If you are a food connoisseur, you know how revered Korean Food is on World Cuisine Map. There is so much more to it than Kimchi. And, much like any Asian Cuisine, Korean Food too is an acquired taste.
Korean cuisine evolved through years of social and political changes. Unlike Western course meal, Korean food has main and side dishes. The traditional Korean food consist of five main colour- green, red, yellow, white, and black. Each of them signify a direction, a natural element, and a health benefit.
For those who want to try out Korean Cuisine and don’t know how to begin, here is a list of all Korean dishes to put on your ‘Try-it’ list.
Top Korean Dishes you must try
1. Bibimbap (Rice bowl)
For those who find comfort in food bowls, Bibimbap will surely leave you filled and comforted. Bibimbap is a tasty mixture of rice, vegetables, beef, gochujang (hot chili paste), and a fried egg seasoned with soy sauce and sesame seeds.
Bibimbap was created as a Royaldish in yesteryears but slowly it became the favorite staple lunch meal among the Korean dishes.
2. Japchae (stir-fried glass noodles)
Arguably Korea’s favourite noodle dish, Japchae is made up of glass noodles stirred in sesame oil with beef, mushrooms, and an assortment of other vegetables. These clear, thin noodles are made with sweet potato.
Unlike other Asian noodle dishes which are soupy, Koreans find it impolite to eat with bowl so close to the mouth. So, they use spoon along with metal chopsticks to slurp these flavorful noodles.
3. Samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ)
Koreans have a things for pork. And, Samgyeopsal is their style of BBQ. If you are a non-vegetarian with an affinity for pork meat, you ought to try Samgyeopsal. The dish is simply the thick slices of pork belly meat grilled on your table and not marinated. The strips are dipped in seasoning made with sesame oil and wrapped in lettuce along with a strip of garlic and onion. It is a popular Korean meal.
4. Kimchi (Spicy fermented vegetables)
Kimchi is the first thing that comes to our mind on the mention of Korean food. It is the best way to get familiar with the Korean Cuisine. Consider it a spicy, crunchy salad made up from fermented vegetables with cabbage as its main ingredient.
It has high nutritional value, fibre content, and low calorie count. The quintessential Korean food item, Korean dining is incomplete without this delectable side dish.
5. Haemul Pajeon (seafood vegetable pancake)
For all seafood lovers out there, Haemul Pajeon is one dish you should put on your list. Crunchy on the outside, this pancake is made with rice and egg batter mixed with a variety of seafood and green onions. Common seafood items include shellfish, oysters, shrimp, and squid.
The savoury Korean pancake dish is usually accompanied with Korean Rice Wine – Makgeolli. It may taste sweet but it is as strong as any alcohol. So, drink up with caution.
6. Kimbap/Gimbap (Korean-style Sushi)
Gimbap or Kimbap is a popular grab-and-go Korean street food which resemble a lot like Japanese sushi rolls. Too pretty to eat, this Korean food recipe is made with sushi rice, meat, spinach, and stir-fried vegetables wrapped in a seaweed roll. The roll is then cut to small bite-sized discs and served with kimchi as side dish. You ought to try this next time you are in Seoul.
7. Sundubu jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)
Soft Tofu Stew is a party of unusual flavours in a bowl. A popular Korean Stew is made with Tofu, vegetables, meat, seafood, and chilli paste with a raw egg thrown over the top. The stew is served in a large stone bowl alongside rice and kimchi.
Having different variations in different regions, this hot stew is a delightful combination of unexpected flavours yielding delightful sensations.
8. Tteokbokki (Spicy red rice cake)
Tteokbokki is a famous Korean street food in Seoul which is made with sweet and chewy rice cakes and fish cakes. The steamed rice cakes are stirred up with fish cakes and scallions in a special sauce made if chilli paste and soybean paste. The flavorsome street food is a must-try for those who like hot and spicy flavours.
9. Seolleongtang (ox bone soup)
Just like we Indians have ‘Kharode ka Soup’ in winters, Seolleongtang is a similar version and a popular Korean food name in the households. The winter soup is made from ox bones and beef bones boiled over for hours. The white-colored soups is reach in proteins. The frugal noodle soup is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and scallions. There is nothing like a bowl of this flavorful soup on winter days.
How can this list of Korean food be complete without a dessert? Made with ice shavings and sweet toppings, Patbingsu is the most popular dessert in Korea. It is a bowl of a huge mountain of ice shavings and condensed milk decorated with chopped fruits and read beans (bingsu).
Koreans have a tradition of eating a dessert together from a large bowl. So, if you get a huge Patbingsu bowl at a restaurant, don’t be intimidated. However, you wouldn’t want to share this tasty dessert with anyone.
Korean Food is a must-try for all those who are always on a lookout for new food adventures. Its cuisine is strong with flavours and a delightful experience for your taste buds. While many won’t relish it, some will love it with all their heart and soul. As mentioned before, Korean food is an acquired taste.