Top 5 Korean Foods You Should Know
- Published on Oct 30, 2015
- Food is an integral part of Korean culture and the Korean have a unique approach towards food. Korean food permeates in every aspect of their life and it is more than something to just fulfil the appetite.
There are movies and dramas based on Korean food and cuisine, and there is someone eating in at least one of the scenes. For the Koreans, food imparts taste, medicine and a connection with the country.
In this article, we will look at 5 best Korean dishes which have been loved by people in the West as much as the Koreans themselves. If you find or know any other best Korean food you love, you can add them to this list.
1. Kimchi 김치
Kimchi made from cabbage is the national dish of Korea. To prepare the dish, cabbage leaves are coated individually in a spicy sauce. This sauce is made of chives, garlics, hot pepper flakes, onion, pear juice and some other ingredients. It can be fermented for two or three days or can be eaten fresh as well. After fermentation, it will last for months and develop a rich and slightly sour taste. Kimchi is used as a base in other Korean food like Kimchi stew or filing in the Korean sushi known as kimbap. This not pretty looking dish can be eaten during breakfast, lunch or dinner because it tastes really good.
2. Tteokbokkie 떡볶이
Tteokbokkie is the rice cake and falls in the category of street foods. You will get the delicious smell of tteokbokkie on the streets at night, where vendors sell special recipes of this very popular Korean food, especially in cities like Seoul. Tteokbokkie, pronounced as dok-bok-ee, is available in various styles across Korea. The sauce can be made very spicy or sweet, packed with lots of flavor. The rice cakes are long and cylindrical which turn soft and chewy on cooking and help in cutting the spiciness of the sauce. People from the west may find the rice cakes unusual, but once they taste it, they will love it.
3. Bibimbap 비빔밥
Of the 5 Korean foods listed in this article, if you had to try out only one recipe, it should be the . It is also known as bibimba/bibimbop or dolsot bibimbap. This dish, which means "mixed rice", consists of steamed white rice in a bowl, topped with vegetables, beef, tofu or chicken, an egg and Kochujang which is a Korean chili pepper paste. The meat is optional in the dish, and the remaining ingredients can be prepared in advance and added later on the hot rice. Before serving, the meat and egg cooked sunny-side up are added on the top. The Kochujang can be added as per your taste so that it doesn’t get too hot. All the ingredients are then mixed or "bibim" with the spoon. This dish involves explosion of tastes and you will fall in love with the first bite.
4 . Soft Tofu Stew 순두부 찌개
or soondubu jiggae is a Korean stew which has a consistency thicker than that of soup, but it is thinner than porridge. Traditionally, this stew is cooked in an earthenware pot and is completely cooked in one dish. The dish has a base of fish stock, while beef is added to deepen the flavor. After these, hot pepper flakes and silken tofu is added. Eggs can be added but they are optional. The amount of hot pepper flakes added will determine how hot the dish is. This dish can be the best one to introduce tofu to someone, since it picks up all the flavors of the stew and gives a new texture to it. When eaten with rice or other side dish, it becomes a complete meal.
5. Japchae 잡채
The japchae is one of the most popular Korean foods in and outside of Korea. This dish was invented by the King’s chef, which the King loved and hence became famous across Korea. It was originally prepared without noodles, however, they have been added recently to the dish and now are an integral part of the dish. The noodles used in the dish are made from sweet potato starch, which gives the noodles a chewy texture. To retain the flavor, the vegetables are cooked lightly. Korean pop music star Eun Hyuk’s favorite Korean dish is the japchae.