Top 26 Best Korean Traditional Foods You Want To Try!
Looking to try korean traditional food for your new foodie experience in 2023? Korean traditional foods is definitely one best thing you can try if you are someone who are actively looking for a fresh new authentic taste and korean lovers.
That’s why in this article we will share to you the authentic and best korean traditional foods to serve your tongues in 2023. If you are a korean drama lovers, then you might already saw these food appear in the dramas.
Let’s find out these list of korean traditional foods you need to add to your must try list. Let’s dive right into this!
Table of Contents
Korean Traditional Foods
A typical Korean traditional foods consists of a bowl of rice, soup, stew, and side dishes to accompany the main dish. However, within this basic structure there are a lot of variation and traditional foods you can try for every season and every occasion.
Koreans use a wide range of vegetables, flowers, sea stuff like seaweed and all types of meat and poultry to maintain the healthy requirement while still be able to create an authentic delicious korean taste in every korean traditional foods they serve. Here are some list of korean traditional foods you can try as you visit south korea.
1. Gimbap 김밥
Gimbap (Kimbap) is a combination of sauteed vegetables, ground beef, sweet pickled radish and rice, rolled and wrapped in a sheet of laver seaweed (gim). It’s affordable and also you can find it easily at convenience store.
You can find many Gimbap filling options, from Tuna, Mayonnaise, sesame leaves, kimchi, cheese, beef and others.
2. Kimchi 김치
Kimchi is a fermented Korean side dish since Silla Dynasty eras. This dishes is created by salting and preserving fermented cabbage with a garlic, pepper, ginger and scallion. This side dish is probably the most well known korea traditional foods among the world.
It is safe to say that Kimchi is Korea national side dishes. Korean believed that there’s health benefits for eating Kimchi such as reducing cholesterol and reduce chance of having a stomach cancer.
3. Kimchi Jjigae 김치 찌개
While Kimchi is the national side dish of Korea. Kimchi jjigae is a stew based on kimchi. Kimchi jjigae is a combination of chopped red cabbage kimchi sauteed in oil, cook with tofu, cellophane noodles, pork or tuna and vegetables together with rice. You can try this during winter seasons to help combat the cold weather.
4. Soft Tofu Stew 순두부찌개
Soft Tofu Stew is the combination of unpressed tofu, clams and egg in a spicy broth. The proper soft tofu stew usually comes in a korean traditional earthenware pot, to sustain the heat and the egg is cracked and cook inside the bowl.
5. Chuncheon Dakgalbi 춘천 닭갈비
Chuncheon dakgalbi is one of the most favourite food for student as it’s quiet cheap and tasty. If you love fried meat, then you want to try this one. This food is a combination of marinated chicken, rice cake, vegetables, carrots, chili paste and other spices.
You can visit Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street to feel the OG and authentic taste of Chuncheon Dakgalbi.
6. Samgyeopsal 삼겹살
Samgyeopsal mean three layered pork, a thick, juicy meat, one of the most well known korean traditional foods. Usually wrap with lettice, perilla leaves, kimchi, slice onion and whatever you prefer. One of the best BBQ option in korea.
7. Tteokbokki 떡볶이
Tteokbokki is one of my favourite korean traditional foods, it is a mixture of steam and sliced rice cakes, cooked with fish cakes and scallions in a sweet and spicy sauce made of chili paste. You can added some eggs and cheese as the additional toppings.
8. Samgyetang 삼계탕
Samgyetang, known as ginseng chicken soup, is a thick glutinous soup mix with small chicken, rice, garlic, jujube and ginseng. The cooking process tone down the bitter taste of the ginseng and leave a soft, tender, appealing and aromatic broth.
Koreans usually eat samgyetang during the hottest summer months in Korea, July and August, to supplement the energy that lost due to the hot weather.
9. Naengmyeon 냉면
Naengmyeon means noodles in a chilled broth aka cold noodles. This food is quiet popular all year round especially during summer season.
There are two type of naengmyeon you can try, the first is served with cold broth knwon as Mul Naengmyeon and the second is served with spicy Sauce known as Bibim Naengmyeon.
10. Pajeon 파전
Pajeon is Korean savoury pancakes, known for it’s variety of fillings such as kimchi, beef, pork, shellfish and potato. The most popular pajeon is Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Scallion Pancake).
11. Bibimbap 비빔밥
Bibimbap literally means Mixed RIce, as you can see it is a mixture of healthy vegetables, rice, beef, chili paste and fried egg with sesame oil and chili paste for seasonings.
This food used to be a royal dish in the past, but now it’s cheap and healthy food we can consume in our daily life. The best bibimbap you can try is Jeonju Bibimbap.
