During the fourth second of D.C. in the Three Kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekjie and Silla, Buddhism was considered the official religion of the Korean nation. It was the key factor behind social unification and profoundly influenced the nation's culture and people's way of life. The spirit and values of this great religion were also actively reflected in people's diet and, consequently, a unique food culture was born. In the last 1700 years, this completely vegan cuisine, which does not use five pungent herbs: green onion, garlic, shallots, wild leeks and asafoetida has been religiously practiced by the Buddhist temples in Korea. Throughout history, Korean Buddhist monastic cuisine has developed distinctive flavors combining exclusively plant ingredients, innovative preservation techniques and original recipes. This kitchen is designed to provide the right nutritional needs for high quality protein from soybeans and unsaturated fatty acids from vegetable oils, along with vitamins, minerals, fibers and medicinal properties.
Cultivating, preparing and cooking food are the essential elements that constitute Buddhist practice. The use of seasonal vegetables that satisfy taste and nutritional needs is a must. The result is magnificent: it comforts the mind and the body so as to have a healthy container capable of containing the soul of a Buddhist. After a ceremony offered to Buddha, the monks share the food with the whole community, triggering an environment of conviviality and very important sharing in this religion. Lunch participants are expected to take what they can eat and not leave any leftovers on the plate.
Due to the harsh Korean climate, techniques for food storage have been extensively developed over time. The first example of this food preservation technique is the Kimchi, which groups a large number of different vegetables. There are also many types of sauces and pastas, such as fermented soy bean paste, Kochujang, soy sauce and so on. All have a fairly long life and are valid nutritional supplements. In addition, Korean cuisine uses only natural aromatic substances such as algae, mushrooms, wild sesame seeds and soy bean powder. Not only that, it also uses a large amount of spontaneous medicinal herbs available in the fields and near the mountains.
One of the lessons from which we should all learn about Korean times cooking is the "total consumption" of each food, that is, using every part of it. It is to prevent the waste of food and to use the maximum nourishment from it. This morality is their foundation on which all the temple food philosophy of Korean is based.