10 Korean Foods You Need to Try

Sometimes the best way to understand a foreign culture is by stuffing your face with its food. Korean cuisine has earned a special place in my heart and I know I'm going to crave it for the rest of my life. If you're planning on visiting South Korea in the future, make sure to try these 10 delicious and popular dishes!

Jjimdak 


My mouth starts to water just thinking about jjimdak. This steamed dish consists of chicken, various vegetables and cellophane noodles marinated in ganjang, a flavourful soy sauce. It’s served in a massive dish and is perfect for sharing with friends and family. Delicious and hearty, jjimdak is something I crave on a regular basis here in Korea and is hands down, my all-time favourite Korean dish.

Chimaek 


Chimaek is the ultimate combination of fried chicken and beer. Koreans love their fried chicken and they know how to do it well. Pair it with a local brew like Cass or Hite and you have a meal unlike any other.

Haejangguk (aka hangover stew) 


This stuff will really make your hangover disappear! Haejangguk is a spicy red stew made with beef broth, cabbage, bean sprouts and congealed ox blood. The beef in the stew is so tender that it falls right off the bone and the spicy soup is sure to wake you up after a rough night out.

Gimbab 


Resembling sushi, gimbab is a staple in Korean fast food. Wrapped in seaweed and filled with sautéed veggies, pickled radish, rice, ham and more, gimbab is a dish that always satisfies your taste buds. It makes the perfect snack on the go or as a side dish during meals. The best part? It costs about $1.50. I definitely ate a lot of gimbab while saving for my travels.

Soju


I’ll tell you right now that I have a love/hate relationship with these green bottles of potent booze. I love how you can walk into any grocery or convenient store and buy soju for a $1. I love the great and wild nights soju brings. However, I HATE the brutal soju-induced hangovers the next morning where you tell yourself you’re never going to drink again.

Soju is around 20% alcohol content and tastes like watered down vodka. Most people add a shot of soju in their beers and drink it together. Others just drink it straight. Either way, the alcohol will sneak up on you quickly so be prepared!

Galbi & Samgyeopsal


If you’re a carnivore, you can’t get better than Korean BBQ! Samgyeopsal are thick slices of fatty pork belly meat while galbi consists of beef short ribs marinated in sauces similar to soy sauce.

The best part of eating galbi and samgyeopsal is the Korean BBQ environment. You sit at a table with a grill in the centre. The server brings over your supreme raw meat and you get the opportunity to cook it yourself. I love taking in the flavourful scents of smoke and grilled meat while watching my food sizzle right in front of me.


When the beef and pork are cooked, toss it on a lettuce leaf, add any side dishes and sauce you want and pop it into your mouth. The flavours fuse together perfectly and I guarantee you’ll experience an unforgettable foodgasm.

Doenjang Jjigae


After you’re done eating galbi and samgyeopsal, don’t forget to order a hearty bowl of doenjang jjigae!  Consisting of doenjang (Korean soybean paste), tofu, mushrooms, green peppers, scallions and anchovies, doenjang jjigae is a spicy stew with a unique taste that keeps you coming back for more.

Chogeh Gooee 


Imagine, massive and plump clams, mussels and scallops filled to the brim with garlic, green onions and chillies. Put them on a grill and watch them bubble and cook in front of you. This is an exquisite reality in many coastal cities in South Korea.  


Living in Pohang, a city on the eastern coast, I’ve definitely fallen in love with chogeh gooee. The shellfish are always freshly caught and the bustling seafood restaurants by the beach make it the perfect place to enjoy chogeh gooee.

Dakgalbi 


In a heated pan, succulent chunks of spicy marinated chicken are stir-fried with tteok (rice cake), cabbage, carrots and other vegetables. I love watching the servers toss it all together with such precision and care.  

After you’re done eating, order a bowl of rice and mix it in the leftover food and sauce for a savoury fried rice.

Bingsu 


The best way to cool off during the hot summers in Korea is by grabbing some friends and enjoying bingsu together. Bingsu is a shaved ice dessert topped with fresh fruit, condensed milk, red bean paste and ice cream. It’s served in a heaping bowl with spoons to share.

Melissa Li

I’m a Canadian girl on a quest to step foot in every continent before I’m 30. You’ll most likely find me chowing down on Japanese ramen, partying at a music festival, hiking to the top of a scenic lookout, cuddling with cats, or chilling out at the beach. I’ve visited over 60 countries so far and hope to inspire you to do the same.

3 comments:

  1. Great post! I want to try all of these when I travel to Korea at the end of the month.

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  2. Thanks! :) You are going to fall in love with Korean food when you go! Enjoy it all :)

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  3. The food in those photos looks amazing, I am literally getting hungry right now.

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