This will not be a traditional food blog like the others I´ve had. Because I have a tiny kitchen, and work long hours (10-7pm M-F) I don´t have time or space to actually try out many of these recipes, it will be more of a documentation than a recipe blog. But, as an avid foodie (Yes, I used the term foodie) and long time food blogger (whether the food blogging is any good is debatable) I have to at least keep record of the new food I try and provide recipes or information for those looking to dive into Korean dining. Below are some of the hundreds of mouth-watering Korean dishes that everyone should try.
This website has some really great recipes for korean food in English if you are interested:
Bibimbap 비빔밥 (mixed rice):This classic Korean dish is probably one of the best known Korean dishes world-wide. An assortment of cooked vegetables (With different colors, each said to represent a different element) are put on top of rice and garnished with a sunny side up or fried egg, and doused with Korean hot sauce. You can order dolsot bibimbap which is served in a piping hot stone bowl with a raw, rather than cooked egg. The hot bowl leaves a delicious crispy rice crust on the bottom of the bowl. Nom.
Galbi: Galbi is delicious. It´s very much a group process. Marinated grilled thin sliced meat, usually beef ribs, but sometimes pork belly/fatty bacon (samgyeopsal 삼겹살) or chicken (dak galbi 닭갈비), is brought to the table and you grill it yourself on a circular grill in the center of the table. You can also grill garlic, rice cakes, and mushrooms. You eat the meat wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaves, with hot sauce, kimchi or any assortment of banchan (sides) you like and rice. It´s scrumptious.
Bulgogi 불고기: Literally translated to ¨fire meat¨ This dish is usually made with thinly sliced, marinated beef served in a boiling hot pot, with yummy broth/marinade made with pear juice, soy, and sugar, and served with rice.
Click here to check out a great recipe!
Samgyetang : Korean chicken soup, made with a whole, young chicken and korean ginseng. It is typically served in the summer, even though it is a hot dish. This is because in Korea, they have a philosophy called yi yul chi yul, meaning fight fire with fire. That is, if you eat hot foods in hot weather, your body naturally cools itself and vice versa.
Shabu Shabu: Originating in Japan, Shabu Shabu found it´s way to Korea where they gave it a little extra kick. A large pot of bowling soup is brought to the center of table, and the group adds vegetables (sprouts, cilantro, carrot, mushrooms) and beef until it´s cooked down into soupy goodness. In Japan, it is just hot water, but in Korea they use a spicy red broth. Diners take turns ladling out yummy goodness into individual bowls. You can also order udon noodles or rice to add to the soup.
Mandu 만두 (Korean dumplings): Filled with all kinds of deliciousness like pork, herbs, sweet potato, seafood and kimchi. They can be boiled, steam, grilled, fried— you name it.
Kimbap 김밥: Korea´s version of sushi. It´s not QUITE as good, but it´s also a lot cheaper and really addicting. It can have a variety of fillings like tuna, spam, mayonnaise, sesame leaves, pickled radish, spinach, carrot, lettuce, cheese, you name it. It´s kid friendly and there are tons of kimbap joints where you can get kimbap to go for about 1.50 or 2 dollars. I´m a big fan of the chamchi kimbap 참치김밥 with tuna.
Chapchae 잡채: A simple, yet delicious dish of sweet potato noodles (they look like glass noodles) stir fried with carrot, pepper, spinach, and mushrooms dressed with sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy same and sugar. Nom.
Ramyeon: Korean ramen. The staple of the Korean diet. Usually the ramen is in a spicy, kimchi flavored broth. Simple, cheap, meal on the go!
Soondubu jjigae 순두부찌개: Delicious tofu stew that comes in many different flavors (kimchi, seafood, etc). The boiling soup is put in front of you in a clay bowl and you drop a raw egg in and swirl. Om nom nom. They even have a ham and cheese flavor.
Jajang Myeon 자장 면: Black bean paste noodles. China meets Korea and the result is tasty.
Mul Naengmyeon/Bibim Naengmyeon: Cold buckwheat noodles in broth. A perfect summer dish. Cool, resfreshing broth served with thin noodles, a hard boiled eggs, cucumber, shaved pear, sesame seeds, and sauce. Bibim naengmyeom (below) has gochujang and less broth.
Tteokbokki 떡볶이: This traditional street food is a big hit with the kiddos. For about 2.50, you can snack on delicious rice cakes bathed in sweet and spicy gochujang sauce (what they put on everything in korea). Usually tteokbokki stands also served deep fried shrimp, mandu and other assorted goodness.
Kimchi Bokumbap 김치 볶음밥: Kimchi fried rice. Simple, tasty and awesome. See this great recipe here.
Cheesy Fried Rice-The best thing in the world. I have no idea what it is called in Korean. Basically, a nice young Korean man brings a big skillet to your table and fills it with butter and little pieces of chicken, green onion, and gochujang. Then, he mixes the rice in, and adds cheesy tteokbokki (cheese filled rice cakes) and then more cheese. And it is the best thing ever.
Pajeon 파전: Korean pancake. Usually filled with seafood, chives, and other veggies and deep fried, then dipped in a sweet and savory sauce.