Top 20 Delicious Korean Food You Should Try

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South Korea is a country with an extremely diverse and unique culinary culture. From Tteokbokki to Naengmyeon, here are our top picks for the most delicious Korean food that you should try.

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Tteokbokki (Rice cakes)

Tteokbokki is a popular Korean spicy dish made from rice cakes, fish cake (Eomuk), vegetables, and sweet chili sauce. We love this dish as it’s a perfect combination of spicy and sweet flavors.

You will easily find vendors selling Tteokbokki with kimbap, sundae, fried dumplings, and delicious fish skewers.

Tteokbokki cheese
Tteokbokki is a perfect combination of spicy and sweet flavors.
Travel tips:  I recommend joining a Seoul Food Tour and sample different dishes while learning local eating and drinking customs.

 

Eomuk (Fish cake skewers)

Eomuk is a great dish to try during the cold weather. You can buy fish cake skewers anywhere, and it’s delicious and cheap street food.

Eomuk is usually served with well-season broth, or sometimes you can eat it along with Tteokbokki.

Eomuk fish cake Korean food

 

Hotteok (Sweet pancake)

Considered a sweeter version of the Western pancakes, Hotteok is popular Korean street food, especially during winter.

Its main ingredient is a thinly rolled powder, filled with a mixture of cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, and peanuts. Hotteok is then grilled, so it has a crispy outside but the inside is extremely soft.

Hotteok Korean pancake

 

Bibimbap (Mixed rice)

Bibimbap is one of the most common Korean dishes. It’s a combination of different ingredients, usually with rice, Namul (stir-fried vegetables), mushrooms, beef, soy sauce, gochujang (Korean chili sauce), and fried eggs.

Bibimbap.

The ingredients of this Korean delicacy can vary by region, and the most famous and familiar mixed rice dishes are often from Jeonju, Tongyeong, and Jinju.

Bibimbap Korean food.

 

Kimbap (Rice rolls)

Kimbap, also known as rice rolls, is a harmonious combination of rice and ingredients such as seaweed, vegetables, meat, eggs.

This dish reminds me of Japanese Sushi – also a rice dish wrapped in seaweed leaves. However, the filling of Kimbap is a bit bigger and has different ingredients.

Also, the thickness of each Kimbap slice is also thinner than Sushi’s one. With the same size seaweed sheet, Sushi can be cut into 6 slices, while Kimbap can be cut into 12 or more slices.

Gimbap Korean food

 

Samgyetang – Ginseng chicken soup

Samgyetang is a traditional Korean soup made from chicken, garlic, rice, green onion, red apple, Korean ginseng, and spices. The chicken is stewed in a stone pot for many hours and often served with ginseng wine.

Thanks to the combination of many nutritious foods, ginseng chicken soup is very healthy.

In the summer, Koreans often make ginseng chicken stew to cool down and purify the body. It’s also good for the brain, reducing stress, fatigue and enhancing immunity.

Samgyetang Korean Ginseng chicken soup

 

Naengmyeon (Cold noodles)

Naengmyeon is a very popular cold noodle dish in Korea, consisting of noodles (usually buckwheat noodles), cucumbers, a few slices of Korean pear, beef, and hard-boiled eggs.

Although the noodles are usually buckwheat noodles, potato noodles, or sweet potatoes, sometimes the chef uses other types of noodles depending on your order.

Naengmyeon is a great choice to cool off the hot heat and humid air in the summer. However, if you visit South Korea in other seasons, you should still give it a try. 

Korean Naengmyeon Cold Noodles

 

Jajangmyeon Noodles

Black soybean noodle (Jajangmyeon) is also one of the very famous noodle dishes in Korea.

The ingredients for this noodle dish include noodles, black soybean sauce (Chunjang sauce), or black soy sauce made from fermented soybeans, pork, and vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, cabbage, and radish. 

To fully enjoy this dish, you should visit the food stalls in the markets in Seoul. Not only you can try a delicious dish, but you also can experience the exciting night-time atmosphere in Seoul.

Jajangmyeon Noodles Korean

 

Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork)

Samgyeopsal is a must-try dish on your trip to South Korea. 

A unique thing about this dish is that the meat has not been seasoned or marinated before. After the meat is grilled, you can dip it in a sauce made of salt and pepper mixed in sesame seed oil and then wrap it in lettuce with slices of garlic and grilled onion, chopped scallions, and kimchi.

