South Korea is an superb nation. A cultural melting pot that’s the results of numerous totally different influences, from the colonial powers that at one time occupied it to the distinctive panorama and local weather it boasts. It’s the confluence of those elements which have created the customs, attitudes, and meals tradition that exists there immediately. And should you haven’t visited Korea but it is best to positively put it in your checklist.
Traditional Korean Dishes
Korean meals is predicated so much on grains—in specific rice. From Kimchi fried rice to a candy rice cake, it’s a delicacies that isn’t afraid of just a little spice and makes use of lots of fermented substances. Fish and seafood additionally play an vital function in Korean meals, due to the ocean surrounding the Korean peninsula.
Many South Korean dishes have fascinating histories or cultural significance. Loads of the meals listed here are adopted or tailored from different cultures. We will probably be highlighting some conventional dishes but additionally a few of these trendy takes on Korean Food which have grow to be actually common in the USA.
It is time to begin your meals journey in Korea. We can’t wait to indicate you a few of our all-time favourite dishes.
1. Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl)
Bibimbap is without doubt one of the extra well-known Korean dishes. You have most likely tried it at residence however till you have got it in Korea, we are saying you’re lacking out. Bibimbap is a rice-based dish that may encompass greens, a fried egg, and no matter different protein you want.
If you need to make it the normal manner then make it possible for every ingredient is sectioned individually in the bowl. Then you may combine them collectively earlier than consuming. The finest Bibimbap used greens which were blanched or sautéed with sesame oil and soy sauce, and meat that has been marinated earlier than being cooked. I just like the egg to be sunny-side up after which I prime it with sesame seeds, spicy sauce, and scallions. Sounds superb proper?
The benefit of this being such a preferred Korean dish is you could get a model with seafood, beef, and tofu—there’s one thing to go well with all tastes! If you go to Korea you’ll discover that totally different areas have their very own takes on this dish.
2. Bulgogi (marinated beef barbecue)
Bulgogi is a dish you may’t miss should you’re visiting South Korea. Its title means “fire meat” and derives from its technique of cooking. Bulgogi is made up of thin-cut slices of beef or pork which were marinated and grilled on a barbecue.
Bulgogi is a kind of easy Korean dishes you could make at residence. The key to a superb Bulgogi is unquestionably the precise minimize of meat. We like to make use of prime sirloin, however you need to use whichever sort of beef you want. Make positive to slice it good and skinny, that manner it’s extra tender, then marinate it in soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. When you cook dinner it, you need to hear that sizzle so ensure that the grill is absolutely scorching.
This dish truly comes from Northern Korea, however immediately it’s common in South Korea as nicely. This is a scrumptious and unpretentious dish that you simply’ll discover in most quick meals and BBQ eating places throughout South Korea.
3. Korean barbecue (Gogigui )
Speaking of BBQ, we couldn’t do an inventory of Korean meals with out together with one among our favorites: Korean Barbecue! Also referred to as Gogigui, any such meals is as enjoyable to eat as it’s scrumptious.
At Korean Barbecue eating places, you order your meat, you’re given a choice of veggies, after which you may go to city grilling your individual dinner. It’s an excellent enjoyable technique to spend a night and a really social manner of consuming.
Now chances are you’ll suppose that this sounds so much like Bulgogi however the distinction is that Bulgogi is definitely a sort of Gogigui. The time period Gogigui simply refers back to the observe of grilling or roasting meat in Korean delicacies.
4. Gimbap: Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls
If you’re a fan of sushi then you definately’ve acquired to attempt gimbap. Gimbap is the Korean tackle sushi and it’s most frequently loved as road meals—it’s tremendous inexpensive so nice should you’re touring on a price range. It can embody all types of creative substances, together with however not restricted to beef, cheese, omelet, and even pork stomach cutlet.
Another spelling of this dish is “kimbap” with Kim that means seaweed and bap that means rice. It was most certainly first invented when Korea was beneath Japanese rule. Although some say it’s an adaptation of the normal dish Bokssam.
Kimchi is one other tremendous common meals in South Korea. It is a mixture of spiced and fermented greens usually served as a facet dish. It is manufactured from cabbage, carrots inexperienced peppers, radish, and spring onions.
