Potatoes (called kamja in Korean) are relatively new to Korea’s culinary scene, brought to Korea from the Americas about 300-400 years ago. Most of the potatoes grown in South Korea are grown in Kangwon Province.
Potatoes thrive in Kangwon-do’s mountainous and cold climate. Potatoes are a healthy alternative to rice, where the terrain is inhospitable to rice cultivation. Potato pancakes, called kamja jeon in Korean, are a Kangwon-do specialty.
Koreans don’t need a special excuse to enjoy potato pancakes. However, potato pancakes, also called latkes, play an important role in the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. —Tamar