Having local cuisine of a specific country is one of the best ways to experience its culture. Like many cuisines, Korean cuisine has gained popularity over the years. Traditional Korean cuisine includes elements from Mongolia, China, and Japan. Plenty of Korean dishes like soups, barbeque, stews, and desserts are surely going to please your palate.
Here is a list of 20 traditional Korean food dishes that you must try-
1 Samgyeopsal (sam-guy-op-sal)
Samgyeopsal, also known as pork belly is a traditional Korean food wrapped in lettuce which is grilled before eating. Traditionally, this dish is not seasoned or marinated before cooking, but recently, Koreans have started marinating the meat with onions, garlic, and green peppers.
2 Samgyetang (sam-guy-tang)
Samgyetang is usually served in a pot. It is a chicken and a ginseng soup having flavors from garlic to sweet rice. It is a staple during the summer season as it is believed that it helps to boost your stamina and health. It is best served with a glass of ginseng wine, called insam-ju. Koreans devour this soup on three particular days of lunar calendar which are Malbok, Chobok, and Jungbok.
3 Hobakjuk (oh-back-juke)
Hobakjuk is a Korean porridge made from pumpkin and rice cake balls. It is sweet and full of nourishment. Just like chicken soup, it is served to people who are sick so that they recover quickly.
4 Seolleongtang (soul-long-tang)
Seolleongtang is an ox bone soup which is a traditional Korean food for centuries dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. It is a milky white broth involving ingredients like garlic, beef bones, black pepper, and scallions. This soup can be served with noodles or rice.
5 Kimchi (kim-chee)
Kimchi is described as a super food as it is naturally fermented and produces important probiotics that helps in the digestion. Kimchi is the most recognisable Korean food in the world. The most commonly food used for kimchi is Napa cabbage though various vegetables can also be used for its preparation. Other vegetables like fiery pepper, radish, and ginger are also used during its fermentation.
6 Bibimbap (bee-bim-bap)
Bibimbap is a rice dish topped with cooked vegetables, meat, and eggs. It has an abundance of flavours depending on the vegetables and meat used during its cooking process. During the Joseon Dynasty, it was known as goldongban, and it was renamed in the 20th Century. It is a must-have on the eve of the Lunar New Year for most of the Koreans.
7 Japchae (chap-chae)
When you visit South Korea, Japchae is a must have. It is also known as glass noodles as they are transparent noodles made from sweet potatoes. They can also be served as a side dish and are stir-fried with meat and vegetables. It is very similar to Chinese chop suey and considered as the king of Korean dishes.
8 Hotteok (ho-tok)
Hotteok is a pancake type Korean food which is also a popular Korean street food. Street vendors love preparing this dish as they can choose a variety of fillings to add into this. Hotteok is prepared with the same ingredients used in a pancake such as sugar, flour, yeast, milk, and cinnamon.
9 Haejangguk (ah-jang-gook)
Haejangguk, also known as hangover stew is a delightful cure in the morning. It is made from beef broth which includes dried Napa Cabbage and other vegetables. There are three main types of haejangguk which include sliced squid served cold, another prepared with raw egg, and the third includes an ox bone broth.
10 Bulgogi (bool-go-ghee)
Bulgogi is another traditional Korean dish consisting of sliced meat strips which are marinated to have a smoky and sweet and spicy flavor. This dish is prepared with pork or beef and is usually grilled, but it is also prepared by broiling and roasting.
Ddukbokki is a made of rice cake, fish cake, sweet red chili sauce, and vegetables. It is often sold by street vendors.
Sundubu-jjigae is a spicy Korean stew made of tofu (dubu), mushrooms, seafood, beef or pork, and chili paste. Depending on the region and chef, some ingredients are removed or added to the mix. Traditionally, a raw egg is placed on top of the stew and mixed with the stew before serving.
Naengmyeon is a Korean noodle dish consisting of long, thin noodles, slices of beef, slices of Korean pear, and hard-boiled egg. The noodles are made of potatoes, buckwheat, and sweet potatoes, and also from kudzu and arrowroot. It is a popular dish during the summer to cool off under the scorching heat.
14 Haemul Pajeon
Haemul Pajeon is a seafood vegetable pancake made with spring onions, wheat flour, egg batter, and rice flour. Common seafood ingredients include oysters, squids, and shrimps. It is eaten as a main dish and known for a soft and chewy texture.
Gimbap or Kimbap is a seaweed rice roll. Meat, rice, and vegetables are wrapped in a seaweed roll sliced into bite-sized discs. It is Korea’s best-known street food.
Yukgaejand is a spicy Korean beef stew. It is great to consume during winter days. Usually, beef brisket is the ideal choice of meat as it gives the flavor to the stew. Vegetables that accompany this dish are mushrooms, green onions, and beans. The extra flavor comes from red chili paste and fermented soybean paste.
Patbingsoo is Korea’s version of shaved ice. Here, the ice is not the usual shaved ice from water, but it is actually made from milk. It is shaved so thin that it seems you are having milk flavoured snow. Usually, it is served with red beans and rice cake.
Kalguksu is a traditional Korean noodle soup where the noodle is made from wheat flour and cut with knives. As far the appearance is concerned, it looks plain, but the broth is flavorful.
Gyeranjjim is a steamed egg casserole. The main ingredients are egg and water along with green onions, pepper, and salt. Some people often serve it with chicken or beef. It is served as a side dish.
Donkasu is a crispy, deep fried pork cutlet. It is served with white rice and special sauces.