We know that it’s been round since historic occasions, with written accounts of it showing as early as the first century. Pickling and fermenting had been common strategies of preserving meals earlier than the invention of contemporary home equipment reminiscent of fridges. What’s attention-grabbing is that it wasn’t at all times spicy, the warmth was solely added after Portuguese merchants launched chilis to the area in the fifteenth century.
You could make so many alternative Korean dishes utilizing it. There is kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae), kimchi pancake (kimchi jeon), and kimchi fried rice simply to call a couple of. Make your individual Kimchi with this scrumptious recipe!
6. Saengseon Jjigae (Spicy Fish Stew)
We talked about above that seafood and fish are main staples of South Korean delicacies, and so are soups and stews. This dish brings collectively each of those ideas and should you’re visiting South Korea you’ll little question see it on menus in every single place.
Saengseon Jjigae is a fish stew that consists normally of chicken fish and infrequently prawns or different shellfish. If you’re a lover of fish then you definately’ve acquired to verify to do this dish!
Making this at residence isn’t that simple, however if you wish to give it a attempt you mainly minimize the fish into bite-sized items, mud in flour, and pan fry till it’s crispy.
The broth is made with anchovy paste and kelp in water to make a flavorful inventory. Then throw in some spicy chili paste, garlic, soy sauce, and different seasonings, to provide it a wealthy and spicy taste.
Finally, you mix the inventory with no matter greens you want and let it simmer till they’re cooked. Finally, add in the fish, together with some chopped scallions, and let all the pieces cook dinner collectively for a couple of minutes till the flavors have melded collectively.
7. Sundubu-jjigae (smooth tofu stew)
If you’d wish to attempt a Korean stew (or jjigae) however you don’t eat meat or fish, you may at all times attempt Sundubu Jjigae, a variation of the normal stew that’s made with tofu. Fish, kimchi, and beef will also be added to this dish should you like.
A Korean major meal will virtually at all times include some type of jjigae—that’s how a lot of a staple it’s! So should you’re in a restaurant there’s a superb likelihood you’ll get to attempt it. This dish is assumed so far again to historic occasions, although lately extra trendy diversifications have been invented as nicely.
8. Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)
From the very savory to the tremendous candy, Hotteok is a sort of pancake oozing with candy syrup. This is without doubt one of the hottest road snacks in South Korea and it’s not onerous to see why! It can embody additions reminiscent of crushed peanuts or cinnamon, and it’s normally eaten throughout the winter months to warmth up chilly commuters on chilly mornings.
9. Gilgeori Toast
If you’re in search of some tasty breakfast after you’ve shaken off your jet lag, we’ve acquired the right dish for you. Gilgeori toast is what most younger South Koreans will seize for breakfast on their technique to work. It’s savory, candy, filling, and scrumptious.
Its major substances are egg, cabbage, and grated carrots. Ketchup, mayonnaise, and sugar—sure sugar—are different widespread additions. This common road meals might sound loopy, however in some way, it actually works!
10. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
Another common Korean road meals, Tteokbokki is sliced rice truffles—although not as you already know them. Far from the crunchy disks of puffed-up rice, this time period conjures up, these rice truffles are smooth, cylindrical, and deliciously chewy.
To make Tteokbokki, first, the rice truffles and fish truffles are boiled till they’re smooth and tender. Then, the purple pepper sauce, which is made with gochujang (Korean purple pepper paste), garlic, soy sauce, and sugar, is added to the pot. The combination is simmered till the sauce thickens and coats the rice truffles and fish truffles.
Tteokbokki comes in numerous totally different varieties, from curry to cream sauce and all the pieces in between. This candy and spicy dish might be in contrast to something you’ve tried earlier than, nevertheless it’s too good to go up. This dish is especially common on the streets of Seoul, so don’t overlook to look out should you’re visiting.
11. Soondae (Korean blood sausage)
No, we’re not speaking about ice cream and sauce right here, so should you see this on a menu in Korea, don’t make this error! Sundae is in truth a blood sausage much like the kind you may get in a full Irish breakfast should you’re visiting the emerald isle.
