South Korea is an superb nation. A cultural melting pot that’s the results of numerous 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 as we speak. And should you haven’t visited Korea but it is best to undoubtedly put it in your listing.
Traditional Korean Dishes
Korean meals relies quite a bit on grains—in explicit rice. From Kimchi fried rice to a candy rice cake, it’s a delicacies that isn’t afraid of a bit of spice and makes use of quite a lot of fermented components. Fish and seafood additionally play an necessary function in Korean meals, due to the ocean surrounding the Korean peninsula.
Many South Korean dishes have fascinating histories or cultural significance. Plenty of the meals listed below are adopted or tailored from different cultures. We can be highlighting some conventional dishes but in addition a few of these fashionable takes on Korean Food which have change into actually well-liked 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 among the extra well-known Korean dishes. You have most likely tried it at dwelling however till you will have it in Korea, we are saying you might be 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 standard method then ensure that every ingredient is sectioned individually in the bowl. Then you’ll be able to 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 high it with sesame seeds, spicy sauce, and scallions. Sounds superb proper?
The benefit of this being such a well-liked Korean dish is which you can get a model with seafood, beef, and tofu—there’s one thing to swimsuit 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’ll be able to’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 kind of easy Korean dishes which you can make at dwelling. The key to a very good Bulgogi is unquestionably the correct lower of meat. We like to make use of high sirloin, however you should use whichever sort of beef you want. Make positive to slice it good and skinny, that method 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 basically scorching.
This dish truly comes from Northern Korea, however as we speak it’s well-liked in South Korea as effectively. 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 an inventory of Korean meals with out together with one among our favorites: Korean Barbecue! Also generally 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’ll be able to go to city grilling your individual dinner. It’s an excellent enjoyable technique to spend a night and a really social method of consuming.
Now you could suppose that this sounds quite a bit like Bulgogi however the distinction is that Bulgogi is definitely a kind of Gogigui. The time period Gogigui simply refers back to the follow 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 strive gimbap. Gimbap is the Korean tackle sushi and it’s most frequently loved as road meals—it’s tremendous reasonably priced so nice should you’re touring on a funds. 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 which means seaweed and bap which means rice. It was more than likely 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 well-liked meals in South Korea. It is a mixture of spiced and fermented greens typically served as a aspect dish. It is manufactured from cabbage, carrots inexperienced peppers, radish, and spring onions.
We know that it’s been round since historical occasions, with written accounts of it showing as early as the first century. Pickling and fermenting have been well-liked strategies of preserving meals earlier than the invention of recent home equipment equivalent 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 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 doubt see it on menus all over the 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 ensure to do that dish!
Making this at dwelling just isn’t that simple, however if you wish to give it a strive you mainly lower 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 offer 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 (comfortable tofu stew)
If you’d wish to strive a Korean stew (or jjigae) however you don’t eat meat or fish, you’ll be able to all the time strive Sundubu Jjigae, a variation of the standard stew that’s made with tofu. Fish, kimchi, and beef will also be added to this dish should you like.
A Korean predominant meal will nearly 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 very good probability you’ll get to strive it. This dish is assumed up to now again to historical occasions, although just lately extra fashionable diversifications have been invented as effectively.
8. Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)
From the very savory to the tremendous candy, Hotteok is a kind of pancake oozing with candy syrup. This is among the hottest road snacks in South Korea and it’s not exhausting to see why! It can embody additions equivalent to 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 predominant components are egg, cabbage, and grated carrots. Ketchup, mayonnaise, and sugar—sure sugar—are different widespread additions. This well-liked road meals might sound loopy, however by some means, it actually works!
10. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
Another well-liked Korean road meals, Tteokbokki is sliced rice muffins—although not as you realize them. Far from the crunchy disks of puffed-up rice, this time period conjures up, these rice muffins are comfortable, cylindrical, and deliciously chewy.
To make Tteokbokki, first, the rice muffins and fish muffins are boiled till they’re comfortable and tender. Then, the crimson pepper sauce, which is made with gochujang (Korean crimson pepper paste), garlic, soy sauce, and sugar, is added to the pot. The combination is simmered till the sauce thickens and coats the rice muffins and fish muffins.
