13 Mouthwatering Korean Foods You Need To Try

13 Mouthwatering Korean Foods You Need To Try

Korean food is a gift from God Himself.

13 Mouthwatering Korean Foods You Need To Try
Secret Garden Restaurant

Korean food is starting to get more and more recognition for being the delicious gift to the culinary world. Even in my small town, Korean restaurants and chains are popping up, and it's glorious. The food is often healthy and colorful, and many dishes are naturally gluten free (the only stumbling block to this is soy sauce, if you happen to be on a very strict gluten free diet).

Whether you are new to this cuisine or you're simply searching for new dishes to try, I've compiled a list of mouthwatering Korean foods (including some desserts at the end), that are great for first-timers and seasoned eaters alike.

1. Bulgogi

Bulgogi is thinly-sliced marinated beef. Some restaurants let you grill it at the table. It's usually eaten wrapped in lettuce along with rice and sauce, and is a safe bet for beginners. It's tender and has a lot of familiar flavors -- soy sauce, garlic and green onion are some ingredients of the marinade that are readily recognizable to anyone.

2. Bulgogi Hot Pot

This is a stew made using the bulgogi. It's rich and flavorful, containing the meat, glass noodles (which are naturally gluten free) and an assortment of vegetables. The vegetables might differ depending on where you get it, but usually it'll have carrots, mushrooms, green onions and sometimes bell peppers. It's rich, savory and all-around delicious.

3. Grilled Mackerel

Okay, so I realize that this isn't the prettiest meal you'll ever eat, but you can't cheat. For the full experience, you need to eat the whole fish. Sometimes (especially if you eat it in America) the head will be removed for you, but the tail and skin will remain. It's semi-cheating in my book, but I'll let it slide. The fish meat falls off the bones; it's tender, moist and wonderfully salty.

4. Chicken Ginseng Soup

This is a very traditional and incredibly flavorful dish. Come hungry if you want to eat this, though, because each soup comes with an entire cornish hen. The chicken is stuffed with ginseng, rice, garlic and jujube. Even though it's a hot dish, it's traditionally eaten in the summer because of the idea that the temperature inside your body needs to be raised to meet the temperature outside. It's also incredibly healthy, as ginseng has a multitude of health benefits.

5. Korean Fried Chicken

American fried chicken will never be the same; take everything you know about fried chicken and throw it out the window. This stuff is flavorful (with a variety of flavors), crunchy and moist. It's even messier than the fried chicken we're used to, and it's naturally gluten free--instead of being coated in flour, it's coated in corn starch. It's also readily available in America, depending on where you live--Bonchon is an American-based restaurant that specializes in Korean fried chicken. Chicken and beer is such a popular combination in South Korea that there's an official slang word for it. You won't regret this decision, except for the fact that it might make you poor.

6. Jjajangmyeon

Jjajangmyeon is a (wheat-based) noodle dish with black bean sauce, cubed pork and usually zucchini and carrots. Once again, vegetables change based on the cook's choice, but those are the most commonly used veggies. There's brown sugar in the sauce too, so it's not bitter or bland; I don't even like beans and I love this dish. It's also the signature dish of a holiday in Korea, Black Day, during which single people who didn't get gifts on Valentine's Day or White Day drown their sorrows in jjajangmyeon.

7. Galbi

Galbi is marinated beef short ribs, eaten right off the bone. The meat is incredibly tender and falls right off. It's definitely a more expensive dish, but man is it good.

8. Japchae

Japchae has a lot of elements to it--glass noodles, beef, bell peppers, onions, green onions, mushrooms, carrots, sesame seeds and seaweed or spinach (you'll usually see spinach in the U.S.). The sauce is a combination of soy sauce and sesame seed oil. This dish is incredibly colorful, very flavorful and really healthy.

