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Mondays with Mom

Mondays with Mom: Goguma Memories


"Gun goguma, gun goguma!" 

This is the cry of the street venders during the winter - tempting everyone to try their baked sweet potatoes. I would hear this cry during the winter, when I walked home from school, when it was already dark since I had to stay late for extra study sessions. They tasted so good! They were warm, sweet and filling, especially since I was so cold and hungry walking home from the bus station.   

Goguma are usually harvested during the fall. When they're available, both my husband and I eat at least one medium size sweet potato a day. Both because I like how they taste, and because they are considered packed with good nutrition. 

Goguma, Korean sweet potato


Koreans long knew that it has very good nutritional value, but it taste quite good too – one sweet potato and a cup of milk can be your breakfast.  It’s one of the few vegetables that has protein, vitamins, calcium, potassium and complex carbohydrates, unlike regular white potatoes. 

My health-conscious sister, who lives in Korea, also claims sweet potatoes are very good for you, but recommends eating it with the skin on, and also in the morning. I suppose so, the carbohydrates, complex or not, doesn’t get consumed to well when eating at night.

I usually eat it steamed or baked, like the street venders. Besides steaming or baking, Koreans prepare it simply, frying it with some flour and egg, or adding it to stews. 

If you'd like to try goguma for yourself, head to an Asian grocery store. The Korean sweet potato is different than a yam: it's not as orange, and not as narrow and tubular like a yam. It's kind of like a lumpy white potato, and also the flesh is yellowish white. The flesh of goguma is also not pasty as a yam when it's cooked, it's a little bit more firm. Koreans call it "goguma" (???) and I believe Japanese call it satsuma-imo. I believe there are many many varieties but I think the two kinds are similar. 


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