5 Amazing Must-Try Korean Foods

Updated on December 22, 2018
poppyr profile image

Poppy is passionate about dining out and will always try new types of foods on her travels. She currently lives in Tokyo.

South Korea is arguably overtaking Japan as the cultural capital of Asia. With its hundreds of musical bands and idols (known as K-Pop), unique fashion and cosmetics, and delicious food, it is becoming a more and more popular place to live and visit.

Korean cuisine is very different from other Asian countries, and it is especially loved by those who like spicy food. Here are five amazing foods from South Korea that you should try.

1. Bulgogi

Bulgogi literally means "fire meat" and consists of strips of grilled beef or pork cooked with garlic, soy sauce, sesame sauce, sugar, and sometimes Korean pear sauce. This delectable meat dish is a must-try for steak lovers and with its unique flavor, you'll find it difficult to forget.

Bulgogi is often served with rice, vegetables, or in a pot. The higher the quality of the steak or brisket, the more tender it is. Any meat lover has to try bulgogi when they're in South Korea.

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2. Tteok-bokki

This is one of my favorite foods of all time. Tteok-bokki (pronounced "dobokee") is a stir-fried rice cake with sweet and spicy sauce. Traditionally, it is served with scallions, fish cakes, and boiled eggs, though more recent versions include chicken and cheese.

Tteok-bokki is usually a side-dish, and a gorgeous one at that for those who adore spicy food! Be sure to keep an eye out for this when you're out and about in South Korea. It can also be bought in some restaurants in Japan.

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3. Bibimbap

This rice dish is ideal for a large dinner meal. Rice, meat, vegetables, and other ingredients are added to a pot and stirred thoroughly before eating. Due to the number of different flavors in this dish, it's very versatile and incredibly satisfying!

Because of the amount of rice in bibimbap as well as the rest of the ingredients, it's very filling. You can sometimes share it between a few people if you'd like to order other dishes too.

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4. Kimchi

There is no way you won't come across kimchi on your travels! It is one of South Korea's most beloved side dishes. It's simple, it's healthy, and it's bursting with flavor.

Kimchi is salted and fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, though other ingredients such as radishes may also be added. Though "fermented" sounds gross, you won't regret trying this flavorful dish, which is actually a staple in its homeland. Kimchi is quite spicy, so keep that in mind when you try it!

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5. Soondubu-Jjigae

This hearty tofu soup is ideal for winter time. Soondubu jjigae can have a variety of ingredients such as mushrooms, meat, and seafood. Cheese is also a more modern addition that goes beautifully with the spicy flavor.

This stew is healthy as well as tasty and is a good choice as both a main and a small side dish.

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Korean food is heaven for those who love meat, vegetables, and spice! Though there are many more delicious dishes in this wonderful country, these top five are must-tries when you visit South Korea. Yeohaeng jeulgiseyo (enjoy your trip)!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Poppy

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      • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR

        Poppy 

        7 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        That’s awesome, Liza! You have a good taste in food. I’d love to be able to make Korean dishes at home.

      • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR

        Poppy 

        7 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        Yeah it’s a really good Chinatown! We’re lucky we can get so much great food in our own countries alone.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        8 months ago from UK

        I was last in Chinatown, Newcastle around 8 years ago. We enjoyed a good Chinese meal there.

      • lizmalay profile image

        Liza 

        8 months ago from Herriman,UT

        I like Korean food. My favorite is sweet and spicy fried chicken. I made a few times because my husband loves it too. I also have tried kimchi. A nice Korean lady has made it for me. Since I love rice, I would like to try bibimbap sometimes soon!

      • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR

        Poppy 

        8 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        I first tried it in Chinatown in Newcastle, England, but you’re right, there aren’t that many Korean places compared to Chinese or Indian. Maybe its popularity will grow in the coming years.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        8 months ago from UK

        Korean food looks very interesting and tasty. I am looking forward to it becoming more widely available in Europe.

      • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR

        Poppy 

        8 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        Thank you for your lovely comment! I’m glad I could bring back some nice memories.

      • Readmikenow profile image

        Readmikenow 

        8 months ago

        I agree with you. I dated a Korean girl way back when I was single. I got to taste everything you listed. Kimchi is a bit spicy as are some of the other dishes. There is also a kimchi Jjigae that is also very good. Enjoyed reading this article, it did make me want to make plans to visit the local Korean restaurant. I do enjoy Korean food.

      • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR

        Poppy 

        8 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        I'm not sure how he felt about his wife, but he sure felt strongly about kimchi! I hope you get to try bulgogi at some point, it's gorgeous.

      • Rochelle Frank profile image

        Rochelle Frank 

        8 months ago from California Gold Country

        So I guess his wife wasn't so hot. I like spicy foods and sauerkraut too, but kimchee is a bit beyond my tolerance.

        The Bulgogi looks and sounds delicious.

      • poppyr profile imageAUTHOR

        Poppy 

        8 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        Thank you for commenting, Wesman! Kimchi is much loved by Korean people. On QI I saw that a Korean politician left the country for work and he missed kimchi more than he missed his wife.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        8 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Bulgogi sounds right up my alley. I'd definitely try all of them though. I'm nearly always willing to try new foods. I've got a friend who is big into kimchi. She's talked so much about it that I've looked for it in stores here, but have yet to find any. I may get some from amazon sometime. I'm told it is mega hot.

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