From meat grilled on the table before you, to boiling hot stews, to chilies and pickles, Korean food is almost the favorite for all people. It is impossible not to fall in love with.
I’m going to start this South Korean food list with not really a dish at all, but something that is critically vital and quintessential to any Korean meal: KIMCHI.
While there are many different kinds of kimchi, the most common version is made with napa cabbage that is preserved and lightly fermented in bright red chili flakes. Love kimchi and you’re on your way to being a Korean food connoisseur!
There were quite a few meals in Seoul where I settled for nothing more than rice and kimchi (and I was very happy).
Cost – comes free nearly every restaurant you eat at, but I bought a huge sack of homemade kimchi to eat with rice for 5,000 Won ($4.39) – it must have been 1.5 kilos!
Fatty slices of pork belly grilled before your nose is a South Korean foodie favorite. A few slabs of this ultra-tasty pork along with garnishes of lettuce leaves, garlic and chili paste, and you’ve got a flavor tocherish.
It’s not the healthiest South Korean food, but if you are a lover of pig, samgyeopsal is something you can’t miss eating when you’re in Korea!
Cost – about 8,000 Won ($7.00) per plate
Another famous Korean specialty barbecued meat is known as Bulgogi. While it’s normally made from beef, bulgogi can also be made with thin strips of pork or chicken.
Before the meat is grilled, it’s marinated in sweet soy sauce with lots of garlic and sesame oil. The version I ate above was from the New Valley restaurant in Seoul that specializes in pork bulgogi known as Dwaeji Bulgogi.
As a meat lover, this daeji bulgogi was a dish I couldn’t get enough of – highly recommended!
Cost – around 8,000 ($7.00) Won per plate
There’s no better way to spend an evening in Korea than sitting around a personal grill munching down a traditional Korean barbecue feast.
Order a few plates of meat, and you’ll be delivered a vast array of side dishes and the all-important pieces of lettuce, garlic, peppers, and chili pastes to fashion little meat wraps.
Note: One of the interesting things I learned eating Korean barbecue in Seoul was that you must order 2 or more plates of the same meat – you can’t order just 1 plate. In other words, if you go to eat with just 2 people, you’ll have to get 2 plates of pork belly, or 2 plates of beef – not 1 plate of pork belly and 1 plate of beef.
Cost – varies greatly depending on meat but in the 8,00o Won ($7.00) per person range
The famous Korean hangover stew is something I was really excited to sample when I arrived in South Korea. It came in a piping hot earthenware dish.
There are a number of different variations of Haejangguk, but the one I ate was made with pork spine bones. The broth was rich and spicy, flavored with tender chunks or fatty pork and Korean chili paste.
Known to cure hangovers, after eating this masterpiece of Korean flavor, I suffered a Korean food hangover and all I wanted to do was collapse on a sofa and take a nap. One of the tastiest things I ate in Seoul!
Cost – 5,000 – 6,000 Won ($4.39 – $5.26))
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