Namul refers to wild edible plants foraged from fields and mountains or to seasoned herbal dishes. Although these edible plants are also found in neighboring countries like Japan and China, no place has cooked with namul for as long as Korea. An excellent side dish to steamed rice, these greens are an exciting addition to stews and even desserts. The montane Korean terrain naturally gave way to a culture of feasting on namul, with spring namul becoming an iconic Korean vegetable-based food staple that stands second only to kimchi. Today, local varieties like go-sa-ri bracken from Jeju-do Island, cham-du-reup fatsia shoots and nun-gae-seung-ma goatsbeard from Gangwon-do Province, and bang-pung namul coastal hog fennel from the coastal areas of Uljin, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, are growing in popularity as a way to explore regional cuisines and bring foraged ingredients to the table.
Date of Publication: 2021