South Korea is an superb nation. A cultural melting pot that’s the results of various 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 as we speak. And in the event you haven’t visited Korea but you need to undoubtedly put it in your checklist.
Traditional Korean Dishes
Korean meals is predicated rather a lot on grains—in specific rice. From Kimchi fried rice to a candy rice cake, it’s a delicacies that isn’t afraid of a little bit spice and makes use of plenty of fermented elements. Fish and seafood additionally play an necessary position in Korean meals, due to the ocean surrounding the Korean peninsula.
Many South Korean dishes have fascinating histories or cultural significance. Numerous the meals listed below are adopted or tailored from different cultures. We will probably be highlighting some conventional dishes but additionally a few of these fashionable takes on Korean Food which have turn into actually standard in the USA.
It is time to begin your meals journey in Korea. We can’t wait to point out 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 in all probability tried it at residence 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 wish to make it the standard means then guarantee that every ingredient is sectioned individually in the bowl. Then you’ll be able to 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 well-liked Korean dish is that you may 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’ll be able to’t miss in the event 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 type of easy Korean dishes that you may make at residence. The key to a great Bulgogi is certainly the best lower of meat. We like to make use of prime sirloin, however you should utilize whichever kind of beef you want. Make positive to slice it good and skinny, that means 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 make certain the grill is admittedly scorching.
This dish truly comes from Northern Korea, however as we speak it’s standard 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 a listing of Korean meals with out together with certainly one of our favorites: Korean Barbecue! Also often known as Gogigui, the sort of meals is as enjoyable to eat as it’s scrumptious.
At Korean Barbecue eating places, you order your meat, you’re given a collection of veggies, after which you’ll be able to go to city grilling your personal dinner. It’s a brilliant enjoyable approach to spend a night and a really social means of consuming.
Now you might assume that this sounds rather a lot like Bulgogi however the distinction is that Bulgogi is definitely a kind of Gogigui. The time period Gogigui simply refers back to the apply 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 received to attempt gimbap. Gimbap is the Korean tackle sushi and it’s most frequently loved as avenue meals—it’s tremendous reasonably priced so nice in the event you’re touring on a finances. It can embrace all kinds of creative elements, 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 almost certainly 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 manufactured from cabbage, carrots inexperienced peppers, radish, and spring onions.
We know that it’s been round since historical 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 contemporary home equipment akin 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 in the event you’re visiting South Korea you’ll little question see it on menus in all places.
Saengseon Jjigae is a fish stew that consists normally of chicken fish and sometimes prawns or different shellfish. If you’re a lover of fish then you definately’ve received to verify to do this dish!
Making this at residence will not be that simple, however if you wish to give it a attempt you principally 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 things prepare dinner collectively for a couple of minutes till the flavors have melded collectively.
7. Sundubu-jjigae (comfortable tofu stew)
If you’d prefer to attempt a Korean stew (or jjigae) however you don’t eat meat or fish, you’ll be able to 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 in the event you like.
A Korean principal meal will virtually all the time include some type of jjigae—that’s how a lot of a staple it’s! So in the event you’re in a restaurant there’s a great likelihood you’ll get to attempt it. This dish is believed so far again to historical instances, although just lately extra fashionable variations have been invented as nicely.
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 likely one of the hottest avenue snacks in South Korea and it’s not arduous to see why! It can embrace additions akin 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 on the lookout for some tasty breakfast after you’ve shaken off your jet lag, we’ve received the proper 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 principal elements are egg, cabbage, and grated carrots. Ketchup, mayonnaise, and sugar—sure sugar—are different widespread additions. This standard avenue meals could sound loopy, however someway, it actually works!
10. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
Another standard Korean avenue meals, Tteokbokki is sliced rice muffins—although not as 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 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 muffins and fish muffins.
Tteokbokki comes in various totally different varieties, from curry to cream sauce and all the things in between. This candy and spicy dish might be in contrast to something you’ve tried earlier than, but it surely’s too good to go up. This dish is especially standard on the streets of Seoul, so don’t overlook to look out in the event you’re visiting.
11. Soondae (Korean blood sausage)
No, we’re not speaking about ice cream and sauce right here, so in the event you see this on a menu in Korea, don’t make this error! Sundae is in truth a blood sausage just like the sort you would possibly get in a full Irish breakfast in the event you’re visiting the emerald isle.
This dish is normally made by steaming cow or pig intestines and stuffing them with varied elements. It’s not for the faint-hearted, however in the event 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 comprises 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 akin 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 light-weight, fluffy, little loaf of sweet-tasting bread that comprises an entire egg inside. Common toppings embrace ham, cheese, or contemporary herbs akin to parsley.
14. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Octopus)
Nakji-Bokkeum is one other dish that is likely to be finest left to adventurous eaters, and in the event you’re not a fan of fish, you’ll be able to in all probability give it a miss. Still, it’s an exceedingly standard dish in South Korea, and it’s undoubtedly price trying out.
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 now have a candy dish that’s standard all through South Korea. Yaksik is constructed from steamed rice, honey, and dried fruits. It additionally usually contains 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 called 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 quite a lot of greens like bean sprouts, Napa cabbage, and radish. The soup additionally comprises quite a lot 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 may give it a attempt 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 ingesting to assist alleviate the signs of a hangover the following day. Does it work? Let’s simply say we imagine.
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 facet 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 means of and barely crispy on the skin.
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 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 elements. 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 nicely, as it’s barely drier and simpler to stir-fry. Kimchi is then chopped into small items and blended with different elements akin 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 means of and coated with the kimchi and vegetable combination. Some variations of this Fried Rice could embrace different elements akin 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 kind of Korean dumpling that’s usually crammed 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 akin to 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 could embrace tofu, kimchi, or different elements.
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 means of and the wrapper is tender.
Jjinmandu is commonly served with a dipping sauce constructed from soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. The dish could be loved as a snack or as a principal 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 principal 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 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 means 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 called 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 varieties 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 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 varied 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 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 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 growing stamina.
So, how do you make Samgyetang? First, an entire younger rooster is full of glutinous rice and varied 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 only a few of our favorites. If you’re on the lookout for extra journey suggestions, don’t overlook to take a look at the remainder of our posts now!