Grilled pork.
 

Yangnyeom Chikin (Spicy Korean chicken)

Yangnyeom is another yummy Korean dish that you should try! In Korea, you can easily find fried chicken with different flavors, from not-spicy, mild to extremely spicy.

Yangnyeom is made by deep-frying chicken and coated with a spicy sauce based on a traditional Korean chili sauce – Gochujang. The tenderness of the chicken and the sweet-spicy sauce creates an attractive, unforgettable taste for diners. 

This dish is often served with a few pieces of rice cake or fried potatoes.

Korean fried chicken
The crispy crust, the sweetness of the chicken on the inside, and the shiny Gochujang sauce on the outside offering an eye-catching and delicious dish.

Tips: For a sweeter version, you should try Dakgangjeong – chicken nuggets covered with a rich aromatic honey mustard sauce. 

 

Dakkochi (Chicken skewers)

Another delicious chicken dish that you should try in South Korea is Dakkochi. 

Dakkochi is grilled chicken on a stick. The cook usually coats it with thick, sticky, and addictive sauce. For example, you can choose soy sauce or other variations depending on your preferences.

chicken skewers

 

Bulgogi (Grilled beef)

During the cold days, sitting next to the hot stove and enjoying grilled beef is an amazing experience. 

Bulgogi beef is a Korean dish starring super-thin slices of beef marinated in the most flavor-packed mix of soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic.

When eating Bulgogi, you should wrap it in lettuce and other leaves to have the best experience. 

Bulgogi Korean food.

 

Soondubu Jjigae (Soft tofu stew)

Soondubu Jjigae is a tofu dish stewed with scallops in a spicy broth, offering a soft and flavorful taste.

Usually served in a bowl, Soondubu Jjigae stewed tofu soup is a very popular Korean spicy stew with main ingredients usually tofu (dubu), vegetables, mushrooms, seafood, beef or pork, and chili sauce. Depending on the region and the cook, a number of selected ingredients are added or replaced.

Korean soft tofu stew.

 

Hobakjuk (Pumpkin Porridge)

Hobakjuk is a traditional Korean porridge dish made from steamed pumpkins and sticky rice. Although it is quite simple, the dish offers a unique taste.

Koreans often eat pumpkin porridge in the morning. This dish can be used hot or cold, but often people like to slurp hot pumpkin porridge, especially on cold days.
pumpkin soup
 

Kimchi

Kimchi is one of the oldest dishes in South Korea and is also a cultural feature of this country. The dish is made from fermented and sour pickled vegetables and usually served as a side dish in the main course.

Kimchi

 

Japchae (stir-fried vermicelli with vegetables and fruits)

Japchae is also often served as a side dish in Korean meals, with the main ingredients including vermicelli mixed with stir-fried vegetables, beef, and a soy sauce.

Depending on the cook, in some places, they may also add mushrooms or some other ingredients to this Korean delicacy.

Japchae is one of the must-try dishes in Korea because it has a mild, mouth-catching taste. When eating, you can enjoy a soft and chewy texture of vermicelli with a crispy taste of vegetables.

Japchae Korean food

 

Sundae (Korean blood sausage)

Sundae is mainly stuffed with vermicelli and vegetables, barley, and some other special ingredients. You can find this dish in many places in South Korea, from luxury restaurants to street corner trolleys. 

Korean blood sausage
 

Hweori Gamja (Tornado potato)

If you are a fan of fried foods, you should definitely try Hweori Gamja (Tornado potato).

Each piece of potato is evenly thin, crunchy, and beautifully shaped with a tornado shape that will satisfy your taste buds.

Fried tornado potato
The seller usually adds a thin layer of salt to enhance the rich taste of potatoes.

 

Seolleongtang (Ox bone soup)

Seolleongtang is a very nutritious and tasty Korean dish. 

The broth of Seolleongtang soup is carefully simmered from beef bones. The ingredients of this dish include noodles, beef with a bit of onion, creating a cool yet nutritious flavor.

Seolleongtang Korean ox bone soup

 

Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancakes)

As an upgraded version of Pajeon (Korean pancakes), Haemul Pajeon is a pancake made with green onions, eggs, flour, rice flour combined with seafood such as shrimp, squid, and clam.

Seafood pancakes are often served as the main course and are loved for their softness combined with the toughness and richness of the seafood.

Korean Pancakes Pajeon

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