Korean Traditional Foods You Can’t Afford To Miss!
Looking for the best Korean traditional foods to try this year?
Korean traditional foods is definitely one of the most delicious treat you can ever have, especially if you are someone who are actively looking for a fresh and authentic taste that will bring you to the heavenly realm.
That’s why in this article we will share to you the best Korean traditional foods to serve your tongues.
If you are a Korean drama lovers, then you must’ve already see these foods in the dramas.
Let’s take a look at these Korean traditional foods!
Table of Contents
Korean Traditional Foods
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 taste.
Here are some list of Korean traditional foods you can try as you visit South Korea.
1. Kimbap 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 – tuna, mayonnaise, sesame leaves, kimchi, cheese, beef and others.
For more recipe details, you can visit Manggchi – one of my favourite Korean cooking youtube channel
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 iconic Korean side dish is probably the most well known Korean 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
Kimchi jjigae is a stew based on kimchi.
It 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.
The egg is cracked and cook inside the bowl.
5. Chuncheon Dakgalbi 춘천 닭갈비
Chuncheon dakgalbi is one of the most favourite Korean traditional foods especially for student.
It’s very cheap and taste good.
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 – it is a thick, juicy meat, one of the most well known Korean traditional foods.
It usually wrapped with lettuce, perilla leaves, kimchi, slice onion and whatever you prefer.
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 add 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, known 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 serve as a cheap and healthy food people consume daily.
Try Jeonju Bibimbap if you want the best taste of this dishes.
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.
This food 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, which means the basic ingredients of this food is noodles and broth.
Most of the time, it serve together with shellfish, ground beef, vegetables, mushrooms, sliced pumpkin, and seafood or chicken.
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.
There are more than 20 thousands fried chicken restaurant in Korea, which prove that this food has a wide range of customers..
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.
There are two hoe option in almost all seafood restaurant – 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.
It usually contains pig or cow intestine mix 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.
It comes in a bowl full of various dumplings, mix with rice cakes, vegetables, ground meat or egg.
Some restaurant give you some option to choose your own fillings – Kimchi, shrimp, meat, or 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.
You can make it by boiling pork belly in a broth mixed with garlic, ginger, and other herbs.
In Korea, boiled pork is known as suyuk (수육).
However, the word ‘Bossam‘ here refer to how you eat this dishes, which is wrapped in a lettuce with some dippings like 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.
The word Japchae means ‘noodles mixed with various vegetables’.
This dishes is one of the most popular Korean traditional foods among foreigner as well.
20. Bulgogi 불고기
Bulgogi, which means Fire Meat, is one of the most famous and also the oldest Korean traditional foods.
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 another famous Korean traditional foods, especially among foreigners who live in Korea.
This dishes is a soup made of pork backbone, boiled with potatoes, vegetables, perilla seeds, and others.
In case you didn’t know, this soup is a good hangover cure – so the restaurant selling this dishes 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.
People usually eat this dishes after drink a lot of alcohol – it will help cure the headaches after being drunk.
This hangover soup is made by boiling ox bones for hours – resulting in a rich, nutritious savory thick broth.
However, even if you aren’t drunk, you can eat this food often, because this soup is very healthy.
That’s why Korean of all ages eat this soup to help improve their overall 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
The word Ojingeo means squid, and Bokkeum refers to the dishes that are stir-fried.
Basically, Ojingeo Bokkeum is a Korean style spicy stir-fried squid dish.
You can make this Korean traditional food by stir fry a squid and vegetables, and put 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.
This dishes was found during Korean war, where there’s shortage of food.
During that time, American army provide local Korean with their food and local Korean create, ‘Budae’, which means military unit.
26. Godeungo Jorim 고등어조림
Godeungo Jorim is braised mackerel with radish.
It’s a very simple Korean side dishes you can make at home – 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.
Korean foods are one of the most delicious treat you will ever taste in the whole world, that’s why you can’t miss these Korean traditional foods.
Alright, These are all the best Korean traditional foods I can share with you.
Have you ever try one of these Korean dishes?
Make sure you try all of them, or at least some of them.
Which one of these Korean traditional foods you love the most?
Let us know in the comment sections below!
Check out another article:
- Top 15 Korean Street Food To Beat The Cold During Korea Winter Season
- 25 Most Delicious Korean Street Food In Korea are at the local seller down the street.
- Top 12 Korean Traditional Snacks You must try!
- Top 14 Korean Ramyeon absolutely worth to try at least once a lifetime
- Korean Hangover Soup – 9 Delicious Soups To Beat Hangover!