One of my great weaknesses in life (besides coffee) is bread. There’s just something about it that I really love. Perhaps it was all those visits to the Pillsbury Bakery when I was kid that got me going. I don’t know and really don’t care. To this day, when ever I visit a restaurant that serves up bread, I can make an entire meal out of it by devouring bowl after bowl. Give this addiction, it’s no surprise that I also love toast. In fact, when making sandwiches, I’ll often toast the bread to make it a little crunchy.
According to Wikipedia, toast developed out of a need to make stale bread more palatable. The browning characteristic of toast comes from something called the Maillard Reaction. That’s the result of the amino acids interacting with sugars breaking down in the dough. Ain’t chemistry grand?
However, in Korea, Toast takes on a whole new meaning. Written as 토스트, I was shocked to learn that it wasn’t a side dish served up with breakfast or afternoon tea. In Korea, when toast is mentioned it always refers to a breakfast sandwich. These sandwiches vary depending on where you purchase them, but more often than not will include the following: toasted bread, egg, cheese, cabbage, and meat. Some will even go a step further adding cucumber, tomatoes, big beef patties, and dressing. They really are a huge meal and can be picked up in many subway stations or in one of the Toast chains throughout Korea.
When I make my breakfast toast, I usually will fry up two slices of spam and then use the oil to cook an egg. Then once these are cooked, I’ll place two slices of bread into the pan to gently toast one side. When it’s time to flip, I’ll add a slice of cheese and then place the egg on one slice and meat on the other. When the bread is fully toasted, I’ll assemble and eat.
My question to you today, what’s your favorite breakfast sandwich? The full version of this article appears in this Korea Blog post.