If you are feeling bad in Korea, someone will probably bring you chook. Chook is a kind of rice porridge. There is no chili spice or anything strange in it. In a lot of ways, you may think of it as an Americanized Korean food without the salt. Just add salt, and Americans love chook, but to the Koreans, it is only for sick people. We don’t eat chook in America, but it like American food. When I used to go over to Severance hospital for doctor’s appointments, they had a food court, and one of the restaurants served chook, and I liked to eat their chicken chook which was rice porridge cooked in chicken broth with little pieces of chicken in it. There are several different kinds of chook. Today, my Korean son in law had an upset stomach, and we don’t know how to make chook, so my daughter went to a very popular chook restaurant and got him take out chook.
I have actually been at church with someone who was sick and offered them a ride home, and they asked to stop at the chook restaurant on the way home to get some chook. This particular chook restaurant is a chain, and you can find this kind of chook restaurant all over Seoul. My daughter teaches at a Christian school across town, and if one of the kids is sick, their mothers will go to this restaurant and bring them chook to school. This food is much easier on their stomachs than other Korean food.
The first one on the left just below the brown line, my Korean son in law, my daughter, nor I can really explain to you, but the others we can. The green one next to it is oyster chook. The next one is orange. It is pumpkin chook. That is the kind my Korean son in law ate today. He says it was sweet. I have never eaten any, but I know it tastes good because Koreans are good with pumpkin. It settled his stomach. The next one is sweet bean chook. I like the sweet beans they serve in the orient. However, I have learned that not all foreigners like them because when my brother came, he just wasn’t ready for them at all. The first one on the bottom row is beef chook. Americans would probably like this because it is rice cooked in beef broth with pieces of roast beef in it. The next one says “bool nac chook” below it, plus it has Chinese characters. None of us know what that is. It may be something Chinese. The next one is mushroom/oyster chook. The mushrooms in Korea are huge! The last one is special shrimp chook. These are only some of the flavors they find in chook. Some of the flavors may sound strange to you, but as a foreigner, unless you just want to burn your mouth, your throat, and your stomach on the very spicy stuff in Korea, this menu has something you would probably like because this food is mild like food from other countries.
I actually took a short course from a doctor once upon a time about what to do if you have an upset stomach, and rice was on the list of things he said to eat. He said start with crackers, then move up to toast, then rice, then eggs, and finally, you can start trying to eat other things. We tried to get my son in law to start with something easier, but he insisted on chook, and the chook did the job for him. He is now happily eating banana pie and feeling fine. He actually thinks his stomach got upset because his mother gave him chapchay on Sol Nal, the Lunar New Year. He brought it home, put it in the fridge, and then tried to eat every bit of it last evening, and he thinks he overate. I took a picture of his chapchay, and my Korean son in law suggested to me that I find the recipe in a cook book and blog about it because it is a Korean holiday food he thinks people would be interested in, so be looking for a blog coming about chapchay. Maybe I will do it tomorrow.