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Jun 11, 2008 03:48 PM

Korean and/or Japanese Backpacking Foods

I'm going backpacking this weekend and thought it might be nice to buy some foods from Kuk-Je (Korean Market) and prepare them for dinner. I'm looking for instant and lightweight foods that travel well in a backpack and can be prepared on a campstove using little water, etc.

I thought maybe a miso based noodle soup with seaweed, dried mushrooms, and hard-boiled eggs...but I don't know. What's the best instant miso to buy? And the best dried mushrooms for this?

I saw so many possibilities in the market: dried fish, dried mushrooms, seaweed, dried herbs, even a sort of soup kit with all the herbs and rice packaged together - but I'm still not sure what would be best.

So any of you out there that know your Korean and Japanese products (and maybe have some backpacking experience), your advise is greatly appreciated - especially with meals and snacks.

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  1. Dried pyogo (shitake) go pretty well with just about anything. The problem with them is it takes awhile to rehydrate. Good thing is you can use the water from rehydrating the shrooms to cook your instant noodle/ramen/etc.

    1. Never thought of it, but I'd guess dashi-no-moto, dried shiitake, dried wakame, and katsuo bushi would take you anywhere and would weigh nothing.

      If you also pack rice, you could add dried tsukudani, furukake, and ochazuke no moto. Only the rice would weigh anything.

      1. For a first snack or lunch, I'd stop by the pickles aisle and pick up some umeboshi or other pickles, maybe also with a packet of furikake from the dried seasonings aisle, and make yourself some rice balls for filling and easy to manage treats. I wrap them up in plastic film and take them on the go for outings or for work. (If you grab a packet or two of pre-cut seasoned seaweed (okazu nori), you can even use pieces of this to wrap them in, to make them easy to hold onto while munching!)

        Also, retort pouches are probably your friend, since they're lgihtweight and sealed so you can heat them up in just about any water. Maybe some curry pouches would hit the spot? One issue is that you'd probable want rice with that, though, which you'd need to transport. But I find that if I freeze some flat disks of individually portioned rice and throw them in my bag frozen, it'll unthaw after some hours, and be fine to eat at ambient temperature--especially if you have some hot curry to go with it. (In fact, I'd probably even just toss a few pickles in with just-cooled rice in the morning and bring it along for dinner on the same day, but I know that some people balk at rice that's been at room temperature all day... I'll try not to raise a debate about that issue) THer'es other kinds of retort products, too, like sauces for pasta--maybe if you had a vacuum pack of gnocchi, such as the ones from Trader Joes, they could be cooked in not too much water, and a couple packs of an interesting Japanese spaghetti flavoring could be mixed in with them, and sprinkled with some of the leftover seaweed? (mmmm, mentaiko gnocchi... ?) There's things like instant mabo tofu, too, but they're usually too salty or spicy to want to have on the trail.

        Though slightly heavier, there's also boxed tofu (mori-nu) that could be brought and used in something (or even just slice up some up some of the silked kind, ad eat it sprinkled with some bonito flakes or other seasonings. be warned that it's a bit tricky to open the box, if you're not practiced at it-- have the swiss army knife handy, and also a plate or bowl to catch the tofu)

        Instant miso soup would probably also be good, since the packets are small and light (one squeezable tube of miso, and one little packet of freeze-dried tofu or seaweed or veg per serving; and they don't require the addition of that much water) Again, it's salty, but if you had it alongside veggies and stuff, it's tasty and filling.

        As others have mentioned, instant noodle is lightweight, but also can be a little bulky (or require a largish vessel); and I'd probably hesitate about it because the instant ones tend to be quite salty, which might not be so great, depending on your drinking water supply...

        1. Along with the above mentioned...

          Dried squid that peels in shreds is real efficient and yummy.

          Dried fish (generically in j. as "niboshi") ranging from 1 to 4 cm long.

          A meat protein that is a real treat is dried shredded pork floss:

          Minute rice (if fuel, time or altitude are a constraint in cooking rel rice) with sheets of nori and a squeeze tube of umeboshi pickled plum paste, for campsite fabricated onigiri.

          Sesame rice crackers.

          Hijiki seaweed. Simmer w/ a touch of sugar and miso, then leave aside to fully hydrate.

          You can easily pack miso and chili-bean-garlic pastes by putting each meal's amount in the corner teat of a plastic sandwich bag, tying it shut, trimming the excess plastic with scissors. then collecting all hose into a single full-gauge pint ziploc. Cut or bite off the teat end to extrude the prtion. For spices/dried onions, mustard or wasabi powder: tie the knot loosely and preserve the full length of bag for multiple opening/reclosing.

          A fun source of fat: Kewpie mayonnaise in the squeeze jar. Goes great with those boiled eggs you mentioned.

          The starry skyed nights of backpacking are a pefect complement to the slurping sound of 2-3 packs of ramen. Don't forget the chopsticks.

          The only sound that will be more appreciated is the prankish popping of the bubble wrap as you unfurl the nestled bottle of Suntory whiskey.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FoodFuser

            the yellow sliced takuan radish pickles in a jar from hawaii are good. the whole ones ive tried taste chemically.
            chinese sausage is kind of sweet but does not need refrigeration, also vietnamese jerky.
            i got some powdered coconut milk but haven't used it yet, comes in a pouch.
            country virginia ham is often available at asian stores.
            the ramen with asian writing is more expensive but much better than typical supermarket maruchan or top ramen.

          2. It's a shame this thread is so old, but one of THE staple foods of backpacking/camping in Korea is Gochujang Jigae. One of my favorite Korean jigaes of all time.