Temple Kimbap

Many years ago, I had a chance to learn about temple food for 2 months from a famous monk-chef in Korea. One of his teachings was what we eat and when we eat is very important.

In the morning, eat light food like porridge, for lunch have solid food, a full meal but asmall amount. For dinner in the evening eat just fruits. Eat seasonal food when you can because they are best fresh and most nutritious. Eat a little as you can and don’t eat meat.

Temple food is naturally healthy and vegetarian. It has become increasingly popular in Korea because people are concerned about their wellbeing.

Unfortunately, monks and nuns do not use onions, garlic, chives, spring onions or leeks, the most common five pungent, spicy vegetables. In Korea we call these five forbidden vegetables “o-shin-chae”. Their intense scent and spiciness may distract monks during meditation. Until recently, I always tried to avoid eating “o-shin-chae”.  I don’t why but I didn’t like their smells.

In keeping with the Buddhist principle of harmony with nature ,  Tofu is a vital source of protein for monks as well as one of the main ingredients in temple food. Seaweed has been a part of Korean diet for centuries as well as being a seasoning in temple food.



Mak Kimchi

(Chinese or Naba Cabbage)


Kimchi is THE most popular Korean dish. It is made of fermented vegetables with a variety of different spices.

As  Kimchi  gets older, fermentation creates the different levels of flavours; at the beginning for the first  2-3 days, it is salty and spicy but as time goes on, it produces a vinegary sharpness  and the spiciness becomes milder and even sweet. Therefore old Kimchi is the best ingredient for use in Korean stews, soups and pancakes.

Cambridge is a very small city and you can get around easily by bike or foot. It attracts a wide range of people, often students and academics, from all over the world. However there is only one tiny Korean supermarket well outside the town centre. Their range is limited because they sell other oriental food too so this does not satisfy fans of Korean food. So for these reasons, I have tried to find very similar ingredients from an English supermarket.
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