For centuries the Korean have eaten the fruits of the sea, the filed and the mountain because these are the geographically significant features of the Korean peninsula.
The Yello Sea and Sea of Japan offer excellent fish, seaweed and shellfishe for the Korean table. THe lowland fields produce excellent grains and vegetables while the uplands grow marvelous fruits and nuts-apple, pear, plum, chestnut, walnut, pine nut and persimmonto name a few. And the ever present mountains offer wild and cultivated mushrooms, roots and greens. A temperature climate makes for four seasons with the fall harvest and being the most abundant. Through the centuries, the basic seasonings- red pepper, green oinion, soy sauce, bean pastes, garlic, ginger, sesame, mustard, vinegar and wines- have been combined various ways to enhance the meats, fish, seafood and vegetables in the peculiarly spicy and delicious Korean manner. Various regions of Korea have special seasoning combinations-some hotter,some spicier-and each family also has its particular seasoning pattern. One family uses no salted shrimp juice in kimchi; another uses a great deal, but both claim kimchi as an integral part of their daily diet.