Makgeolli (Thick Rice Wine)


I feel so privileged to be guest blogging on Grace’s One Fork, One Spoon. It’s a different voice, but I hope to harness the same love and bright curiosity about food and wine that Grace conveys so joyfully on this blog.

I grew up in Korea, but didn’t appreciate the rich diversity of Korean food until I went away and got into wine.  Maybe it’s because the effort put into trying to find a sense of place in what I was drinking naturally began to extend into what I was eating.  Just like a riesling isn’t just a riesling when the taut acidity evokes images of the Mosel, all of a sudden, bibimbap (비빔밥) isn’t just bibimbap from a monolithic Korea, but a dish that varies by region and where it is so special in Jeollabukdo’s city of Junju, that it’s called Junju Bibimbap (전주 비빔밥).

makgeolli in Yi Goong

Not all wines carry or evoke a sense of place for me and similarly, nor does all Korean food and drink, but that doesn’t take away from the sheer yumminess of certain things.  On Monday, I tried the deliciousness of makgeolli (막걸리) for the first time.  Slightly sweet, this spritzy rustic wine derived from steamed rice tasted a bit like a creamy Yakult with alcohol and paired well with the million courses we ate that night including this super yummy beef that you dip into sesame oil and salt.

Stir-fried beef and mushroom at Yi Goong


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2 Responses to “Makgeolli (Thick Rice Wine)”

  1. MonaNYC Says:

    Gosh, the last time I had makgeolli was when I had it for the first time in 1999 in Apkujeong. Now I’m craving that and the yummy noodles. Thx hon!

  2. Diane Choo Says:

    Even though I hadn’t tried makgeolli before this, I have to agree with you, Mona, that this stirs up feelings of nostalgia and takes me back somehow. It’s definitely a food drink, don’t you think?

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