What is Korean Namul?
Most South Koreans today, even with the influx of Western influence, are largely a plant-eating people for many centuries. With global warnings about climate change, plant-based eating is emerging as a healthier and more sustainable alternative.
Experts call Koreans “namul people,” meaning those who eat edible wild plants and who know the important role they have played in the Korean diet throughout history.
So why is namul in the diet of Koreans?
Geographically, hills and mountains describe Korea’s landscape where wild plants grow abundantly. Environmentally, famine was a recurring event in the country’s history where winters are harsh and plants growing out of the soil are a crucial food source. Where religion is concerned, Buddhism forbids violence, including harming animals.
Now even when these wild greens are of the traditional Korean diet, namul consumption is dwindling and the variety diminishing, even in the Korea of today. Experts say that namul eating is slowly losing ground. However, one can still find some namul at dinner tables but there are less and less varieties.
There are these results of a two-year study on 15 Korean spring greens. In the report, the company is suggesting some simple namul recipes and cooking tips. This is to support and uphold the country’s namul-rich culinary heritage in sync with the global trend.
Serving Greens in Bellevue
Drop by Seoul Hot Pot when you are around Bellevue and savor some of the best hot dishes this side of town. You may not find traditional namul, but you certainly will enjoy our fresh greens.