Hey whatsup everyone! February has almost come to a close. This year is already passing by quickly. Hope you’re ready for another quick lesson today!
Today, we’re gonna talk about two words that get beginner Korean learners confused.
You will often hear Koreans refer to rice as “밥”. But did you know, that this only refers to the cooked version? The word “밥” can also refer to a meal as well. So you’ll often hear Koreans say:
The literal meaning for this phrase means “Have you eaten?”. This phrase on the surface may seem like someone is just asking have you eaten, but it also doubles as a way of checking up on someone or just a casual greeting (Kind of like how people always ask how’s the weather”.
The other word “쌀” refers to uncooked rice you find in the bags in stores or out in the fields.
As you know, rice is a huge part of the Korean diet and it’s now become a big part of mine as well since I’ve been here for so long now.
When you go to restaurants here in Korea, you will typically find that they give you standard white rice, however, there are many kinds of rice:
보리밥 (bo-ri-bap) = barley rice
콩밥 (kong-bap) = bean rice
메밀밥 (me-mil-bap) = buckwheat rice
녹두밥 (nok-du-bap) = mung bean rice
옥수수밥 (ok-su-su-bap) = corn rice
팥밥 (pat-bap) = red bean rice
There are also several dishes with rice as the main ingredient. Usually, if a food has “밥” at the end, it is easy to know that rice is it’s main ingredient. Here are some popular dishes:
비빔밤 (bi-bim-bap) = Rice mixed with various vegetables and red pepper paste
볶음밥 = (bo-kkeum-bap) = Fried rice. Can include other ingredients like various veggies, shrimp, pork, or beef
김밥 (kim-bap) = Rolled rice wrapped in seaweed and cut into individual pieces. Includes a variety of styles and ingredients.
국밥 = (guk-bap) = Rice mixed with hot soup
주먹밥 (ju-meok-bap) = Rice balls which may be filled with fermented radish, tuna, and dried seaweed
쌈밥 (ssam-bap) = Cooked rice wrapped in lettuce or perilla leaves along with pork or beef.
And there you have it! You should definitely try some of the dished above. Most Korean restaurants will sell bibimbap and ssambap, however, you may have to look a little harder for the others, or try making them yourself.
Until next time!Remember that romanization is only a tool! Try not to depend on it too much and try learning the Korean alphabet and how to pronounce the letters properly to have an easier time learning Korean.