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By Way of Korea

South Korea   |   New York

A Korean food blog and travelogue inspired by

an epicurious New Yorker's journey around South Korea


Horse Meat Kimbap (Woljeong-ri, Jeju Island)

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

A layer of meat lightly battered and fried, carrots, and minced jalapeños filled the center of yet another squarely shaped kimbap we sought out on the island. There were no distinctive visual clues that betrayed that the meat used was horse meat. Hailing from a part of the world where the consumption of equine meat has been framed as taboo and associated with scandals, I initially felt a natural revulsion toward a normally comforting morsel of food.

Horse meat is certainly not widely consumed in Korea; it is a delicacy local to Jeju Island. Historically, the horse was valued as a military asset and a means of transportation rather than as a source of meat. When the Mongols invaded Koryeo in the 13th century, they found the conditions of Jeju Island favorable for hosting the expansion of their cavalry. Their influence served as the catalyst for the proliferation of the island’s equine population through the crossbreeding of Mongolian and indigenous horses. With the passage of time and the emergence of motor vehicles, however, the horse was gradually relieved of its essential role in transport and combat. Somewhere along the timeline, the inhabitants of the island had grown to appreciate its meat, which is leaner, but most comparable to beef.

To encourage people to overcome the prejudice with which they typically approach horse meat, the chef of Maliso had incorporated it into widely enjoyed comfort foods such as kimbap. The first bite of the Maliso kimbap had each of us looking forward to the next piece. Prepared with great care, the meat was tender and free of the gaminess I had anticipated.

We took a couple of boxes to go for our drive to Saebyul Oreum and finished the contents before we got there.

말이소 (Mal-i-so) @jeju.maliso 주소: 제주도 제주시 구좌읍 행원리 93번지 Address: 93 Haengwon-ri Gujwa-eup Jeju-si



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"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go."

Anthony Bourdain's unmatched relish for adventure and humble approach to food, cultures, and humanity left an indelible impression on my younger self. Imparting on me the courage to veer into the unknown, he inspired me to embrace my vulnerabilities and seek adventures and growth beyond the comforts of home.


In July of 2017, I boarded a one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. Within the first week of arrival, I signed a lease for an apartment and by the end of August, I had accepted a job offer that relocated me to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where the Winter Olympics were soon to be held. From there, I had the rare opportunity to explore much of the greater Gangwon Province's beautiful mountainous and coastal regions and their distinctive foods. Once or twice a month, I'd return to Seoul or travel to an unfamiliar region to poke around alleyways, markets, and mountains in search of more good eats and adventures.


By Way of Korea is a storytelling project inspired by the food, places, and faces I encountered throughout Korea. By sharing my fondest memories, notes, and images of Korea, I simply hope to play a small part in piquing greater curiosity about Korean food and culture in my readers.  My content will heavily spotlight, but not be limited to Korean food and culture. 

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