I've begun cooking Asian food in the past year or so, and in many Korean and Chinese beef recipes, I see instructions to soak beef in water. Just plain water, not salt water or anything. And every recipe seems to have a different time - from 5 minutes to like, multiple hours.
I inquired about this and was given various reasons for this step, including "to remove the blood (because it is simply undesirable", "To remove the blood, because it gives the meat a bad taste" or "To soften the beef".
I'm wondering if a) does soaking it really remove that much blood, b) how much of a flavor component is blood and why would it give it a bad taste (especially since i've never soaked beef before and I've like the taste just fine), and what is the action of water on a piece of beef immersed in it. Can it really tenderise it to any degree, or is there any osmosis occurring or other such physical/chemical action?