The Best Dishes To Try When Touring Korea

What Are The Best Dishes To Try When Touring Korea?

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When you’re visiting South Korea, you’ll definitely want to immerse yourself in Korean food. Korean cuisine features many tasty Korean foods and Korean dishes, such as kimchi stew, rice cakes, and ginseng chicken soup. Let’s have a look at some of its iconic dishes to start with, and then move on to more popular dishes and lesser-known Korean food that locals enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your money with you.

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Kimchi Stew, known as kimchi jjigae, features a combination of umami, spicy, and tangy flavours. The heat in this dish comes from Korean chilli pepper flakes (known as gochugaru) and red pepper paste (gochujang). On top of this, the lactic acid bacteria found in fermented kimchi provide an additional, pleasant sour flavour. Kimchi jjigae is usually paired with hot, sticky rice. To eat kimchi stew, take a spoonful of broth and a piece of kimchi to pour over the rice. Then balance both on your spoon and take a huge bit of it!

Another tasty treat you should check out is rice cakes. Korean rice cakes are made up of a combination of tapioca starch and rice flour. The tapioca starch is specifically added to make the rice cakes chewier. All rice cakes taste like pounded rice and are quite similar to each other, whether they are made from white or brown rice. However, their shape dramatically changes their texture.

Korean ginseng chicken soup (samgyetang) is said to have quite a few health benefits, including a boost to the immune system and helping to lower blood sugar levels. Gingseng chicken soup has a quite subtle bitter taste, perfectly balancing the goji berries and candied dates included. The chicken is quite tender, while the broth is rich with flavour. The sticky rice stuffing that is added to the chicken can be quite tempting. This soup is best served with kimchi, two kinds of dipping sauce, with a pinch of salt for additional seasonings.

Popular dishes, such as Korean Fried Chicken, in Korean Cuisine

Korean fried chicken (yangnyeom) is a popular choice and is quite different to its American counterpart. American fried chicken is brined and then drenched in a buttermilk and flour mixture, whereas Korean fried chicken is crispier and lighter, featuring a quite thin and nearly paper-like skin with little batter. The ingredients used for the Korean fried chicken sauce varies widely, as you can use nearly anything starting from gochujang and ketchup to strawberry jam and hot sauce.

sundubu-jjigae, Spicy Soft Tofu Stew | Spicy stew containing… | Flickr

You can also try soft tofu stew (soondubu jjigae) which is, as the name suggests, known for its very soft tofu. Soft tofu stew is generally served with steamed rice. To eat this dish, scoop up a spoonful of soup to add to some rice in your bowl and then eat them both together. Doing the opposite, grabbing a bit of rice, and putting it in your soup, is also accepted. Tofu is made from soybeans that have been dried and then soaked in water, crushed, and boiled. Then, the mixture is separated into a solid pulp and soy milk. Some salt coagulants like magnesium sulphates and chlorides and calcium are additionally added to the soy milk to help separate the curds.

Why not also try a Korean seafood pancake? These crispy and savoury pancakes consist of white onion, spring onion, garlic chives, and a range of different seafood including clams, octopus, shrimp, and squid. Other Korean pancakes (Pajeon) are made from savoury pancake batter and are mixed with fresh vegetables and shredded potatoes, and pan-fried to a perfect state. You can also make kimchi pancakes which are most often served with soy sauce and rice vinegar.

You can find some popular and cheaper South Korean food if you utilise your Korean street food options. Korean street food has been quite a large part of South Korean culture and has become quite popular over many years. You can even expect to find some non-Korean dishes at street food outlets, such as Japanese sushi rolls. Some of the most popular Korean street food dishes include chewy rice cakes, Korean sausage, seafood vegetable pancakes, and many more.

Lesser-known Korean food in South Korea

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While there are plenty of popular Korean dishes that you’ll be itching to try out, make sure not to overlook the lesser-known dishes. Many locals enjoy these traditional dishes and if you try them, you’ll soon see why. Japchae, translating to mixed vegetables, is a Korean glass noodle stir fry. When it was first created, it did not have noodles included but now, some do choose to include noodles. Good japchae has a balanced savoury and sweet taste, including vegetables with a crunchy texture and noodles with a bouncy texture. These noodles taste slightly sweet and are described to have quite a satisfying chewy texture and are primarily made from water and sweet potato starch.

If you want more chicken-based dishes, try out Korean chicken skewers (dakkochi). These skewers are usually coated with a stick and thick sauce. The sauces can be sweet and salty or sweet and spicy and are entirely up to the cook to decide what taste they are going for. These skewers can be a great option to serve at a BBQ party and can also be conveniently cooked in a skillet.

You can find quite a few traditional Korean food dishes, popular, and other South Korean foods in nearly any Korean restaurant. Some potential and delicious food include cold noodles, grilled pork belly, haemul pajeon, sea kimchi fried rice, stir-fried glass noodles, and cold buckwheat noodles. and many more dishes! Traditional Korean food such at Korean restaurants can be a good starting point if you’re new to the cuisine and can give you a sense of how a traditional Korean dish is meant to taste. In South Korea, you’ll be able to find plenty of different restaurants featuring authentic Korean cuisine.

Korean BBQ

Korean barbecue (Korean BBQ) is quite a popular choice among many, and contrary to belief is not too spicy. If you want spicy food, try Buldak (a heavily spiced BBQ chicken), Galbi Jjim (braised short-ribs), Onnuriye donkatsu (a pork cutlet), and Tteokbokki (spicy rice cake). You can also spice up some food by using spicy sauce, chili paste, sweet red chili sauce, sweet and spicy sauce and chili powder, or add some extra touches with green onions. However, Korean food is quite hearty and delicious on its own so you won’t need it unless you’re a major spice lover!

Korean Pork Belly dish

The difference between Korean BBQ and American BBQ is the technique used for cooking the meat. They use much of the same meat, including chicken, pork, and beef, however, it is marinated in soy sauce and other sauces. American BBQ instead uses a dry rub or bastes meat in the sauce during the cooking process. Pork is quite a staple food in Korean cuisine, and you’ll see pork belly meat in quite a few dishes. Pork belly generally pairs best with Korean lettuce leaves, Korean-picked white radish, and fresh cucumber sticks. It pairs well with green onions salad too.

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful, and will enjoy trying such delectable Korean dishes!