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At the mountain restaurants, including my favorite dong-dong-ju place, one of the plates you can order with your food and alcohol is DotoriMok 도토리묵. It’s Acorn Jelly Salad.

According to Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared M. Diamond, acorns were not practically domesticable nuts. There was too little meat for the trouble one had to go through, and the tannins in acorns made them too bitter to be bearable.

Somehow, Koreans have figured out how to remove the bitterness and convert them into an earthy jelly. In DotoriMok, they almost have no flavor because of the other ingredients.

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DotoriMok itself is spicy and garlicky. It’s one of the few salads that goes well with alcohol, especially rice liquors like makkoli. It contains leafy lettuce, slivers of onions, cucumbers, carrots, and a dressing made of sesame oil, red pepper powder, sesame seeds, and loads of garlic.

Good salad. Gives you killer breath for the rest of the day.

Update: My Korean Kitchen has posted a recipe for this.

Acorn Jelly

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