#1 Sam Gye Tang
This dish is my personal favorite since it’s both delicious and good for the body. This soup compromises of a whole young chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and korean ginseng. Samgyetang is traditionally served in the summer for its supposed nutrients, which replaces those lost through excessive sweating and physical exertion during the hot summers in Korea. But if you have it in winter, it’ll warm up your body.
Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings.Kimchi was originally developed as a way to preserve the vitamins and minerals in vegetables over the long winter since the cold winters of Northern Korea and the mountainous areas meant that brining and pickling foods was the best way to achieve this. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with a main vegetable ingredient such as napa cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber.It is the most common banchan, or side dish, in Korean cuisine. Kimchi is also a main ingredient for many popular Korean dishes such as kimchi stew, kimchi soup, and kimchi fried rice.
Meals are normally served with Kimchi side dishes so no need to go specially looking for it. But the taste can be foreign for some – a bit chilly and sour.
#3 Korean BBQ
Gogigui (Korean BBQ) are often prepared at the diner’s table on gas or charcoal grills that are built into the center of the table itself. Some Korean restaurants that do not have built-in grills provide portable stoves for diners to use at their tables. I like korean restaurants that have built in ones and require you to sit on the floor. However, check underneath your table before you stretch out your legs, there are usually gas pipes underneath. I still have a massive bruise to prove it.
The most representative form of gogigui is bulgogi usually made from thinly sliced beef sirloin or tenderloin. Another popular form of it is galbi made from marinated beef short ribs. However, gogigui also includes many other kinds of marinated and non-marinated meat dishes, and can be divided into several categories. Here you can kill 2 birds with one stone. Side dishes are usually provided free of charge so you can also give Kimchi a taste.
#4 Cold Noodles
Two most popular Korean cold noodles are Bibim guksu and Bibim naengmyeon.
Naengmyeon is served in a large stainless bowl with a tangy iced broth, julienned cucumbers, slices of Korean pear, and either a boiled egg or slices of cold boiled beef or both. Spicy Mustard sauce (or Mustard oil) and vinegar are often added before consumption. The long noodles would be eaten without cutting, as they symbolized longevity of life and good health, but modernly, servers at restaurants usually ask if the noodles should be cut prior to eating and use food scissors to cut the noodles. Tip: unless you want to spend an hour biting through chewy and unbreakable noodles, I suggest you get them cut. I had to inhale mine after i realized i couldn’t bite through them and spitting out a mouthful of slimy noodles would probably get me shooed out of the restaurant.
#5 Korean rice cakes (Ddukppoki)
My favorite Korean street food! I generally dislike Korean street food since they’re usually quite oily or a cheap imitation of Chinese (Mandu) or Japanese food (Kimbob). (Sorry personal opinion) But I simply heart this chewy and full-of-flavor dish. Depending on the vendor, some are chilly while others are not. And if it’s chilly then OMG its CHILLY. Travellers beware, Ddukppoki is quite filling so don’t have it if you plan to have a proper meal afterwards. Usually cost only between W2,500 and W3,000. Brave souls can also try the Sundae if you locate a food cart. No, it’s not a form of ice cream. It’s Korean blood sausage. Served in pig intestines, it is filled with rice, noodles, and meat….
Due to the absence of alcohol tax, korean alcohol in Seoul is cheaper than water. And it tastes good! Soju, Makgeolli and Yakju are my personal favourites. Also, who can resist the superb marketing campaigns for Cass Beer? 2pm, T-ara, Yoon Eun Hye, Lee Min Ho, Dara from 2Ne1 and Jessica Gomez have all starred in a Cass commercial. If you order beer and your attendant looks confused, just say Cass and there you have your beer. But my favorite alcoholic beverage will always be red wine. wink wink Oh my god, do i sound like an alcoholic now?
The word literally means “mixed meal” or “mixed rice”. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.It can be served either cold or hot. In Korea, Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are especially famous for their versions of bibimbap. Vegetarian version taste equally amazing.
Koreans have this thing for organs. Especially intestines. After eyeing a place that was flooded with customers each night, we decided to venture inside. I asked the owner which dishes weren’t spicy and she pointed to only one. Since there were three of us, we ordered three portions of the same thing. WRONG MOVE. We ended getting a pile of what looked like meat, so i munched away. How to tell organs from meat, it has a weird aftertaste … and you feel like puking after two mouthfuls. But then it’s too late. Wash it down with alcohol. Cass please.
But what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger right? It turned out to be cow’s intestines. Everything else on the menu had some form of organs inside.
Of course there are plenty of other things that are a must try if you are in Seoul. Such as Japchae, Yangnyeom Tongdak, Hoeddeok, Dakjuk, Seolleongtang or Soondubu Jiggae. However, these listed foods are my personal favorites (minus the organs) and are signature Korean dishes. If you enjoyed this article, let us know! Hong Kong’s food is also to die for!