This dish is normally made by steaming cow or pig intestines and stuffing them with numerous substances. It’s not for the faint-hearted, however should you’re an adventurous eater it’s positively one to attempt.
12. Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)
This is one other dish that exemplifies the South Korean penchant for the mix of candy and savory. It’s constituted of glass noodles and infrequently incorporates mushrooms, carrots, spinach, and different veggies. It was as soon as a dish reserved for royalty, and it’s now widespread to eat at celebrations reminiscent of weddings or birthdays.
There is nothing like a dish of glass noodles stir-fried in sesame oil and garnished with toasted sesame seeds to get your mouth watering. Try making your individual at residence with this recipe!
13. Gyeranppang (Egg Bread)
If you’re a lover of all issues wealthy, then Gyeranppang is the dish for you. The title of this road snack interprets to “egg bread” and that’s precisely what it’s.
A light-weight, fluffy, little loaf of sweet-tasting bread that incorporates an entire egg inside. Common toppings embody ham, cheese, or recent herbs reminiscent of parsley.
14. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Octopus)
Nakji-Bokkeum is one other dish that could be finest left to adventurous eaters, and should you’re not a fan of fish, you may most likely give it a miss. Still, it’s an exceedingly common dish in South Korea, and it’s positively value trying out.
Nakji-Bokkeum is a spicy dish constituted of stir-fried octopus. It’s believed to be a comparatively latest addition to the South Korean food regimen, courting again to across the mid-1900s.
15. Yaksik (Sweet Rice)
Finally, we’ve got a candy dish that’s common all through South Korea. Yaksik is constituted of steamed rice, honey, and dried fruits. It additionally usually consists of cinnamon and even soy sauce.
This dish dates again to across the thirteenth century. Today, it’s historically served up on Jeongwol Daeboreum, a Korean vacation. It can be loved at weddings.
16. Hangover Stew (Haejangguk)
Haejangguk, also called Hangover Soup, is a conventional Korean soup that’s believed to assist remedy hangovers. The title Haejangguk interprets to “soup to chase a hangover.” The soup is made with pork bones and a wide range of greens like bean sprouts, Napa cabbage, and radish. The soup additionally incorporates a wide range of spices and seasonings, like garlic, ginger, and Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes).
I might say you can be hard-pressed to make this at residence, however you can provide it a attempt with this recipe.
Haejangguk is normally served with rice, kimchi, and pickled greens. If you’re in Seoul you’ll positively see Koreans consuming this after an evening of heavy ingesting to assist alleviate the signs of a hangover the following day. Does it work? Let’s simply say we consider.
17. Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly)
Samgyeopsal is a well-liked Korean dish that consists of grilled pork stomach slices. The title “samgyeopsal” interprets to “three-layered flesh,” which refers back to the three layers of fats and meat on a pork stomach. The dish is served with a wide range of facet dishes, together with lettuce leaves, sliced garlic, ssamjang (a spicy soybean paste), and grilled onions.
To make Samgyeopsal, first, a thick minimize of pork stomach is sliced into skinny, bite-sized items. Then marinate it in a mix of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and sesame oil. Finally, grill it on a scorching plate or barbecue till it’s cooked by way of and barely crispy on the skin.
The ultimate step in this scrumptious dish is to position it on a lettuce leaf together with some garlic, ssamjang, and grilled onions, wrap it up, and eat it in one chunk.
18. Kimchi Fried Rice
Kimchi Fried Rice is a well-liked Korean dish that’s made by stir-frying cooked rice with kimchi and different substances. The dish is usually served as a fast and straightforward meal or as a facet dish to accompany different Korean dishes.
To make the Fried Rice, first, cooked rice is required. Leftover rice works nicely, as it’s barely drier and simpler to stir-fry. Kimchi is then chopped into small items and combined with different substances reminiscent of diced onions, carrots, and inexperienced onions.
In a pan or wok, oil is heated over medium-high warmth. The kimchi and vegetable combination is added to the pan and stir-fried till the greens are softened. The cooked rice is then added to the pan and stir-fried till it’s heated by way of and coated with the kimchi and vegetable combination. Some variations of this Fried Rice might embody different substances reminiscent of diced ham, bacon, or tofu.
