To truly understand Korean culture, you must partake in a meal. In this country, food is shared with others and meals are intended to be shared by many people. Eating out becomes a heartwarming and stomach-pleasing experience, which can lead to some memorable evenings out. Eating a traditional Korean dinner maybe a show, therefore it’s better to do so with a group of people you care about. There can be a variety of little dishes to sample, a giant pot of something delicious simmering or frying in the middle of the table, and meals cooked with care by chefs who specialize in this particular dish.
Meet the 20 most delicious traditional Korean foods you’ll crave now and long after your vacation to Korea. This list has something for everyone, whether you consume meat, are a vegetarian, vegan, or a seafood addict.
1. Samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ)
There are many different kinds of Korean BBQ with different cuts of meat, but eating samgyeopsal is the best way to go. It’s thick and juicy, cheap, and easy to find. It’s not the same as a British or American barbecue, but it will give you the same fix and fill you up. Wrap it in a lettuce leaf with kimchi, garlic, and anything else you want, and then pop it in your mouth. With this meal, you will get a lot of different side dishes. In some places, you can even get food that you can eat as much as you want.
A full and healthful dish, bibimbap is readily accessible in restaurants, food courts, and street markets. Bibimbap can be a meat or vegetarian dish depending on the locale and ingredients. Warm rice is topped with mixed veggies, meat or chicken, raw egg, soy sauce, and chili pepper paste for spice. For seafood aficionados, there’s a hoedeopbap version that uses raw salmon, tuna, or octopus instead of meat.
3.Japchae (Stir-Fried Glass Noodles)
Glass noodles stir-fried in sesame oil with beef, mushrooms, and a variety of other veggies make up the popular Korean meal Japchae, which is probably the country’s favorite noodle dish. Sweet potato is used in the production of these translucent, thin noodles. It is considered unpleasant to eat with a bowl so close to the lips in Korea, unlike other Asian noodle dishes that are soupy. So, to suck the noodles, they use a spoon and metal chopsticks.
4. Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)
Soft Tofu Stew is a flavor explosion in a dish. A popular Korean stew is created with tofu, veggies, pork, seafood, and chili paste, and topped with a raw egg. The stew is served in a huge stone bowl with rice and kimchi on the side. This hot stew, which varies by location, is a delicious combination of surprising flavors that yields delightful feelings.
5.Gimbap (Seaweed Wrapped Rolls)
It’s easy to find gimbap (also spelled kimbap) as both a snack at a convenience store and as the centerpiece of a typical Korean supper. One of the most popular traditional Korean cuisines is this simple dish. For me, the best part about gimbap is the variety of ingredients it offers: cream cheese, bulgogi (deep-fried beef), lobster, and many more. For those on a budget when visiting Korea, this is an excellent dining option. If you’re planning a hike and want to bring a healthy snack with you, this is a fantastic option.
6.Red Rice Cakes (tteokbokki)
Thick slices of garaetteok (boiled rice cake), fish cake, onions, sliced garlic, salt, sugar, and an assortment of vegetables are stir-fried in sweet red chili sauce to create tteokbokki, a classic Korean street snack that is is originated in Korea. This famous snack, which is distinguished by its vibrant red and orange color scheme, is typically offered by street sellers and independent snack bars.
7.Chuncheon Dakgalbi (Stir-Fried Chicken)
Chuncheon dakgalbi is another typical Korean meal for fried pork lovers. With vegetables, tteok rice cake, chili paste sauce, and other spices. Add noodles and cheese. These items are stir-fried at your table. Every few minutes, a waiter will mix it all up for you. It’s a food to enjoy, not simply eat. Dakgalbi originated in Chuncheon, and this is the greatest site to try. The tastiest traditional Korean cuisine can be found on Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street.
8.Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang)
Samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup) is a common summertime meal for locals, who think that the body’s energy needs to be renewed during this time of year. Chicken, chestnuts, garlic, dried jijubes, ginseng, and glutinous rice are stuffed into a spring chicken for a nutritious soup. When the beef is soft and the thick soup has taken on a little bitter yet fragrant flavor, the dish is finished with a low-and-slow cooking method.
9.Naengmyeon (Cold Noodles)
Naengmyeon is a cold buckwheat noodle meal. Ice-water cold noodles and spicy cold noodles (mul naengmyeon) are the two main variations, both great for summer. The mul naengmyeon (shown above) is my favorite since the noodles are drowned in very cold water. It’s seasoned with vinegar and mustard and topped with radish, cucumbers, and a boiled egg. This dish is similar to bi bim naengymeon, however, the noodles are slathered with fiery chili paste instead of very cold water. Caution: this meal is deceptively spicy.
