South Korea is an superb nation. A cultural melting pot that’s the results of quite a few completely 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 components which have created the customs, attitudes, and meals tradition that exists there at present. And should you haven’t visited Korea but you must undoubtedly put it in your listing.
Traditional Korean Dishes
Korean meals relies loads on grains—in specific rice. From Kimchi fried rice to a candy rice cake, it’s a delicacies that isn’t afraid of a bit spice and makes use of a whole lot of fermented components. Fish and seafood additionally play an essential position 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 turn into actually standard in the USA.
It is time to start out 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 likely one of the extra well-known Korean dishes. You have most likely tried it at residence however till you’ve got it in Korea, we are saying you’re lacking out. Bibimbap is a rice-based dish that may include greens, a fried egg, and no matter different protein you want.
If you wish to make it the standard approach then guarantee that every ingredient is sectioned individually in the bowl. Then you may combine them collectively earlier than consuming. The greatest 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 advantage of this being such a preferred Korean dish is that you would be able to 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 completely 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 methodology 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 type of easy Korean dishes that you would be able to make at residence. The key to a superb Bulgogi is certainly the appropriate minimize of meat. We like to make use of prime sirloin, however you need to use whichever kind of beef you want. Make certain to slice it good and skinny, that approach it’s extra tender, then marinate it in soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. When you prepare dinner it, you wish to hear that sizzle so ensure the grill is basically scorching.
This dish really comes from Northern Korea, however at present it’s standard in South Korea as properly. This is a scrumptious and unpretentious dish that you just’ll discover in most quick meals and BBQ eating places throughout South Korea.
3. Korean barbecue (Gogigui )
Speaking of BBQ, we couldn’t do a listing of Korean meals with out together with one among our favorites: Korean Barbecue! Also often known as Gogigui, such a 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 personal dinner. It’s an excellent enjoyable approach to spend a night and a really social approach of consuming.
Now you could assume that this sounds loads 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 avenue meals—it’s tremendous inexpensive so nice should you’re touring on a price range. It can embody all kinds of creative components, 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 definitely first invented when Korea was beneath Japanese rule. Although some say it’s an adaptation of the standard dish Bokssam.
Kimchi is one other tremendous standard meals in South Korea. It is a mixture of spiced and fermented greens usually served as a facet dish. It is made from cabbage, carrots inexperienced peppers, radish, and spring onions.
We know that it’s been round since historic instances, with written accounts of it showing as early as the first century. Pickling and fermenting have been standard strategies of preserving meals earlier than the invention of recent home equipment comparable to fridges. What’s fascinating is that it wasn’t all the time spicy, the warmth was solely added after Portuguese merchants launched chilis to the area in the fifteenth century.
You could make so many various Korean dishes utilizing it. There is kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae), kimchi pancake (kimchi jeon), and kimchi fried rice simply to call just a few. Make your personal 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 all places.
Saengseon Jjigae is a fish stew that consists often of chicken fish and sometimes prawns or different shellfish. If you’re a lover of fish then you definately’ve acquired to ensure to do that dish!
Making this at residence shouldn’t be that straightforward, however if you wish to give it a attempt you principally 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 present 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 the whole lot prepare 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 all the time attempt Sundubu Jjigae, a variation of the standard stew that’s made with tofu. Fish, kimchi, and beef can be added to this dish should you like.
A Korean foremost meal will virtually all the time 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 to this point again to historic instances, although not too long ago extra trendy diversifications have been invented as properly.
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 likely one of the hottest avenue snacks in South Korea and it’s not exhausting to see why! It can embody additions comparable to crushed peanuts or cinnamon, and it’s often eaten in the course of the winter months to warmth up chilly commuters on chilly mornings.
9. Gilgeori Toast
If you’re searching for 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 approach to work. It’s savory, candy, filling, and scrumptious.
Its foremost components are egg, cabbage, and grated carrots. Ketchup, mayonnaise, and sugar—sure sugar—are different frequent additions. This standard avenue meals might sound loopy, however one way or the other, it actually works!
10. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
Another standard Korean avenue meals, Tteokbokki is sliced rice truffles—although not as you understand 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 quite a few completely different varieties, from curry to cream sauce and the whole lot in between. This candy and spicy dish might be in contrast to something you’ve tried earlier than, however it’s too good to cross up. This dish is especially standard on the streets of Seoul, so don’t neglect 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 just like the kind you would possibly get in a full Irish breakfast should you’re visiting the emerald isle.
