Brief Ancient History of Korean BBQ
Korean BBQ has truly come a long way from its ancient tribal origins to the point of global popularity that it is enjoying today. Given that Korean BBQ is close to all of our hearts, we believe that it just proper that we take a look back at how Korean BBQ, or at least the concept behind it, got introduced to the world. Today’s article will briefly feature the historical origins of Korean BBQ that you probably haven’t heard before.
Some historians point out that Koreans descended from the eastern barbarians of Maek, a nomadic group of people who left their territory in central Asia to go east. This group of people eventually reached Northeast Asia where most of Korea is now situated. The Maek group brought a special kind of meat dish with them so they could have enough sustenance to survive the harsh elements that they expected to face during their movement. The name that they gave to this meat dish is Maekjeok, and the meat cuts involved in this dish had already been seasoned prior to cooking. The Maek’s cooking technique differed from the technique that was used to prepare typical Chinese meat dishes wherein the meat would only be seasoned after it has already been cooked. The logic behind the pre-seasoning of meat, we suppose, was for the Maek tribal members to save time in terms of food preparation given that they were regularly on the move.
There was a point in Korean history when Maekjeok almost disappeared because the two ancient kingdoms, namely, Baekje and Silla, welcomed Buddhism. The eating of meat was generally prohibited during the reign of these two kingdoms given the prevailing religion, and it was only the members of very small tribes located outside of these two kingdoms that continued eating meat. It wasn’t only when the Mongols invaded Korea that the prohibition to eat Maekjeok and other meat dishes had been lifted. The trend of eating seasoned meat before being roasted or grilled over open fire eventually spread throughout the entire Korean peninsula and got widely adopted by the locals.
Aren’t we all glad that Korean BBQ withstood the test of time and that we are still enjoying its goodness up to this day? Feel free to share this historical information about Korean BBQ to your family and friends.
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