Sunday, May 17, 2020

[Food] Memil Jeonbyeong (메밀전병, Spicy Kimchi Buckwheat Pancake Roll)


[Food] Memil Jeonbyeong (메밀전병, Spicy Kimchi Buckwheat Crepe)

Gangwon province in South Korea (Republic of Korea) is famous for its natural and clean environment, as well as the variety of ingredients from its mountains including herbs and mushrooms. Gangwon province can be divided into two regions; Yeongdong (meaning 'east of the mountain') and Yeongseo ('west of the mountain'). Yeongdong has long earned a good name for itself because of its beautiful coast line, marine resources (fish and seaweed) and relatively warm and cool weather. However Yeongseo is full of high mountains, narrow valleys, turbulent rivers and streams, and freezing cold weather which is (not always but usually) colder than Siberia. This particular climate in the Yeongseo region of Gangwon province provides good terrain for buckwheat. Among all the cities and towns in Yeongseo region, Jeongseon is its most well-known town, popular for herbs and buckwheat gourmet.

A stream and mountain in Jeongseon

Herbs and mushrooms of Jeongseon market

A 'grandma' selling buckwheat powder, honey and herbs in Jeongseon market

Many Koreans consider potato and corn the only typical foods in Gangwon province (also symbolizing the naivety and simplicity of citizens of Gangwon province), but I don't agree. It is true that Gangwon province produces a high quality of potato, corn and chinese cabbage but I think buckwheat has to be one of the staple foods in Gangwon province. Buckwheat has been grown in Gangwon province for a very long time (8~9th century Korea when there were three kingdoms in the Korean peninsula) even before potato and corn was imported into the Korean peninsula. Buckwheat grows very well on tough, cold and barren land, and it is also very resistant to any damage by the climate or insects. I think that it symbolizes the toughness and perseverance of the Gangwon people who survived in the mountainous terrains that have relatively less food resources than other provinces.

Citizens of Yeongseo have been cooking many gourmet cuisines using buckwheat. They crush harvested buckwheat into powder and cook them into pancake, noodle and muk (Korean style jello). Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite Korean foods, 'Memil Junbyung(메밀전병, Spicy Kimchi Buckwheat Crepe)' :)

Memil Jeonbyeong (메밀전병, Spicy Kimchi Buckwheat Pancake Roll)

Mix buckwheat powder and water to make buckwheat dough. Pour some oil onto an iron pan, and bake thin buckwheat pancake on it. Meanwhile, mix sweet potato noodle, chopped kimchi, minced meat and spicy red chili powder into a bowl to make the inside of a crepe. When the crepe is ready, put readymade inside onto the crepe, roll it and chop it. The result is as following :)

Memil Jeonbyeong (메밀전병, Spicy Kimchi Buckwheat Pancake Roll)

It looks like very mild, with a soft and chewy texture but please don't be deceived by its look. It's very spicy and filled with kimchi and spicy red chili powder. As you bite into one, you will soon look for a glass of water :) By the way, I like crispy memil jeonbyeong more, which is fresh out of the pan as in the following picture :)

Memil Jeonbyeong (메밀전병, Spicy Kimchi Buckwheat Pancake Roll)

The best part is that memil jeonbyeong is a very cheap snack :) Buckwheat is not an expensive or common ingredient that you can buy anywhere in Gangwon province, obviously memil jeonbyeong is cheap too :) But you'd better not look over the taste of buckwheat with its savory, chewy and soft texture:)

I can tell you that Jeongseon has very beautiful rivers and valleys :) If you're looking for some leisure time in a clean environment with traditional Korean food, then how about visiting Jeongseon? (even though you have to climb high mountains and cross streams, it will be worth a visit :)

Bon Appétit!

1 comment:

  1. Delicious recipe. I hope to savour this one day in South Korea if I have the opportunity to go.