South Korea is an wonderful nation. A cultural melting pot that’s the results of a variety of 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 components which have created the customs, attitudes, and meals tradition that exists there at the moment. And for those who haven’t visited Korea but it’s best to undoubtedly put it in your checklist.
Traditional Korean Dishes
Korean meals relies lots on grains—in specific rice. From Kimchi fried rice to a candy rice cake, it’s a delicacies that isn’t afraid of somewhat spice and makes use of plenty of fermented components. 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. Lots of the meals listed here are adopted or tailored from different cultures. We can be highlighting some conventional dishes but additionally a few of these fashionable takes on Korean Food which have change into actually common in the USA.
It is time to start out 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 without doubt one of the extra well-known Korean dishes. You have most likely tried it at house 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 approach then make it possible for every ingredient is sectioned individually in the bowl. Then you possibly can combine them collectively earlier than consuming. The finest Bibimbap used greens which have been 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 wonderful proper?
The benefit of this being such a well-liked Korean dish is you can 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 possibly can’t miss for those who’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 have been marinated and grilled on a barbecue.
Bulgogi is a kind of easy Korean dishes you can make at house. The key to Bulgogi is certainly the correct 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 cook dinner it, you need to hear that sizzle so make sure that the grill is admittedly scorching.
This dish truly comes from Northern Korea, however at the moment it’s common 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 an inventory of Korean meals with out together with one among our favorites: Korean Barbecue! Also often called 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 number of veggies, after which you possibly can go to city grilling your individual dinner. It’s an excellent enjoyable solution to spend a night and a really social approach of consuming.
Now you could suppose that this sounds lots like Bulgogi however the distinction is that Bulgogi is definitely a kind 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 you then’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 for those who’re touring on a finances. It can embody all types of ingenious 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 almost certainly first invented when Korea was below Japanese rule. Although some say it’s an adaptation of the standard dish Bokssam.
Kimchi is one other tremendous common meals in South Korea. It is a mixture of spiced and fermented greens typically served as a facet dish. It is product of 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 common strategies of preserving meals earlier than the invention of recent home equipment similar to 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 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 for those who’re visiting South Korea you’ll little question see it on menus in every single place.
Saengseon Jjigae is a fish stew that consists often of chicken fish and infrequently prawns or different shellfish. If you’re a lover of fish you then’ve acquired to verify to do that dish!
Making this at house just 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 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 every little thing cook 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 possibly can at all times attempt Sundubu Jjigae, a variation of the standard stew that’s made with tofu. Fish, kimchi, and beef will also be added to this dish for those who like.
A Korean most important meal will virtually at all times include some type of jjigae—that’s how a lot of a staple it’s! So for those who’re in a restaurant there’s probability you’ll get to attempt it. This dish is assumed so far again to historic instances, although lately extra fashionable variations have been invented as properly.
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 without doubt one of the hottest road snacks in South Korea and it’s not exhausting to see why! It can embody additions similar to crushed peanuts or cinnamon, and it’s often eaten through 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 proper dish for you. Gilgeori toast is what most younger South Koreans will seize for breakfast on their solution to work. It’s savory, candy, filling, and scrumptious.
Its most important components are egg, cabbage, and grated carrots. Ketchup, mayonnaise, and sugar—sure sugar—are different frequent additions. This common road meals might sound loopy, however someway, it actually works!
10. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
Another common Korean road 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 a variety of totally different varieties, from curry to cream sauce and every little thing 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 move up. This dish is especially common on the streets of Seoul, so don’t neglect to look out for those who’re visiting.
11. Soondae (Korean blood sausage)
No, we’re not speaking about ice cream and sauce right here, so for those who see this on a menu in Korea, don’t make this error! Sundae is in reality a blood sausage just like the kind you may get in a full Irish breakfast for those who’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 for those who’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 infrequently incorporates 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 similar 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 house 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 a complete egg inside. Common toppings embody ham, cheese, or recent herbs similar to parsley.
14. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Octopus)
Nakji-Bokkeum is one other dish that could be finest left to adventurous eaters, and for those who’re not a fan of fish, you possibly can most likely give it a miss. Still, it’s an exceedingly common 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 eating regimen, relationship again to across the mid-1900s.
15. Yaksik (Sweet Rice)
Finally, now we have a candy dish that’s common all through South Korea. Yaksik is constructed 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 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 incorporates a wide range of spices and seasonings, like garlic, ginger, and Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes).
I’d say you can be hard-pressed to make this at house, however you can provide it a attempt with this recipe.
Haejangguk is often 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 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 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 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 simple 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 blended with different components similar 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 might embody different components similar 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 will also 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 typically 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 similar 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 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 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 might be loved as a snack or as a most important 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 standard dish in Korea and is commonly served as a most important course, particularly through the winter. The dish has an extended historical past and was first made through the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) when households would ferment their very own kimchi in massive 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 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 hen, also referred to as 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 protecting 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 you could find it virtually 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 an extended historical past in Korea and was first launched through 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 common 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 hen, ginseng, jujubes, and different medicinal herbs. The dish is commonly eaten through 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, a complete younger hen is full of 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 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 an incredible job of reflecting this. There are so many various dishes to attempt, and the above symbolize just some of our favorites. If you’re in search of extra journey ideas, don’t neglect to take a look at the remainder of our posts now!