Sunday, November 14, 2021

[Food] Gungoguma (Roasted sweet potato, 군고구마)


[Food] Gungoguma (Roasted sweet potato, 군고구마)

My father used to bring home Korean street food after a hard day's work, and one of them was gungoguma (roasted sweet potato). Roasted sweet potato is a typical and common Korean street food from decades ago. A Gungoguma street vendor uses a huge, cylindrical goguma roaster which has six smaller cylinders within to contain sweet potatoes and bake them. We don't see as much gungoguma (roasted sweet potato) today as in the olden days as they have been replaced by 24-hours convenience stores :)

Gungoguma (roasted sweet potato) roaster

Gungoguma roaster in convenience store

Goguma (sweet potato in Korean) is harvested from the summer to autumn seasons but you can find it regardless of the season. It is usually steamed, deep-fried or roasted because of its very sweet taste and smooth texture :)

When goguma is roasted, its skin becomes very crispy and its inside becomes very sweet and soft with a golden color. Its sweetness tastes as good as pure honey. So people use an oven, pan and grill to cook sweet potato at home to derive excess sweetness from it.

Goguma used to be a Korean's best friend since it was imported from Japan in the 17th century. Goguma's origins can be found in Central and South America before coming to Europe, China, Japan and Korea. In the 17th century, Korea was in a chaotic situation due to power conflicts concerning the rule of the Korean peninsular. Everyday people were naturally left in a fatal famine so goguma acted as an emergency crop because sweet potato could be easily farmed. Some people, including officials, even recorded manuals on how to farm sweet potato to increase its production in the country.

Today, Koreans who have more advanced cooking instruments and skills make a variety of sweet potato dishes including chips, bread, cake, pizza, drinks and more. However, in my personal opinion, gungoguma (roasted sweet potato) is the most popular and best tasting among all sweet potato dishes because it derives the greatest sweetness from sweet potato :)

If it is a bitterly cold day, how about savoring some gungoguma (roasted sweet potato)? Bring some sweet potatoes home, and bake them for warm sweetness :)

Bon Appétit!

1 comment:

  1. This looks like yet another beautiful recipe. I hope to savour it in your motherland one day soon after the pandemic comes to an end.