BTS? Psy?, these are the two things that may come to your mind when you hear the word ‘K-Pop’ or even ‘Korea’. But for me, it’s more than just them. Born in Indonesia and living in Germany for the last 6 years, I have nothing related to Korea in my life’s history. Thanks to globalization it has become easier to connect with different populations and cultures. Though I have never lived there, Korea has become my everyday life. I listen, watch and speak in Korean. The variety of shows, food, music and books comfort me a lot and the Korean alphabet Hangul has become a kind of morse code for me since no one around me understand the language and so, I never use any other language in my diary.
Being raised in Indonesia where there isn’t summer or winter makes me have a romance about seasonal things such as jingle bells that start to echo when Christmas comes, associated with winter and snow. And Korea sure does a lot of that in their drama and variety show. The excitement about the first snow every year, a picnic on a hot summer day, walking on a street covered with fallen leaves in autumn or that feeling of having a chance to restart everything again when the flowers began to bloom in spring. They will do many special episodes related to season such as summer holiday special, summer horror special, spring this, summer that, autumn this, winter that with much the same seasonal songs as ‘BGM’ that always come back every year. Just like nostalgia towards a certain era when you listen to some old songs, I can feel that season’s vibe just by listening to K-Pop seasonal songs. The wave sound in the background and upbeat rhythm makes me feel as if the sea breeze blows passing by me. And that is exactly the reason why those songs always make a comeback every year.
Besides seasonal songs, there is also something that always makes a comeback on Korea TV shows whenever the weather becomes hotter, and yes maybe you already guessed it right… it’s seasonal food! Watching Korean TV shows for 8 years made me know the food very well by heart because, as these summer songs, it’s always the same food that makes a comeback on the screen every year. Especially when they do an episode with summer food as the theme, it would be weird if these dishes are missed.
The first dish is an extremely popular food for hot summer days in Korea. Naengmyun means cold noodles, and it’s exactly what it sounds like! Naengmyeon is a cold noodle dish of thin, chewy noodles that are made with buckwheat and potato or sweet potato starch. Served in a bowl of ice-cold, clear, and refreshing beef broth with sliced cucumber, pear, and radish for additional flavour and crunch, Naengmyun is definitely one of the nutritious summertime meals you’ll find in Korea due to the added vegetables and the protein in the broth.
Looking for something sweet? Then there is Patbingsu. In Korean, ‘Pat’ means red bean and ‘Bingsu’ means shaved ice. It is a popular Korean shaved ice dessert with sweet toppings that may include red beans, condensed milk, fruit and rice cake. Patbingsu is one of the most popular ways to cool down during the hot summer days in Korea and for me, one of the most delicious. Nowadays there are many varieties of Bingsu without red beans. These varieties with ingredients other than red beans are called Bingsu. In Korea, there are many Dessertcafé dedicated just for Bingsu and you’ll see a bunch of interesting variations featuring different flavours like mango, cheesecake or coffee depending on where you go.
But guess what? In Korea, there are also songs with ‘Naengmyun’ and ‘Patbingsu’ as their title! They’re filled up with a 100% summer vibe and of course, they became one of my summer jams as soon as I heard them for the first time!
The song by Korean Girl Group called Girls Generation ‘Naengmyun’ is not a story about the girls eating Cold Noodles; it portrays a girl who just can’t help falling in love for a boy who’s cold towards her, just as cold as Naengmyun. Because just like Naengmyun… it is cold, but you can’t resist it!
Meanwhile, the song with ‘Patbingsu’ as the title tells us exactly everything about Patbingsu! Sung by Yoon Jong Shin, Patbingsu song let us know how to make Patbingsu from the very scratch, mention the way of cooking the red bean and also how to decorate the Bingsu at the end.
Make Patbingsu at home
Want to try Patbingsu this summer? You don’t have to go to Korea as I will tell you how to make Bingsu easily at home!
You just need 3 ingredients: 500ml of milk, your favourite fruit (mango, strawberry, melon, etc.) and condensed milk.
- In a large zip lock bag, pour the milk and release as much air as possible. Seal and lay it flat in the freezer for 2½-3 hrs.
- Dice 1/2 of the fruits you have and mash them with a fork in a bowl until it becomes a lumpy puree. Add sugar and mix well.
- Cut the rest of the fruits into bite-sized pieces to be used as toppings later on.
- Remove milk from the freezer and bash with a rolling pin or your fist and place in a dessert bowl.
- Pour some fruit puree and lay the toppings over the Bingsu. Drizzle condensed milk to your liking. Serve immediately.
Give Patbingsu a try the next time your sweet tooth is acting up, and be sure to let us know which fruit is your favourite variation! To accompany your cooking time and upgrade your culture experience we have also prepared “Korean Summer Ultimate Cooking Playlist” consisting of Korean summer songs including “Naengmyun” and “Patbingsu”, which represent summer in Korea to add to your playlist!
The Korean Summer Ultimate Cooking Playlist
K-Pop seasonal songs are always my jam every time the season changes. Especially for the past few months with the pandemic during the lockdown when we couldn’t go out freely, these songs told me that summer is right here! In the summertime, there’s nothing better than listening to some feel-good tunes to pump you up. With its upbeat rhythm and summer vibe, I don’t need to leave my house and can enjoy the summer breeze from the kitchen by listening to these songs while cooking my favourite Korean food.
- Cool – Woman on the Beach
- Punch&Loco – Say Yes
- Girls Day – Darling
- Yoon Jong Shin – Patbingsu (Shaved Ice)
- Sistar – Touch my Body
- Two Two – One in a Half
- San E&Raina – A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness
- RooRa – 3! 4!
- Girls Generation – Party
- Cool – Beer and Peanut
- Winner – Really Really
- The Jadu – Gimbap
- Winner – Island
- Girls‘ Generation – Naengmyun (Ice Boy)
- DEUX – In Summer
- GOT7 – Let Me
Scan the QR Code or click here to listen to this one-hour playlist consisting of the Korean songs to feel the summer vibe while preparing your favourite Korean food!