9. Soybean Paste Stew

This will probably be the biggest stretch for those of you new to Korean food. The word "fermented" is often an automatic turn-off to Americans, and fermented soybean paste is a major ingredient in this soup. In addition to the paste, the soup contains garlic, Korean radish, red and green chili peppers, green onions and tofu. Sometimes it'll have seafood, too, but this depends upon where you go. It has a bit of a kick and the fermented soybean paste is a very distinct taste, but it's very good--it goes well with the next dish on this list, samgyupsal.

10. Samgyupsal

Think thick-cut, uncured bacon grilled to perfection and you have samgyupsal down pat. It's delicious and juicy; like bulgogi, it's often wrapped in lettuce, rice and comes with a special dipping sauce, but I love it so much that I often forgo the awkward ritual of shoving all of that in my mouth in favor of popping the meat straight in. Just as beer and fried chicken go hand-in-hand in Korea, soju and samgyupsal are considered a winning combination. Best of all, it's cheap (in Korea, at least, not so much in America). For American restaurants, if there's a thick-cut option you want to go for it. The thicker it is the juicier it is, and the juicier it is the better it tastes.

11. Ppopgi

Ppopgi is a Korean dessert with a long history. I've heard that it dates back as far as the Joseon Era (1392 - 1910), but I can't find an article written in English that corroborates this. It's made only of sugar and baking soda, so it's very easy to make at home, but it does require a lot of attention and patience. Not only is it deliciously sweet and crunchy, but you're allowed to play with it--the goal is to pop out the little shape without breaking it. If you succeed, you'll be rewarded with a free one. Unfortunately, you'll likely only be able to find it on the streets of Korea, sold as a street food.

12. Hoddeok

This is another street food in Korea, but it's easy to make at home if you really want to. It's a yeast-based, homemade dough stuffed with cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts. The stuffed, round pancakes are then fried on one side, flipped and flattened and then fried again. The result is a gooey center of sugary goodness. I make this both at home and at college all the time, and I've never introduced it to anyone who didn't like it. These are very versatile treats and can also be stuffed with cheese, japchae and a multitude of other foods.

13. Bingsu

This is another traditional dessert. It's available in America depending on where you live. Big cities such as LA and New York are more likely to have it, but small towns are plum out of luck. If you ever go to South Korea, though, it's literally everywhere. Bingsu is a shaved ice dessert that comes in many different flavors and is meant to be shared between two to four people (they're massive). The ice is usually sweet, almost like they've used sweetened milk of some sort, and is very soft and fine. The softer the ice, the higher quality bingsu you have; you don't want the ice to be the consistency of a snow cone. Toppings vary from fruit and mochi to chocolate and even pop rocks. The one pictured above is a mango bingsu I ate in Seoul; the ice was frozen mango juice, mangos covered it and vanilla ice cream lurked in the bottom of the dish. You haven't lived until you've eaten this stuff.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Things You Need To Know About Our NEW Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams

Could THIS be the most dramatic season in "Bachelorette" history?

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Macronutrients, Because A Diet Should Be More Than Calories

Pay attention to what you're eating, not just how much you're eating.

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Just Because You're Asked To Be In A Wedding, Doesn't Always Mean You Should Say Yes

If you can't invest time, money, and YOURSELF, maybe say no to the offer for the bride's sake!

Being in a wedding is a really big commitment. I personally think if you've never been in one before, you don't understand the time, money, and energy that goes into being a part of it.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.


Keep Reading... Show less

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less

As any poor college student, a little kick of caffeine for less than a dollar has always sounded great to me. So, naturally, AriZona Iced Tea has been a go-to for as long as I can remember.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Dear Closeted Latina,

You were never alone.

Remember how the Latin world got rocked when Ricky Martin came out?

Keep Reading... Show less

If you're anything like me, you're probably anxious about going back to college. The uncertainty of nearly everything is stressful and makes it difficult to prepare for going back to campus. Take it one step at a time and remain calm! If nothing else, take a look at this list of six essentials for living on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic! You got this!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments