South Korea’s cuisine is not only spicy, but distinctly tasty. Not for nothing the trend around this still largely unknown cuisine is growing. But what are the most famous Korean dishes and foods that YOU should know and try? Check out my personal top 16 of the best Korean dishes and meals!… Many of these dishes I have also already cooked hundreds of times, because I am an absolute fan of Korean cuisine and want to show you with full passion this fantastic cuisine!
Kimchi is one of the healthiest foods in the world. The spicy pickled vegetable is Korea’s most famous dish and is served with every meal in Korea. Kimchi is used raw , boiled, fried and as an ingredient in many other dishes.
Here I have many more recipes with the delicious fermented vegetable as well as a detailed post about this superfood.
Tteokbokki is a very popular street food consisting of rice cake pieces, vegetables and fish cake. The spicy and very tasty dish is a classic especially with beer. Rice cake is made of rice and has a soft dough-like consistency – Definitely try it. In addition to the well-known spicy and red Tteokbokki snack, there are other variants with black bean sauce, with soy sauce or even with the Korean curry flavor.
3. Kimchi Jjigae
The famous and standard version of Kimchi Jjigae is prepared from cabbage kimchi, tofu, vegetables and optional meat. It is especially healthy and is a warming energy booster; especially on cold winter days. It is as easy to prepare as cooking rice! By adding special ingredients such as meat, tuna or seafood, the taste changes and creates completely new flavors.
4. Doenjang Jjigae
The traditional spicy soybean soup Doenjang-Jjigae tastes strong and spicy – depending on the soybean paste (Doenjang). By adding tofu, mushrooms, meat and vegetables, this soup becomes an absolute hit! You can choose between different soybean pastes, mixed with other ingredients if needed.
The real “fried noodles”! – The Korean noodle dish Japchae is prepared from glass noodles based on sweet potato, various vegetables and a spicy sauce. Japchae is a very popular buffet dish because it is super easy to make and can be eaten hot or cold.
The Korean Fire Meat. Spicy pickled meat is roasted over an open fire and should not be missing from any Korean BBQ! The very thinly sliced meat will surely make your mouth water. Bulgogi is an over the top dish usually made with beef, but variations with pork, duck and chicken work just as well.
7. Suyuk – Bossam
Cooking instead of frying! Bossam is a meal consisting of boiled pork belly (=Suyuk), side dishes and various wrapping ingredients such as lettuce leaves, roasted seaweed or other specialties. The main ingredient of Bossam is the meat, which is cooked in a broth made of water, soybean paste and vegetables. During this process, the piece of meat soaks up the tasty broth and becomes especially juicy and tender. Served in slices, as shown in the picture, on a lettuce leaf with rice, kimchi and other garnishes, Bossam becomes an absolute flavor high-flyer!
8. Jjajang Myeon
Don’t worry – these black noodles in bean sauce are one of the absolute top dishes in Korea! The noodles are stirred with the typical black bean paste (Chunjang) and refined with vegetables. Different instant noodle variants are ideal for trying out for the first time!
9. Bibim Guksu
Cold noodles are part of everyday life in Korea and convince with the variety of fiery and mild flavors. Bibim Guksu can be prepared in countless variations, because by adding different toppings and the type of sauce are taste-decisive. I love cold noodle dishes because they are the perfect summer dish.
Bibimbap is a bowl filled with rice and many different vegetable strips. The bibimbap is finished with an individual sauce. Use hot, salty, sweet, meaty or tofu-based sauces and find your absolute bibimbap favorite. Then place a fried egg on top and finish the dish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and seaweed flakes.
11. Budae Jjigae
Hearty and full of meat flavor; This is what characterizes Budae Jjigae. Here, the American influence shows very strongly, because this dish was created at the time of the Korean War, when the Americans brought many canned foods to Korea. Therefore, the main ingredients of this stew are Korean ingredients such as kimchi, tofu and chili in addition to these American ingredients such as canned meat, bacon, cheddar cheese, baked beans, bock sausages.
Samgyeopsal is simply thinly sliced pork belly. In Korea, this piece of pork enjoys particularly high status. It is preferred to Korean BBQ roasted and eaten with fascinating sauces, side dishes, vegetables and rice. You can’t miss pork belly at Korean BBQ! In addition, there are other great recipes with samgyeopsal in the fried, boiled and steamed state.
13. Sundubu Jjigae
Sundubu Jjigae is a Korean soup made with the very soft and namesake Sundubu aka silken tofu! Tofu is a staple in many Asian country cuisines and therefore there are countless tasty and much better tofu recipes than in Europe. This soup, along with doenjang/ and kimchi jjigae, is a very popular vegetarian and vegan soup.
14. Mul Naengmyeon
Mul Naengmyeon is a cold noodle (soup) dish that is preferably eaten in the warm summer days. The special noodles are made of buckwheat and sweet potato starch, which makes them very tough. This kind of noodles are nevertheless essential for Naengmyeon dishes and cannot be replaced by normal buckwheat noodles. You can refine the dish by adding different toppings as shown in the photo. I always recommend boiled eggs, cucumber sticks, yeolmu – kimchi and the necessary soup broth (ice cold). Mul Naengmyeon is topped off with a mustard and vinegar based hot sauce that gives the dish that extra kick.
15. Dak Gang Jeong
Dakgangjeong is one of Korea’s world famous Korean Fried Chicken varieties! In addition, this fried chicken from Korea is one of my favorite foods. It is usually double fried, making it extra crispy. It is topped off with a sweet and spicy sauce that goes perfectly with the crispy chicken. Dakgangjeong and other deep-fried chicken are popularly served with beer in the evening. This is also the reason for the well-known expression Chi-Maek (Chi= Chicken and Maek(ju) = Beer).
16. Kimchi Bokkeum Bap
Kimchi Bokkeum Bap or Kimchi Fried Rice is one of the most popular and well-known Korean dishes in the world. It is super easy to cook and simply tastes good. Add some roasted seaweed and a fried egg to enhance this dish. So, if you have any kimchi left at home, prepare this quick meal right away. Kimchi, in this case cabbage kimchi, is suitable for very many dishes.