Traditional Korean food consists of a variety of soups, broths, rice and noodles as main meals and a range of side dishes as accompaniments. From spicy kimchi to sweet red bean paste, much of the ingredients used in Korean cooking have numerous health benefits whilst maintaining a delicious balance of flavour and texture.
Click on the pictures below and experience it for yourself!
Kimchi: Spiced cabbage stored and left to ferment is what makes this quintessential Korean dish. Don’t be put off by the description; you need to try this dish to believe me when I say it’s tasty. The crunch of tart cabbage leaves marinated in a spicy sauce is a great accompaniment to any Korean dish.
Kimbap: This is often described as Korean-style sushi and can be bought in most convenience stores in the form of a triangle, though it is traditionally cylindrical in shape. The crisp salty seaweed wraps moist rice in which is enveloped any range of fillings, such as tuna and crispy pickled vegetables.
Myeongdong has plenty of food carts, and one that I was attracted to each time was the pancake (Pajeon) seller. Common fillings include sugar and sesame and pumpkin seeds, though savoury fillings such as cheese are also made.
Bingsu is the heart of Korean dessert culture. A mini mountain of shaved ice is piled high in a traditional black clay bowl and is topped with a range of delights; mango, cheesecake, chocolate, red bean paste, berries…I could go on! It’s also sometimes served with a small cup of condensed milk to drizzle over the top…delicious!
Fresh junks of juicy red meat are grilled over burning hot coals- in the warmth and convenience of sitting in a restaurant. Simple but delicious food which is a great conversation starter whether eating with one person or a group of people.
Nearly all convenience stores sell a Korean brand of milkshake that tastes unique, and even has honeydew melon flavour. This is a great cool drink to gulp down after a tiring day exploring sites.
Manjoo-These are small custard filled fish-shaped bread bites. The smell of freshly baked manjoo wafts out of almost every tube station, and at only 2000 Won (around £1.10) for 11 pieces, a bag makes for a great sharing treat.
Red bean is used in desserts across much of Asia, but in Korea the paste is most commonly used as a filling for pancakes and an accompaniment to Bingsu. The paste is not overpoweringly sweet which is great for those looking for a low-sugar treat, and the bean is considered good for general health.
Korean juk is not like the oat-based porridge we are familiar with, primarily because it is made of blended rice. Porridge houses are the best place to try this dish because of the range offered; red bean, sweet pumpkin, abalone, and mushroom are but a few of the flavours on offer. The huge servings of steaming hot porridge are best enjoyed with another person.
This spicy stew is rich in the flavourful combinations of soy, oyster sauce, brown sugar and ground ginger. Potatoes, carrots, glass noodles and plentiful pieces of braised chicken are a joy to swirl around in the sauce and slurp up with a pair of chopsticks.