This dish is often made by steaming cow or pig intestines and stuffing them with numerous components. It’s not for the faint-hearted, however should you’re an adventurous eater it’s undoubtedly 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 constructed from glass noodles and sometimes accommodates mushrooms, carrots, spinach, and different veggies. It was as soon as a dish reserved for royalty, and it’s now frequent to eat at celebrations comparable to 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 personal 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 avenue snack interprets to “egg bread” and that’s precisely what it’s.
A lightweight, fluffy, little loaf of sweet-tasting bread that accommodates a complete egg inside. Common toppings embody ham, cheese, or contemporary herbs comparable to parsley.
14. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Octopus)
Nakji-Bokkeum is one other dish that could be greatest 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 standard dish in South Korea, and it’s undoubtedly price testing.
Nakji-Bokkeum is a spicy dish constructed from stir-fried octopus. It’s believed to be a comparatively current addition to the South Korean food plan, courting again to across the mid-1900s.
15. Yaksik (Sweet Rice)
Finally, we’ve a candy dish that’s standard all through South Korea. Yaksik is constructed from 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 referred to as Hangover Soup, is a standard Korean soup that’s believed to assist treatment 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 accommodates a wide range of spices and seasonings, like garlic, ginger, and Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes).
I’d say you’ll be hard-pressed to make this at residence, however you can provide it a attempt with this recipe.
Haejangguk is often served with rice, kimchi, and pickled greens. If you’re in Seoul you’ll undoubtedly 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 combination of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and sesame oil. Finally, grill it on a scorching plate or barbecue till it’s cooked via and barely crispy on the surface.
The last 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 chew.
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 components. The dish is commonly 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 properly, as it’s barely drier and simpler to stir-fry. Kimchi is then chopped into small items and combined with different components comparable to 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 via and coated with the kimchi and vegetable combination. Some variations of this Fried Rice might embody different components comparable to diced ham, bacon, or tofu.
It is commonly served with a fried egg on prime, which provides a creamy texture to the dish. The dish can 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 stuffed with meat and greens. The dumpling is just 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 comparable to garlic, onion, carrot, and inexperienced onion. The filling is seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper to style. Some different forms of Jjinmandu might embody tofu, kimchi, or different components.
Next, small circles of dumpling wrapper dough are rolled out and stuffed with 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 via and the wrapper is tender.
Jjinmandu is commonly served with a dipping sauce constructed from soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. The dish may be loved as a snack or as a foremost course and is standard 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 standard dish in Korea and is commonly served as a foremost course, particularly in the course of the winter. The dish has an extended historical past and was first made in the course of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) when households would ferment their very own kimchi in giant earthenware jars known 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 via 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 rooster, also referred to as KFC, is a well-liked Korean dish that consists of fried rooster coated in a crispy, crunchy batter and usually served with a spicy or candy sauce. The distinction between Korean fried rooster and different forms of fried rooster is using a double-frying method that creates an extra-crispy exterior whereas preserving the meat juicy and tender on the within.
Once the rooster is totally cooked and crispy, it’s usually served with a candy and spicy sauce made with Korean chili paste, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger. Korean fried rooster is a well-liked Korean avenue meals and you could find 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 an extended historical past in Korea and was first launched in the course of 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 commonly garnished with sliced cucumber and a drizzle of sesame oil. Jjajangmyeon is standard in Korea due to its wealthy and savory taste and satisfying texture.
23. Samgyetang (Chicken Ginseng Soup)
Samgyetang is a standard Korean soup made with a complete younger rooster, ginseng, jujubes, and different medicinal herbs. The dish is commonly eaten in the course of the summer season months in Korea and is believed to have well being advantages like boosting the immune system and rising stamina.
So, how do you make Samgyetang? First, a complete younger rooster is full of glutinous rice and numerous herbs like ginseng, jujubes, and garlic. The rooster is then boiled in a pot with water till it’s totally 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 rooster. Samgyetang is a well-liked dish in Korea and is commonly 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 a tremendous job of reflecting this. There are so many various dishes to attempt, and the above signify just some of our favorites. If you’re searching for extra journey suggestions, don’t neglect to take a look at the remainder of our posts now!