Koreans love picnics and eating alfresco. Most Koreans (especially the older generations) also love hiking, so maybe the picnic love has to do with Korea's mountainous terrain and rugged natural beauty.
There is so much Korean food that is portable for hiking and seasoned so that doesn't need to be surrounded by massive amounts of ice and heavy colors (Koreans are masters in food preservation). Korean dishes also lend themselves to open-air dining because many of them can be enjoyed at... room temperature.
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Kimbap is the staple food for all Korean picnics and lunchboxes. They look like sushi rolls, but kimbap is not restaurant food, it's snack food that you eat with your hands.
Traditional fillings include seasoned vegetables, egg, meat and/or imitation crab, but these days anything goes. From Seoul to NYC, fillings range from cheesy to spicy to fresh. Kimbap is like the Korean version of a sandwich- you can change the filling to fit any diet, palate, or occasion.
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Korean dumplings are traditionally made with a beef or pork filling, but chicken and vegetarian dumplings are also popular. Versatile and delicious, mandoo can be boiled, steamed, deep fried, pan-fried or added to soup. They are substantial enough for a main dish, but are also good as snack dishes or a mess-free lunch.
03 of 04This Korean rolled egg omelette (Gaeran Mari) recipe is as easy to make as an American omelette, but it looks beautiful and is nicely portable for a picnic lunch. Healthy, delicious, and full of protein, Gaeran mari has many variations. You can use different vegetables, add in some diced ham, omit the seaweed if you don't have any, or Westernize it with the addition of some cheese, and it will still be delicious if you keep the proportions right.
04 of 04Make this potato salad on good bread as a sandwich filling and you won't need any pickles or fruit on the side. Unlike Western versions, Korean potato salad usually includes fruit, vegetables, and sometimes ham, and it doesn't have a vinegary component.