Five dishes that go well with Korea's magical Makkeolli

by Taehyeong Kim
Busan Haps Magazine

Makkeolli, or Korean rice wine, is a local favorite alcoholic drink especially after a long day’s hike.

It’s roughly around around 6%-8% alcohol, and its silky smooth taste and off-color appearance has been around since the Goryeo Dynasty.

If you’re looking to taste some makkeolli, here’s a few good suggestions to pair your rice wine with.

1. Pajeon
Pajeon, a Korean-style seafood pancake and makkeolli are probably the most-known combination. The spicier the pajeon the better — the smooth rice wine will help tone down the heat and for Koreans, it’s a match made in heaven.

Pajeon is always a great choice to have as anju with makkeolli.

2. Odaeng-tang
A good bowl of odaeng-tang, or fish cake soup, is a great combination of flavors that reminds Koreans of old days gone by. While many youth prefer soju and samgyupsal on a rainy day, the older generations like to reminisce with this combo.

3. Twi-gim
Twi-gim, or Korea’s answer to fried food, is always a good choice if you’re looking for something less spicy to pair your makkeolli with. Favorites include fried mandu (dumplings), squid and sweet potatoes.

For something more traditional, try a dubu kimchi suyuk

4. Dubu Kimchi Suyuk
Add some soft Dubu (tofu) and kimchi to some suyuk (boiled pork or beef) and musaengchae (a Korean-stye sweet and sour radish salad) for a delicious, flavorful combination of flavors that gets enhanced by a bowl of makkeolli.

5. Golbaengi Moojim
Another traditional Korean dish, golbaengi moojim is a spicy, snail mixed with spicy noodles and vegetable dish mixed with gojuchang. The spiciness level can vary from place to place, but make sure to try it at a pojangmacha (soju tent) if you get the chance.

One last tip: Be sure when drinking makkeolli to drink a glass of water after each bowl you have. Makkeolli is known to give killer headache hangovers, and the water helps dilute the alcohol.

Happy drinking!

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