Top 10 Delicious Dishes Of South Korea That You Must Try

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dishes of south korea

Almost everyone on the globe with an internet connection knows about some of the mouthwatering dishes of South Korea. Credit can be given to the mukbang trend that started on YouTube in South Korea and gradually spread worldwide. Tourists that have visited the country have described the food there as spicy, flavorful and greatly appetizing. You can even cook some of the dishes at home since the ingredients required for them are mostly available in local stores or online. We have put together a list of the top 10 dishes of South Korea that you must try. 

Kimchi

Image source- Pick Up limes

Kimchi is a spicy side dish that originated almost 2,000 years ago and is the most common food in South Korea. The classic kimchi is prepared by salting cabbage and mixing it with garlic, chilli powder, scallion and ginger and then leaving it to ferment. However, there are almost 200 other kimchi types made using radish, scallion, pumpkin, and ginger in the fermenting process. This dish can also be used as a base for various other dishes such as kimchi fried rice, kimchi stew and kimchi pancakes. 

Tteokbokki

Image source- I am a food blog

This dish is so popular that there is almost an entire part of Seoul dedicated to it. It is sold at nearly every snack bar and street vendor. Tteokbokki is made using boiled rice cakes, also known as garaetteok. These rice cakes are then stir-fried and cooked with onions, garlic, red chilli powder, salt, sugar, vegetables and fishcakes. The dish has a red-orange colour attributed to the use of chilli powder, and most Koreans believe that the more peppery this dish is, the better. 

Bibimbap

Image source- SBS

Bibimbap is a Korean “lunch in a bowl” dish. It is as nutritious as it is delicious, and depending on the region; you can get a vegetarian or meat-based version. The classic bibimbap is prepared by placing warm rice in a bowl and then topping it with mixed vegetables, egg, beef and soy sauce, and some chilli paste and sesame seeds for seasoning. There is another version of the dish for seafood lovers called hoedeopbap, where the meat is replaced with raw seafood like tuna, salmon or octopus. 

Jajangmyeon

Image source- The kitchen community

This dish traces its roots back to the Chinese from where it was taken and modified by the Koreans to create a thicker and, according to some, tastier version. This dish has become so popular and important in South Korea that most natives consume it at least once every week. It is a noodle dish in which the noodles are thick and handmade. The sauce for the dish is made using vegetables, pork, black soybean paste and cucumber. Interestingly, this dish is that singles eat on Black Day, which is on the 14th of April every year. 

Bulgogi

Image source- La times

This dish originated during the Joseon Dynasty over a thousand years ago, and it is mouthwatering. It is traditionally cooked in a charcoal burner, lending the dish a smoky flavour. Bulgogi is prepared by grilling marinated beef sirloin with onion, garlic and peppers. The beef is marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, onions, sugar, black pepper and sesame oil for 2-4 hours. This helps in making the meat more flavorful and tender. 

Jjigae

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Jjigae means Korean stew, and it is one of the most satisfying yet simplest Korean dishes you can cook. The dish has many variations, but it is usually prepared using either meat, vegetables or seafood. The broth contains fermented shrimp, pepper paste, soybean paste and fermented miso. The most popular version of this dish is the army stew which includes the addition of sausages, bacon, ramyeon and rice cakes. 

Samgyeopsal

Image source- Gilded gingerbread

This dish is very simple to prepare and does not require expert cooking skills. Pork belly is grilled and wrapped in either sesame leaf or lettuce, then dipped in a sauce of your choosing. Side dishes such as kimchi, button mushrooms, chilis and peppers are also served along with the dish. This easy to prepare dish is mostly popular among the younger population of Korea that usually gulps it down with alcohol. 

Instant Noodles

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Instant noodles, or what is commonly known as ramen or ramyeon, is the most popular Korean dish in the world. It is easily available and requires only a few instructions printed on the back of the packet to prepare. However, experts change the dish by adding extra ingredients like egg, rice cakes, fish cakes, green onions or cheese to enhance its flavour. 

Korean Fried Chicken

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This dish is a competitor to American fast food – the Kentucky Fried Chicken. Most Koreans eat this snack on late, exhausting nights with a sip of beer or soju. However, Korean fast food has its uniqueness. The fried chicken is coated with a layer of sweetness and is spicy before it is double fried. This makes the meat very juicy and savoury and, at the same time, reduces its greasiness. 

Bibim Nengmyun

Image source- Eating books

Unlike most noodle dishes, bibim naengmyeon is served cold. The dish became popular in the country after the Korean War. The icy cold broth consists of cucumbers, boiled beef, pear slices and boiled egg. The noodles are thin and are made of flour, buckwheat, potatoes, green tea or seaweed. The noodles symbolize good health and longevity, and hence, they are always served long and uncut. However, the customers can ask the waiter to cut it if they want to.