Tteokbokki comes in numerous completely different varieties, from curry to cream sauce and all the pieces in between. This candy and spicy dish might be not like something you’ve tried earlier than, nevertheless it’s too good to cross up. This dish is especially well-liked 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 components. It’s not for the faint-hearted, however should you’re an adventurous eater it’s undoubtedly one to strive.
12. Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)
This is one other dish that exemplifies the South Korean penchant for the mixture of candy and savory. It’s produced from 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 equivalent 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 individual at dwelling 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 lightweight, fluffy, little loaf of sweet-tasting bread that incorporates an entire egg inside. Common toppings embody ham, cheese, or contemporary herbs equivalent to parsley.
14. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Octopus)
Nakji-Bokkeum is one other dish that is perhaps greatest left to adventurous eaters, and should you’re not a fan of fish, you’ll be able to most likely give it a miss. Still, it’s an exceedingly well-liked dish in South Korea, and it’s undoubtedly price trying out.
Nakji-Bokkeum is a spicy dish produced from stir-fried octopus. It’s believed to be a comparatively latest addition to the South Korean weight loss program, relationship again to across the mid-1900s.
15. Yaksik (Sweet Rice)
Finally, we have now a candy dish that’s well-liked all through South Korea. Yaksik is produced from steamed rice, honey, and dried fruits. It additionally typically 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 also be loved at weddings.
16. Hangover Stew (Haejangguk)
Haejangguk, also referred to as Hangover Soup, is a conventional 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 quite a lot of greens like bean sprouts, Napa cabbage, and radish. The soup additionally incorporates quite a lot of spices and seasonings, like garlic, ginger, and Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes).
I might say you may be hard-pressed to make this at dwelling, however you may give it a strive with this recipe.
Haejangguk is normally served with rice, kimchi, and pickled greens. If you might be in Seoul you’ll undoubtedly see Koreans consuming this after an evening of heavy consuming to assist alleviate the signs of a hangover the subsequent 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 quite a lot of aspect dishes, together with lettuce leaves, sliced garlic, ssamjang (a spicy soybean paste), and grilled onions.
To make Samgyeopsal, first, a thick lower 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 surface.
The remaining step in this scrumptious dish is to put 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 components. The dish is commonly served as a fast and straightforward meal or as a aspect dish to accompany different Korean dishes.
To make the Fried Rice, first, cooked rice is required. Leftover rice works effectively, as it’s barely drier and simpler to stir-fry. Kimchi is then chopped into small items and blended with different components equivalent 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 by way of and coated with the kimchi and vegetable combination. Some variations of this Fried Rice might embody different components equivalent to diced ham, bacon, or tofu.
It is commonly served with a fried egg on high, which provides a creamy texture to the dish. The dish will also be garnished with further chopped inexperienced onions and sesame seeds for added taste.
19. Steamed Mandu Dumplings (Jjinmandu)
Jjinmandu is a kind of Korean dumpling that’s typically crammed with 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 equivalent to garlic, onion, carrot, and inexperienced onion. The filling is seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper to style. Some different sorts of Jjinmandu might embody tofu, kimchi, or different components.
Next, small circles of dumpling wrapper dough are rolled out and crammed 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 by way of and the wrapper is tender.
Jjinmandu is commonly served with a dipping sauce produced from soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. The dish could be loved as a snack or as a predominant course and is well-liked 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 commonly served as a predominant 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 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 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 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 sorts of fried rooster is the usage of a double-frying approach that creates an extra-crispy exterior whereas retaining the meat juicy and tender on the within.
Once the rooster is absolutely 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 road meals and yow will discover it nearly wherever 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 high. The dish is commonly garnished with sliced cucumber and a drizzle of sesame oil. Jjajangmyeon is well-liked 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 rooster, ginseng, jujubes, and different medicinal herbs. The dish is commonly eaten throughout 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, an entire younger rooster is filled with glutinous rice and numerous herbs like ginseng, jujubes, and garlic. The rooster 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 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 an enchanting and culturally wealthy nation and Korean meals does an incredible job of reflecting this. There are so many various dishes to strive, and the above symbolize only a few of our favorites. If you’re in search of extra journey suggestions, don’t overlook to take a look at the remainder of our posts now!