South Korea is an superb 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 as we speak. And should you haven’t visited Korea but it’s best to positively put it in your checklist.
Conventional Korean Dishes
Korean meals relies rather a lot on grains—specifically 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 loads 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. A variety of the meals listed below are adopted or tailored from different cultures. We might be highlighting some conventional dishes but additionally a few of these trendy takes on Korean Meals which have turn out to be actually fashionable within the USA.
It’s time to begin your meals journey in Korea. We will’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 might have in all probability tried it at house however till you’ve 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 wish to make it the normal method then ensure that every ingredient is sectioned individually within the bowl. Then you may combine them collectively earlier than consuming. One of the best 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 that you would be able to get a model with seafood, beef, and tofu—there’s one thing to go well with all tastes! In case 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 identify means “hearth 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 house. The important thing to a superb Bulgogi is certainly the proper reduce of meat. We like to make use of prime sirloin, however you should utilize whichever sort of beef you want. Be certain to slice it good and skinny, that method it’s extra tender, then marinate it in soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Whenever you cook dinner it, you need to hear that sizzle so ensure the grill is de facto sizzling.
This dish truly comes from Northern Korea, however as we speak it’s fashionable in South Korea as nicely. This can be 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 )
Talking of BBQ, we couldn’t do an inventory of Korean meals with out together with one in every of our favorites: Korean Barbecue! Also referred to as Gogigui, this 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 choice of veggies, after which you may go to city grilling your individual dinner. It’s an excellent enjoyable method to spend a night and a really social method of consuming.
Now chances are you’ll 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 follow of grilling or roasting meat in Korean delicacies.
4. Gimbap: Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls
In case you’re a fan of sushi you then’ve received to strive 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 finances. It may possibly embrace all types of ingenious components, together with however not restricted to beef, cheese, omelet, and even pork stomach cutlet.
One other 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. Though some say it’s an adaptation of the normal dish Bokssam.
Kimchi is one other tremendous fashionable meals in South Korea. It’s a mixture of spiced and fermented greens usually served as a facet dish. It’s made from cabbage, carrots inexperienced peppers, radish, and spring onions.
We all 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 fashionable strategies of preserving meals earlier than the invention of contemporary home equipment comparable 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 within the fifteenth century.
You can also make so many various Korean dishes utilizing it. There’s kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae), kimchi pancake (kimchi jeon), and kimchi fried rice simply to call just a few. 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 in all places.
Saengseon Jjigae is a fish stew that consists often of chicken fish and infrequently prawns or different shellfish. In case you’re a lover of fish you then’ve received to verify to do that dish!
Making this at house shouldn’t be that straightforward, however if you wish to give it a strive you mainly reduce 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.
Lastly, you mix the inventory with no matter greens you want and let it simmer till they’re cooked. Lastly, add within the fish, together with some chopped scallions, and let the whole lot cook dinner collectively for a couple of minutes till the flavors have melded collectively.
7. Sundubu-jjigae (delicate tofu stew)
In case you’d prefer to strive a Korean stew (or jjigae) however you don’t eat meat or fish, you may at all times strive Sundubu Jjigae, a variation of the normal stew that’s made with tofu. Fish, kimchi, and beef may also be added to this dish should you like.
A Korean predominant meal will nearly 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 probability you’ll get to strive it. This dish is believed to this point again to historic occasions, although not too long ago extra trendy variations have been invented as nicely.
8. Hotteok (Korean Candy 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 avenue snacks in South Korea and it’s not laborious to see why! It may possibly embrace additions comparable 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
In case you’re searching 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 method 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 frequent additions. This fashionable avenue meals could sound loopy, however someway, it actually works!
10. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Desserts)
One other fashionable Korean avenue meals, Tteokbokki is sliced rice truffles—although not as you already know them. Removed from the crunchy disks of puffed-up rice, this time period conjures up, these rice truffles are delicate, cylindrical, and deliciously chewy.
