Korean Corn Cheese Is Like Traditional Fondue On Steroids

Cheese is one of the most loved foods in the entire world. This dairy product is so popular that in 2020 in the U.S., the average American consumed around 40.2 pounds of it and the number just keeps on rising (per Statista). Wisconsin and California as current leaders in U.S. cheese production. Many turophiles, or cheese lovers, have probably already reveled in the taste and textures of classic Swiss fondues. 

It's hard to resist the warm, melted cheese in a fondue pot, and traditional Swiss ones are usually made with cheeses such as Emmentaler, Appenzeller, and Gruyère (per Earth, Food, and Fire). But not only Switzerland is wild about cheese — South Koreans also love this dairy product, which wasn't even available in the country until 1964 when missionary Didier t'Serstevens brought it over from Belgium to Imsil County. This area is now known as Korea's cheese region (via Culture Ready). 

Today, cheese is very popular in South Korea and Koreans eat twice as much of it as they did ten years ago (per Seasoned Traveller). The ingredient can be found in many South Korean dishes such as bibimbap, corn dogs, rice cakes, and Korean corn cheese, which can be described as a traditional fondue on steroids.

Corn cheese is eaten while drinking alcohol in South Korea

Like many people in other parts of the world, South Koreans occasionally indulge in drinking alcohol. They also love to eat tasty food, so there's a world of traditional snacks and side dishes that are meant to be eaten while drinking alcohol. These foods are called anju, and there are so many of them that it's hard to keep count. Some of the most popular types of anju include fried chicken, dried beef, scallion pancakes, kimchi, clam soup, and corn cheese (per Kore Limited). 

Corn cheese, in its classic version, is a simple and comforting side dish consisting of canned corn, mayonnaise, and mild cheese, typically mozzarella. Its flavors are sweet and savory, and once baked, the delectable, bubbly cheese is reminiscent of traditional Swiss fondues. Best eaten when hot, Korean corn cheese is ideally paired with soju, a Korean alcoholic drink, and it's often eaten alongside Korean barbecue dishes such as galbi and bulgogi, per The New York Times

And although classic versions of popular dishes are great, there are also some reimagined versions. For example, Serious Eats reports that some chefs like Sunny Lee make modern variations on corn cheese by adding onions, Chinese mustard, and doenjang (fermented soybean paste) to the mixture. And if you find yourself in a Korean BBQ restaurant, try corn cheese first, as it will probably be the first one to be emptied out, according to Future Dish.