It is usually served with a fried egg on prime, which provides a creamy texture to the dish. The dish will also be garnished with extra chopped inexperienced onions and sesame seeds for added taste.
19. Steamed Mandu Dumplings (Jjinmandu)
Jjinmandu is a sort of Korean dumpling that’s usually full of meat and greens. The dumpling is much like a Chinese-style jiaozi or Japanese-style gyoza however with its personal distinctive taste and texture.
To make Jjinmandu, first, a filling is ready by mixing floor pork or beef with greens reminiscent of garlic, onion, carrot, and inexperienced onion. The filling is seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper to style. Some different varieties of Jjinmandu might embody tofu, kimchi, or different substances.
Next, small circles of dumpling wrapper dough are rolled out and full of the meat and vegetable combination. The edges of the wrapper are then pinched collectively to seal the filling inside. The dumplings are then steamed or boiled till they’re cooked by way of and the wrapper is tender.
Jjinmandu is usually served with a dipping sauce constituted of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. The dish will be loved as a snack or as a major course and is common all through Korea.
20. Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
Kimchi Jjigae is a well-liked Korean stew made with fermented kimchi, pork, tofu, and different greens. Kimchi Jjigae is a conventional dish in Korea and is usually served as a major course, particularly throughout the winter. The dish has a protracted historical past and was first made throughout the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) when households would ferment their very own kimchi in massive earthenware jars referred to as Onggi.
To make Kimchi Jjigae, first, the kimchi is chopped into small items and added to a pot together with sliced pork and tofu. Other greens like onion, garlic, and inexperienced onions are additionally added, together with some water or broth. The stew is simmered till the pork is cooked by way of and the greens are tender. The ensuing dish is hearty and warming, with a tangy and spicy taste from the fermented kimchi.
21. Korean Fried Chicken
Korean fried hen, also called KFC, is a well-liked Korean dish that consists of fried hen coated in a crispy, crunchy batter and sometimes served with a spicy or candy sauce. The distinction between Korean fried hen and different varieties of fried hen is the usage of a double-frying method that creates an extra-crispy exterior whereas holding the meat juicy and tender on the within.
Once the hen is absolutely cooked and crispy, it’s sometimes served with a candy and spicy sauce made with Korean chili paste, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger. Korean fried hen is a well-liked Korean road meals and yow will discover it virtually anyplace in South Korea.
22. Jjajangmyeon (Noodles in Black-Bean Sauce)
Jjajangmyeon is a well-liked Korean-Chinese dish made with wheat noodles, black bean sauce, and numerous greens like onions, zucchini, and potatoes. The dish has a protracted historical past in Korea and was first launched throughout the early twentieth century by Chinese immigrants who settled in Korea.
To make Jjajangmyeon, first, the black bean sauce is ready by frying diced pork stomach with chopped onions and black bean paste. Vegetables like zucchini and potatoes are then added to the pot and cooked till tender. The ensuing sauce is thick and savory with a touch of sweetness.
The wheat noodles are then cooked and served with the black bean sauce on prime. The dish is usually garnished with sliced cucumber and a drizzle of sesame oil. Jjajangmyeon is common in Korea due to its wealthy and savory taste and satisfying texture.
23. Samgyetang (Chicken Ginseng Soup)
Samgyetang is a conventional Korean soup made with an entire younger hen, ginseng, jujubes, and different medicinal herbs. The dish is usually eaten throughout the summer time months in Korea and is believed to have well being advantages like boosting the immune system and growing stamina.
So, how do you make Samgyetang? First, an entire younger hen is filled with glutinous rice and numerous herbs like ginseng, jujubes, and garlic. The hen is then boiled in a pot with water till it’s absolutely cooked and the broth is wealthy and flavorful.
The ensuing soup is thick and hearty, with a fragile taste from the herbs and tender meat from the hen. Samgyetang is a well-liked dish in Korea and is usually served in Korean eating places and as part of conventional Korean delicacies.
Our Favorite South Korean Cuisine
South Korea is a captivating and culturally wealthy nation and Korean meals does an incredible job of reflecting this. There are so many alternative dishes to attempt, and the above signify just some of our favorites. If you’re in search of extra journey ideas, don’t overlook to take a look at the remainder of our posts now!