon is known for its diversity as it has long drawn people from a range of different ethnicities due to its being a major port. This may be why it is home to the nation's first China Town and Western-style park, among other cultural influences.

This cultural mix is reflected not only in its architecture, but also in its food. Sinpo Market, one of the city's attractions, constantly draws visitors with its smorgasbord of delicious treats that were created to appeal to the various tastes of foreign visitors. Here are a select few.

◆ Honeyed Fried-Chicken with Hot Sauce

Sinpo Market is known for its dakgangjeong, or honeyed fried-chicken with hot sauce, a mouth -- and occasionally eye -- watering dish that is crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. With its garnish of chopped pepper and peanuts, the first bite is spicy enough to wake up your senses, but it leaves a refreshing aftertaste that can be quite addictive.

Many people claim it even tastes better when it gets cold as it absorbs the flavor of the sauce. It is said that Chinese sailors developed the cooking method for dakgangjeong so they could enjoy fried chicken for a longer period of time.

◆ Chewy Noodles

One of the most popular dishes in Korea is jjolmyeon, or noodles that have a very chewy texture, and it was at this market that they first became introduced to local consumers four decades ago. The thick noodles remain a firm favorite due to their affordable prices and sweet and sour taste.

Jjolmyeon was created accidentally at a factory producing ingredients for naengmyeon, or cold noodles. The factory mistakenly churned out noodles that were unsuitable for naengmyeon because they were too thick. As the owner did not want to throw them away and lose money, he gave them to a restaurant where the cook created a new dish by mixing the noodles with red pepper paste and vegetables. Now they are enjoyed for their initially chewy taste that gives way to the sensation of all the infused spices.

◆ Other Treats

The market also tempts visitors with a variety of delicious treats including mandu, or dumplings made with thin dough and filled with meat or vegetables. These come in various colors and each has its own flavor: yellow mandu with a pumpkin taste, green ones with a hint of mugwort, or even pink ones with a cherry taste.

Another signature dish, gonggalbbang, or large hollow bread, tastes sweet and crispy and exhibits influences from Chinese people who took root in Incheon.

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