Although we’re only just recovering from the first nightmarish round, Netflix has released a teaser for the second series of Squid Game, which was the streaming company’s most watched programme of all time.
The South Korean show has been pretty influential, even when it comes to food. Apparently, Google searches for “Korean cuisine” shot up in 2021, when the first series was released. That’s especially when it came to things like dalgona candy and tteok-bokki (spicy rice cakes), both of which appeared in episodes.
In anticipation of season two, which will be airing sometime in 2023, here are a few specialities to try, and where to find them in Scotland.
We like any dish with an egg on top, and this traditional Korean comfort food option features a cooked or raw one, along with rice, vegetables and meat. Try it at family restaurant, Kim’s Mini Meals, in Edinburgh, where they serve up their lunches and dinners on charming chintz-y cutlery and the dining space is like a cosy living room. The menu also includes the famous kimbap - seaweed and rice rolls that are often filled with Spam, among other things.
You’ll find commercial brands of this sweet, hot and salty condiment, which is made from fermented soybeans, sticky rice, salt and red chilli, in most Asian supermarkets, like Glasgow’s SeeWoo or Matthew’s Foods in Dundee, Inverness, Kirkcaldy or Glasgow. It can be used in almost any recipe, if you like a bit of spice.
Glasgow west end restaurant Kimchi Cult serves heaps of this marinated and barbecued beef, with its name that literally translates as “fire meat”, as part of a bibimbap dish, on loaded fries or even with nachos. For vegetarians, they make a mushroom based version of this dish.
Also served at the above Korean-style fast food restaurant are kimchi burgers and Korean fried chicken, including one with honey butter or a ‘hot numbing’ sauce, which sounds like it might be good to eat in preparation for root canal. We also like the sound of Edinburgh restaurant Ong Gie’s deep fried garlic fried chicken served with rice cakes, as well as the capital’s Canadian restaurant Down the Hatch’s sticky Korean barbecue ones, and Bundits of Leith’s bao buns filled with Korean chicken, Asian slaw and Kewpie mayo. Apparently, the secret to perfect Korean fried chicken, of which there are many varieties, is potato starch in the batter, and double frying.
The popularity of this fermented cabbage and radish creation has exploded over the last few years and it’s become a kitchen staple as well as a healthy eating favourite, thanks to its gut health promoting ingredients. You’ll find kimchi on burgers, pizzas and in cheese toasties, and we’ve had it in top restaurants including Glasgow’s Celentano’s (in the middle of smoked cod donuts) and Edinburgh’s Noto (with buttermilk chicken). You can easily buy it in Asian supermarkets, or there are independent Scottish makers like Aye Pickled and the Edinburgh Fermentation, who create an Organic Mac Kimchi.