In recent years South Korea has become better known for its technology than its food. However, thanks to delicacies like kimchi, which has become a global sensation, things are beginning to change. Here are 14 South Korean dishes you have to try.
Kimchi (Fermented Vegetable)
One of the oldest and probably the most essential dishes in Korean cuisine, kimchi is a spicy and sour dish made up of fermented vegetables. It is prepared with various kinds of ingredients, but the most common main ingredient is cabbage. Kimchi is popular among foreigners for its unique flavor, as well as its high nutritional value, fiber content and low calorie content. However, for Koreans, it is most popular due to its significant cultural value. Without kimchi, dinner is considered incomplete.
Bibimbap (Mixed Rice)
Bibimbap is essentially a bowl of mixed ingredients including, but not limited to, rice, namul (seasoned and sautéed vegetables), mushrooms, beef, soy sauce, gochujang (chili pepper paste), and a fried egg. The ingredients found in bibimbap vary by region, and the most famous versions of the dish are found in Jeonju, Tongyeong, and Jinju.
Bulgogi ( Marinated Beef Barbecue)
A juicy, savory dish of grilled marinated beef, bulgogi is one of the most popular Korean meat dishes throughout the world, and was ranked as the 23rd most delicious food in the world according to CNN Travel’s reader’s poll in 2011. It is often grilled with garlic and sliced onions to add flavor to the meat. The meat is usually wrapped in lettuce and it is also traditionally eaten with ssamjang (a thick, red spicy paste).
Japchae (Stir Fried Noodles)
Often served as a side dish during lunch or dinner, japchae is a traditional Korean noodle dish made up of stir-fried sweet potato, thinly shredded vegetables, beef, and a hint of soy sauce and sugar. Depending on the chef, additional ingredients like mushrooms are added to the mix. Japchae is known for its sweet and flavorful taste and its soft yet slightly chewy texture.
Hoeddeok (Sweet Syrupy Pancakes)
Known as a sweeter version of the Western pancake, hoeddeok, or sometimes spelled as hotteok, is a popular Korean street food, especially during the winter season. It is essentially flat, circular dough that is filled with a mixture of cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, and small pieces of peanut and cooked on a griddle. The delicacy has crunchy exterior and soft interior as well as an irresistible flavor.
Ddukbokkie (Spicy Rice Cake)
Ddukbokkie, also spelled tteokbokki, is a common spicy Korean food made of cylindrical rice cakes, triangular fish cake, vegetables, and sweet red chili sauce. It is often sold by pojangmacha (street vendors). People enjoy ddeukbokkie for the combination of spicy and sweet flavors.
Seolleongtang (Ox Bone Soup)
A traditional hot Korean soup made from ox bones, ox meat and briskets, seolleongtang is a local dish of Seoul, often seasoned with salt, ground black pepper, chopped green onions, or minced garlic according to the consumer’s taste. The broth is of a milky white, cloudy color and is often eaten with rice. Seolleongtang is known for its soft yet chewy texture and flavorful broth, and can be found in most Korean restaurants in Seoul.
(to be continued)