To make Tteokbokki, first, the rice truffles and fish truffles are boiled till they’re delicate and tender. Then, the pink pepper sauce, which is made with gochujang (Korean pink 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 is available in a variety of totally 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, but it surely’s too good to cross up. This dish is especially fashionable 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 actual fact a blood sausage much like the sort you may 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 positively one to strive.
12. Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)
That is one other dish that exemplifies the South Korean penchant for the mix of candy and savory. It’s made out of glass noodles and infrequently 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’s nothing like a dish of glass noodles stir-fried in sesame oil and garnished with toasted sesame seeds to get your mouth watering. Attempt making your individual at house with this recipe!
13. Gyeranppang (Egg Bread)
In case you’re a lover of all issues wealthy, then Gyeranppang is the dish for you. The identify 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 accommodates a complete egg inside. Widespread toppings embrace ham, cheese, or recent herbs comparable to parsley.
14. Nakji Bokkeum (Spicy Octopus)
Nakji-Bokkeum is one other dish that is likely to be finest left to adventurous eaters, and should you’re not a fan of fish, you may in all probability give it a miss. Nonetheless, it’s an exceedingly fashionable dish in South Korea, and it’s positively value testing.
Nakji-Bokkeum is a spicy dish made out of 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 (Candy Rice)
Lastly, we’ve a candy dish that’s fashionable all through South Korea. Yaksik is made out of steamed rice, honey, and dried fruits. It additionally usually contains cinnamon and even soy sauce.
This dish dates again to across the thirteenth century. At the moment, it’s historically served up on Jeongwol Daeboreum, a Korean vacation. Additionally it is loved at weddings.
16. Hangover Stew (Haejangguk)
Haejangguk, also called Hangover Soup, is a standard Korean soup that’s believed to assist remedy hangovers. The identify 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 accommodates quite a lot of spices and seasonings, like garlic, ginger, and Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes).
I might say you’ll be hard-pressed to make this at house, however you may give it a strive with this recipe.
Haejangguk is often served with rice, kimchi, and pickled greens. In case you are in Seoul you’ll positively 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 Stomach)
Samgyeopsal is a well-liked Korean dish that consists of grilled pork stomach slices. The identify “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 reduce of pork stomach is sliced into skinny, bite-sized items. Then marinate it in a combination of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and sesame oil. Lastly, grill it on a sizzling plate or barbecue till it’s cooked by way of and barely crispy on the surface.
The ultimate step on 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 a single 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 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 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 by way of and coated with the kimchi and vegetable combination. Some variations of this Fried Rice could embrace different components comparable to diced ham, bacon, or tofu.
It’s usually served with a fried egg on prime, which provides a creamy texture to the dish. The dish may 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 usually crammed with meat and greens. The dumpling is much like a Chinese language-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. Another kinds of Jjinmandu could embrace tofu, kimchi, or different components.
Subsequent, small circles of dumpling wrapper dough are rolled out and crammed with the meat and vegetable combination. The perimeters 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 made out of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. The dish may be loved as a snack or as a predominant course and is fashionable 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 usually served as a predominant course, particularly through the winter. The dish has a protracted historical past and was first made through 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. Different 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 Rooster
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 kinds 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.
As soon as 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 avenue meals and you’ll find it nearly anyplace in South Korea.
22. Jjajangmyeon (Noodles in Black-Bean Sauce)
Jjajangmyeon is a well-liked Korean-Chinese language 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 through the early twentieth century by Chinese language 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. Greens 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 fashionable in Korea due to its wealthy and savory taste and satisfying texture.
23. Samgyetang (Rooster Ginseng Soup)
Samgyetang is a standard Korean soup made with a complete younger hen, ginseng, jujubes, and different medicinal herbs. The dish is usually eaten through the summer time 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 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 Favourite South Korean Delicacies
South Korea is a captivating and culturally wealthy nation and Korean meals does a tremendous job of reflecting this. There are such a lot of totally different dishes to strive, and the above symbolize only a few of our favorites. In case you’re searching for extra journey suggestions, don’t neglect to take a look at the remainder of our posts now!