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Korean Food - Top 10 Dishes Every Foodie Must Try

  • By Daniele Cosentino
  • on 05 May 2017
  • Categories : Culture, Destinations, Life Experiences, Tips Advices, Travel

Korean food is one of the most revered cuisines around the world.

Once you think of Korean food the first things that come to mind are Kimchi and Korean BBQ. Yes, those are a big part of the Korean food culture but there is so much more.

Korean food is very well balanced between meats, vegetables, rice, and is considered relatively healthy.

In western countries, Korean restaurants are popping up like crazy because of how popular and delicious Korean food has become.

Now let's discuss the Top 10 dishes (in no particular order) you have to eat while you're in Korea.

1. Kimchi (김치) - Spicy Fermented Cabbage

Kimchi

Yes, we have to put Kimchi on this list because it is such a staple component in Korean food.

Kimchi is a type of salad that mainly consists of fermented cabbage and vegetables in a chili seasoning.

Kimchi is actually a side dish rather than a main dish. This is something that's cool about the Korean food culture.

A lot of the meals mainly consist of many little side dishes, so you have a lot to choose from. Kimchi has a bit of an acquired taste but is a must-have in a Korean refrigerator.

2. Gogigui (고기구이) - Korean BBQ

Korean BBQ

Gogigui, or more commonly known as Korean BBQ, is the next famous food export coming from Korea.

Korean BBQ restaurants are now found not only around Asia, but also in most western countries.

There's something special about having your own personal grill to cook on and you don't need to clean it later.

A traditional Korean BBQ typically comprises of an assortment of different meats and various side dishes (yes, kimchi included).

A popular way to eat Korean BBQ is to eat the meat in a lettuce wrap with bits of the side dishes. It makes for an INCREDIBLE bite! Let me tell you!

3. Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) - Pork Belly BBQ

Samgyeopsal

Samgyeopsal is a favorite amongst the Korean locals. This barbecue involves fatty slices of pork belly that are usually served unseasoned and not marinated.

The meat is cooked on a grill, similar to Gogigui, and is also typically eaten in a lettuce wrap. Common ingredients to stuff your wrap are garlic, chilis, kimchi, and onions.

Two popular sauces to add to your Samgyeopsal are Ssamjang (soy bean chili paste) and Gireumjang (sesame oil dip).

You will fall in love with Samgyeopsal after eating it.

4. Dolsot-Bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥) - Hotpot Mixed Rice

Bibimbap

In Korean language, Dolsot means “stone pot and Bibimbap means mixed rice. Couldn't think of a better name myself.

Typical ingredients in Bibimbap are rice, sauteed vegetables, a fried egg, gochujang (red chili paste) and doenjang (soybean paste).

There are several different variations of Bibimbap but the Dolsot version gives the rice a crispy touch from the very hot stone pot.

To eat Bibimbap, pop the runny egg yolk and admire the lava action over the rice. Then mix all of the ingredients together for a sensational bite!

5. Bulgogi (불고기) - Marinated Beef BBQ

Bulgogi

Korean's sure do love their barbecue. Who can blame them, right?

Bulgogi is a special type of barbecue because it features thin slices of marinated beef. Some restaurants also offer pork, but beef is the traditional meat used in Bulgogi.

The marinade is normally made with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and black pepper. The meat is also sometimes grilled with onions, green peppers and whole cloves of garlic.

In typical Korean BBQ fashion, Bulgogi is served with leafy vegetables for the ultimate beef and lettuce wrap. Bulgogi is a Korean favorite!

6. Haejangguk (해장국) - Hangover Soup

Haejangguk

Haejangguk, or more famously recognized as Hangover Soup, is a traditional Korean soup to cure hangovers.

Does it really cure hangovers? Well, it definitely looks like something to eat after a night of partying.

The broth in Haejangguk is made from ox bones and various ingredients are added such as napa cabbage, white radish, soybean sprouts, green onions and soybean paste.

Some variations will have ox blood, pork spine bones, blood sausage, or intestines. The taste is incredible and I hope it helps cure your hangover.

7. Gimbap (김밥) - Korean Sushi

Gimbamp

Gimbap is Korea's version of sushi. The biggest difference between Gimbap and Japanese sushi is the rice.

Traditional Japanese sushi rice is prepared with vinegar and Gimbap rice is seasoned with sesame oil.

Another big difference is the fillings. Sushi is normally filled with different types of raw fish, while Gimbap composes of cooked or preserved meats.

For example, popular Gimbap fillings are tuna, bulgogi, luncheon meat, kimchi, and fresh vegetables. Gimbap is a great snack to have on the go if you're in a rush.

8. Seolleongtang (설렁탕) - Ox Bone Soup

Seolleongtang

Seolleongtang is an essential Korean food during the winter months. It's a soup made from ox bones or beef bones and is slow cooked for several hours.

The broth has a milky white color and a rich protein taste from the bones.

Seolleongtang soup also contains noodles, green onions, garlic, and some restaurants will add thin slices of beef.

The soup is served with minimal seasoning, so you can customize your Seolleongtang to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, and chili.

9. Japchae (잡채) - Sweet Potato Noodles

Japchae

Made from sweet potatoes, Japchae is a stir-fried noodle dish with mixed vegetables and sometimes slices of beef.

Japchae is usually eaten as a side dish or appetizer, but can also be eaten as a main entree.

Typical types of vegetables eaten in Japchae are carrots, onions, spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers.

Japchae is commonly eaten during Korean holidays and special family occasions and is a comfort food for many locals.

10. Yukgaejang (육개장) - Spicy Beef Stew

Yukgaejang

Yukgaejang is a spicy Korean beef stew that is packed with all kinds of flavor. It is another dish that is great to eat during the cold winter days.

Beef brisket is the ideal meat of choice for this stew because it gives the broth great flavor and is pull-apart tender when finished cooking.

Vegetables that accompany the beef are usually gosari, bean sprouts, mushrooms and green onions. The heat and extra flavor comes from red chili flakes, red chili paste, and fermented soybean paste.

All in all, Yukgaejang is a Korean food dish that you have to try! Grab a bowl of rice and you got yourself a hearty satisfying meal.

Go On A Korean Food Tour

All 10 of these dishes are awesome in their own way and have incredible flavor. By the way, this is just a small sample of Korean food.

As a result, only 10 dishes could make this list!

During your internship in Korea, you can go on a Korean food tour and maybe even uncover some hidden gems!

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