When you think about Korea, the first thing to pop out in your mind, might be Kimchi. Kimchi is a very important part of Korean cuisine. No meal is complete without Kimchi here in Korea. Kimchi is a fermented dish made from different kinds of vegetables and seasonings. It is often considered as Korea’s national dish. “Health” magazine named Kimchi in its list of top five “World’s Healthiest Foods”. You can find varieties of Kimchi and each having different taste.
(A Korean family making radish Kimchi for the whole neighborhood)
Besides Kimchi, there are many dishes that are loved by Koreans and foreigners alike. The most famous among the foreigners is Bibimbap and Samgyopsaal. Bibimbap is prepared by mixing rice with different vegetables and spices and meat or eggs. It is delicious and obviously healthy. Frankly speaking, I didn’t like Bibimbap at first but now I love it. Even Michael Jackson tried and loved Bibimbap when he visited Korea.
Samgyopsaal is another favorite Korean dish. Actually it is barbecued pork which is eaten with rice and pickles and other side dishes. In Korea, they have a lot of side dishes to complement the main dish. When you go to Samgyopsaal shop, you will have a cooking stove in the table and you have to cook it yourself. It is a fun experience when you go with lot of friends. I go with my friends on weekends and everytime we find something interesting about it.
(Samgyopsaal with side dishes.)
When you want to hang out with your friends and you might have some friends who don’t like pork, then chicken and hof is exactly what you need. Koreans like chicken a lot. There are so many big as well as small restaurants that serve fried chicken and beer. They even have delivery service. You can have your chicken wherever and whenever you want. The chicken is fried and seasoned with different spices. It is one of the delicious thing to eat when you are craving for something good.
Meat and seafood is a part of everyday food in Korea. So, it can be little difficult for vegetarians to find food without meat. However, there are now restaurants that provide vegetarian version of popular Korean dishes. Talking about meat, in Korea, you can find strange meat dishes. I am too much into meat, so I haven’t even tried those strange dishes. One of them is Sundae. It is made from pig’s intestine which is filled with glass-noodles. It is very popular snack here. There are dishes made from livers and heart and guts and even genital parts.
(Sundae with steamed livers and guts)
We had enough of spices and meat, so now I am going to tell you about one unique Korean food. Like in Western countries where they have cake, Korea has its own version of cake. They call it Tteok (sweet rice-cake). It is sweet and spongy actually and comes with different tastes and in different colors. Tteok is a traditional sweet dish and is eaten in important occasions and celebrations. Whenever they start something new in their life, they start with Tteok. Few days ago, I received a lot of Tteok from my university staffs because it was the beginning of 2nd semester. Tteok brings good luck.
(Tteok from my university)
Another unique food is Pepero. Pepero is a cookie stick which is dipped in chocolate syrup. Every Korean knows about Pepero and is so famous that they celebrate “Pepero Day” on November 11 every year. It is the day when youngsters and couples exchange or give Pepero to their each other and loved ones. There are many kinds of Pepero and in November, you can see crowd of people in supermarkets and malls, buying Pepero. I celebrated Pepero Day with my friends last year.
(Famous Lotte’s Pepero)
When you become tried of eating Korean food, you can refresh yourself with international cuisines from all over the world. There are Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Indian restaurants and many more. You can find the restaurants of different countries in Itaewon, the international junction of Korea. There are famous fast food restaurants, ice-cream parlors, bakeries and other famous shops. One can always find something interesting here in Korea.
(Different kinds of food and beverages)
Food can be good or bad; what i like, you might find bad and vice versa. It all depends on one’s taste. But I have met many foreigners who said they like Korean food, so if you visit Korea, don’t hesitate to give it a try. It’s been a year and half since I came to Korea and still I haven’t tried all the dishes because Korea has so much to offer.
“Get closer to Korean culture by trying Korean food because it is deliciously unique.”