Muk is a typical Korean delicacy, made from buckwheat, mung bean (chief source of bean sprouts) or acorn curd. It is rather rubbery and bland in texture, and looks like a jelly-like slab. This food does not have any particular taste so to speak. However, once mixed with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chilli, it makes a great side dish. It is very popular as a snack and also as a main dish.
Varieties of muk
1. Green Pea Muk
Cheongpo Muk and Hwangpo Muk are two types of green pea Muk. To make green pea Muk, put skinned green peas into a cotton bag, press while pouring water over it, then leave the mixture to soak in water. A small starch residue should result from the process, which is what green pea Muk consists of. The other names for this dish is Nokdu Muk, that is White Muk.
When the starch residue is dyed yellow with gardenia seeds, we call it Hwangpo Muk.
It is said that Yang-Ban aristocracy used to enjoy Green Pea Muk very much.
2. Acorn Muk
Acorn Muk is obtained through the same process as above, but this time using acorns, which have been previously grinded.
Acorn Muk used to be produced to relieve famine during poor harvest years. It has now become a favourite food served at the occasion of national festivities and special celebration days. Its popularity is ever increasing in view of its natural properties and its taste very much depends on the region it originates from and the seasoning that accompanies it.
3. Buckwheat Muk
Buckwheat Muk is made of buckwheat flour. This side dish is as popular in the public eye as Acorn Muk.
Season for Muk
Like many Korean foods, each type of Muk has its season. Buckwheat Muk is best served in the winter and especially at night. In the 1970-1980's, merchants would go from village to village selling Buckwheat Muk at nighttime.
Acorn Muk is best during mid summer, while Cheongpo Muk is a spring dish.
Muk has kind of lost its seasonal aspect over the years, though some families do keep with traditions.
The Deulhyanggi restaurant
The menu in this restaurant is solely vegetarian. You will have trouble finding a single side dish with an ounce of meat in it.
Acorn Muk is the specialty of this restaurant alongside other vegetarian dishes.
Price may be higher than in other restaurants, but food and service are excellent. A must try in particular for vegetarians. All serving dishes and cutlery are wooden, making customers feel as if they were staying in a cottage somewhere halfway up a mountain.