12. Maeuntang 매운탕
Maeuntang or spicy fish stew is a hot and spicy fish stew boiled with gochujang, a little ground beef and various vegetables. Maeuntang is one of the most beloved seafood dishes you can find in Korea, especially if you like spicy food.
13. Kalguksu 칼국수
Kalguksu means knife cut noodles, most kalguksu will put additional shellfish, ground beef, vegetables, mushrooms, sliced pumpkin, and seafood or chicken to the basic ingredients of noodles and broth. This dishes if especially perfect to eat during winter season.
14. Yangnyeom Tongdak 양념 통닭
Yangnyeom Tongdak, or Korean Fried Chicken is one of the most popular food in South Korea. More than 20 thousands fried chicken restaurant in Korea proved that this food has almost become a national wide food. The unique taste of sweet and spicy sauce that spread all over the chicken is just make this food irresistible.
15. Hoe 회
Hoe is Korean style raw fish, a quiet popular food in Busan. If you are a seafood lovers, then you might want to try this food. As you go to Korean seafood restaurant for hoe, you will see that they offer two hoe option, one is a farm raised and second is a wild caught fishes.
16. Sundae 순대
Sundae is one of the oldest and well known street food in south korea. Sundae usually contains pig or cow intestine combine with meat, vegetables, and noodles or rice. You can eat it by dipping it to a bowl of seasonings like salt, makjang or samjang to make it taste even better.
17. Manduguk 만두국
Manduguk is Korean dumplings soup, comes in a bowl full of various dumplings you choose, mix with rice cakes, vegetables, ground meat or egg. Some restaurant give you some option to choose your own fillings, from Kimchi, shrimp, meat even vegetables.
18. Bossam 보쌈
Bossam is a boiled pork dishes, usually comes with a big plate of sliced boiled pork, kimchi, dipping sauces, wrapped in a leaf of lettuce or perilla.
Bossam is made by boiling pork belly in a broth mixed with garlic, ginger, and other herbs. While boiled pork is called suyuk (수육) in Korea, the word Bossam here refer to how you eat this dishes, which is wrapped in a lettuce with some dippings such as salted shrimp or ssamjang.
19. Japchae 잡채
Japchae is a sweet potato starch noodles stir fried with vegetables such as carrots, spinach, mushrooms, and meat. Japchae itself means ‘noodles mixed with various vegetables’. This dishes is one of the most popular korea traditional foods among foreigner as well.
20. Bulgogi 불고기
Bulgogi, which means Fire Met is one of the oldest korean traditional foods in Korea. This dishes is made of thin, marinated slices of meat, usually beef, and grilled on a barbecue or on a stove-top griddle to give a wonderful smoky taste.
21. Gamjatang 감자탕
Gamjatang is quiet famous among foreigners in Korea. Gamjatang is actually a soup made of pork backbone, boiled with potatoes, vegetables, perilla seeds, and others. This soup is also good for hangover cute, thus the restaurant selling this usually open 24 hours.
The real attractive force of this dishes lies in the delicious taste of the perilla seed which makes the meat even more tasty.
22. Byeo Haejangguk 뼈 해장국
Byeo Haejangguk is ox bone hangover soup, usually eat after drink alcohol to help cure the headaches caused by it. This hangover soup is made by boiling ox bones for hours, resulting in a rich, nutritious savory thick broth.
This soup is very healthy, you can eat it at anytime you want, especially during winter. Korean of all ages eat this soup to help improving their health.
23. Galbijjim 갈비찜
Galbijjim is a braised beef short ribs. While the word jjim means steamed, this short ribs are not steamed but stewed. This dishes is usually made of a marinated braised short ribs of beef stewed in soy sauce, minced garlic, green onion, sesame oil and ginger.
24. Ojingeo Bokkeum 오징어볶음
Ojingeo Bokkeum is korean style spicy stir-fried squid dish. Ojingeo means squid, and bokkeum refers to the dishes that are stir-fried. This korean dishes is made of squid and vegetables stir fried with a sweet and spicy sauce.
25. Budae Jjigae 부대찌개
Budae Jjigae, known as spicy sausage stew, is made by adding various stuff into a regular korean stew, including ham, sausage, spam, baked beans, kimchi, instant noodles, rice cakes and gochujang.
‘Budae’ itself means military unit. This dish was created after the Korean War, as meat was hard to find due to food shortage, American army provided locals with food aid.
26. Godeungo Jorim 고등어조림
Godeungo Jorim is braised mackerel with radish. This korean dishes served as Korean side dish that commonly seen on the table.
This dishes is a very simple to make, just put sliced radish, put in mackerel fillets, put seasoning mixed with red pepper powder, green onions and garlic on top, then braise for 20 minutes.
Korea Traditional Foods
Here’s the list of korean traditional foods we can share to you. Which one of these korean traditional foods you love the most? Let us know in the comment sections below!
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