10.Maeuntang (Spicy Fish Stew)
Maeuntang is a hot and spicy fish stew cooked with fresh fish. The fresh fish is chopped up and cooked with veggies and ground beef. Red chili paste (gochujang) and red chili flakes (gochugaru) are used liberally to spice up this dish. Shellfish, garlic, and other ingredients can be found in a bowl of maeuntang. They add a unique flavor to one of Korea’s favorite seafood meals. A spicy Korean dish for individuals who want their food spicy.
11.Manduguk (Dumpling Soup)
A bowl of manduguk (Korean dumplings) is the greatest. Manduguk is a bowl of mandu mixed with tteok (rice cakes), sliced vegetables, ground meat, or egg. The mandu is filled with kimchi, pork, shrimp, and vegetables. A manduguk normally has kimchi or beef dumplings, although good restaurants will have more alternatives. Manduguk is eaten on New Year’s Day, just like other traditional Korean meals. If you live in South Korea, start the year with manduguk. Handmade dumplings are made by families.
Chimaek is a cuisine that combines chicken with a beer in a novel way, resulting in a delicious meal. Among Koreans, this dish is a delicacy, and they prefer it to either chicken or beer itself. The mouthwatering Chimaek may tempt you if you’ve grown tired of these options.
13.Korean Fried Chicken
With its distinct flavor, Korean fried chicken takes on the American fast food staple. Before being deep-fried, the chicken is covered with a sweet and spicy sauce (some places put green pepper inside the batter to give it an even smoky kick). As a result, the meat is tender and juicy, while the lightly battered exterior is crispy and low in fat. It’s a favorite late-night snack that goes well with a cold beer.
14.Pajeon (Korean Pancake)
Pajeon (Korean savory pancakes) can be filled with kimchi, potato, beef, pig, or seafood. The most popular is haemul pajeon (seafood with spring onions), which is perfect for a late-night snack. Many restaurants sell pajeon to hikers in Korea. You may spot them frying on a hot plate outside the eatery. They are provided fresh to famished travelers after a lengthy trip. Pajeon with spicy soy sauce and makgeolli, another mountain specialty. In addition to chestnut, corn, and banana varieties, Makgeolli is also available in a sweetened version.
South Korea’s hangover culture is on par with the country’s drinking culture in terms of sophistication. Various types of stews are cooked specifically to be consumed before or after drinking. They are created using beef broth, cabbage, radish, bean sprouts, spices, and other ingredients that contribute to the overall flavor of the stew.
16.Hoe (Raw Fish)
Hoe is one of the best traditional Korean foods to eat. This isn’t your typical Japanese sashimi, with selections beyond the usual thin slices of fresh fish. You’ll also find an array of vibrantly living seafood and shellfish. Aside from the soup, other side dishes might include more seafood and kimchi. Dip the delicate slices in soy sauce and wasabi and eat them plain, or wrap them in lettuce or cabbage. Place the fish in a lettuce leaf with garlic and other ingredients. Korean BBQ with seafood.
Patbingsu is Korea’s most popular dessert, made with ice shavings and sweet toppings. Condensed milk and ice shavings are topped with chopped fruits and scarlet beans in a large bowl of dessert (bingsu). It is a common practice in Korea to share a dessert in a huge bowl. In other words, don’t be afraid of the Patbingsu bowl at a restaurant. This sweet treat, on the other hand, you’d be loathe to part with.
It is a fusion meal that combines Korean and Chinese ingredients. Jajangmyeon employs thick handmade wheat noodles that are garnished with raw cucumber slices and a sauce made of salty black soybean paste, sliced pork, and other veggies. This hearty noodle dish, which starts at 5,000 won and goes up from there, is perfect for when you need a quick supper that won’t break the bank.
19.Kimchi (Spicy Fermented Vegetables)
When we think of Korean food, we immediately think of kimchi. It’s the finest method to get a taste of authentic Korean food. Fermented vegetables and cabbage make up the bulk of this salad, which is spicy and crunchy. Vitamins, fiber, and low-calorie content make it an excellent food choice. It’s a staple of Korean cuisine, and a meal without it would be incomplete. It’s fantastic as a snack, in a stew, in a wrap with grilled or boiled meat, or even in a taco. It’s versatile. Additionally, it is believed by the Korean people to have remarkable health benefits, including the reduction of cholesterol and the prevention of stomach cancer.
20.Bossam (Wrapped Boiled Pork)
A traditional bossam lunch includes sliced cooked pork, 3 types of kimchi, raw garlic, dipping sauces, and various wraps. Bossam is a Korean dish wrapped with lettuce and cabbage. This meal is entirely about dipping and wrapping cooked pig pieces, which is rather tasty. It also beats fried foods. Then wrap them all in lettuce, cabbage, or sesame (perilla) leaves and consume them all at once. The nicest part of this meal is combining all of the different selections.