When it comes to Korean food, I can never say no. I’ve loved all of the Korean dishes I’ve ever tried.
Korean food isn’t for everyone though. Some of the flavors and ingredients can be hard to digest especially for those who aren’t a huge fan of Asian food. Most people have the idea that Korean food is just kimchee but that’s actually not true at all. There are plenty of other delicious Korean dishes for the non kimchee lovers.
So here is what we ate in South Korea and what we recommend for you to try to. If you’re a bit nervous that you won’t like the food, you should try to eat some Korean dishes in your home country before you go because it was a bit hard for us to find something that wasn’t… kimchee-fied (even their pizza had kimchee).
But who knows! You might be like me and fall in love with it. Maybe you are secretly are a kimchee lover and just haven’t discovered that passion yet 😉
8 Korean Dishes you have to try
This dish is number one on the list because it is actually my all time favorite Korean dish. It’s a spicy soft tofu soup which normally comes in a seafood version with shrimp, clams, oysters and mussels, but if you don’t like seafood there are other versions such as beef, pork, mushroom and vegetarian. I absolutely love the flavor of the broth and if you’re a tofu freak like me, you’ll become obsessed with this soup!
When they serve soondubu, it is always super hot and still bubbling and they crack an egg in it right at your table. I suggest giving it a few minutes to cool before you dig in or else you will end up with a very burnt tongue.
When you’re in Korea, look for a dedicated dubu (tofu) house to try all the different kinds they offer. It’s usually served with a bowl of rice and banchan (little dishes). This is one of the best things to eat during winter since it’ll warm you right up!
Don’t go to the store asking for sushi if you want to eat this. Gimbap, (seaweed rice in Korean) doesn’t use fish as their main ingredient. It is rice wrapped in seaweed, rolled and cut into small bite size pieces. The inside ingredients vary but popular ones are kimchee, cheese, beef, tuna, spinach and vegetables.
These made for a great snack or accompaniment to other dishes.
Dak Galbi is a dish that is new to me. I’d never seen this one at the Korean restaurants I ate before so I was excited to try it out. It’s spicy chicken with vegetables mixed with ramen or rice. Definitely a must try if you’re not a fan of kimchee!
It is pretty spicy but the place we went to gave us some egg on the side to help put out the fire if it got too hot. We chose to get the ramen and mixed together, it was delicious! I’m going to try to look for this when we go back to the States, it was so good!
Sorry vegetarians this one isn’t for you but meat lovers you will be in heaven when you eat Korean BBQ. We were lucky to have a couple Korean BBQ buffets near our place in Seoul and for $9 a person all you can eat, we enjoyed ourselves there a few times.
You cook your own meat at your table and we grabbed endless amount of beef bulgolgi, chicken and lots of the not-so-healthy pork belly. Wrap it in a lettuce leaf, put some onions on it, sauce and there you go! Nom nom nom.
This one’s another soup. Kimchi jjigae comes with kimchi, onions, scallions, pork or seafood. This is the most popular soup in Korea and you can find it in nearly every restaurant.
Kimchee lovers will have to try this soup because this jjigae uses the most pickled, oldest and most fermented kimchee to give it a more intense flavor. Best eaten with a bowl of white rice to balance out the spiciness.
Deopbop means “covered rice” so this dish is rice covered in bulgolgi. Bulgolgi is a thinly sliced beef dish marinated in a sweet soy sauce based sauce and is a popular Korean dish. You can top the dish with some vegetables and pair it with banchan.
Not exactly a Korean dish but still a must try. We didn’t take pictures of all the street food we ate but we also had Korean pancake, some other things on a stick and lots of tempura. Street food in Korea is a really fun experience so try as many things as you can when you’re there!
Patbingsu is a Korean shaved ice treat that has condensed milk, red bean and fruit. Ours had a scoop of ice cream in it!
And one maybe you won’t want to try…
I’m only putting this one on the list for the adventurous eaters. These are silk warm pupae, boiled, seasoned and commonly eaten as a snack. I tried a teeny tiny piece of one and I couldn’t keep it down. Pupae no thank you!
Some other runner ups for yummy Korean dishes you should eat:
- Budae jjigae – hot dog, spam and kimchi soup
More posts about South Korea
Pin this for later!