Korea Top 10 Best Dishes
Korean cuisine has evolved through a complex interaction of the natural environment and different cultural trends which largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes (Banchan) that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Local Korean consumes vegetables more than meat on a daily basis, these habit has become the secret of longevity in their lifestyle. Below are the top 10 dishes which strongly represents the Korean Cuisines Culture.
1.) Spicy Fermented Cabbage – Kimchi
Kimchi consists of Korean cabbage, onion, scallion, garlic seasoned with chilli powder and seafood paste which is left to ferment. These 2000 years history traditional food is eaten on its own or with white rice, added into soup or stir-fry with rice cake. Kimchi is also the basis for many derivative dishes such as kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae), kimchi pancake (kimchi jeon), and kimchi fried rice.
2.) Ginseng Chicken Soup – Samgyetang
Samyetang consists of a small spring chicken stuffed with garlic, dried red dates, ginseng, glutinous rice, and ginger. Locals believe that the body’s energy must be replenished during summer, so it is a common practice for them to consume a piping hot bowl of Ginseng Chicken Soup between the months of June and early September. The ingredients are simmered under low heat until the meat is very tender and the thick broth permeates a slightly bitter yet fragrant taste.
3.) Grill Pork Belly – Samgyeopsal
Samgyeopsal is another staple Korean dish for the modern Korean, where chunky slices of pork belly are cooked on a grill at the diners’ table. It is then wrapped in lettuce or sesame leaf with dipping sauces and other ingredients such as mushrooms, sliced green chilli peppers, shredded scallion salad, sliced raw onions and garlic, as well as aged kimchi. Samgyeopsal is usually paired with a shot (or two) of soju liquor.
4.) Hot Pot Mixed Rice – Bibimbap
Bibimbap a filling and nutritious dish that’s widely available in any places of Korea. Depending on region and ingredients used, bibimbap can be served as a meat-based or vegetarian dish. The most common bibimbap consists of warm rice topped with mixed vegetables, beef or chicken, and raw egg, as well as soy sauce and a scoop of chilli pepper paste for seasoning. There is a variation of this Korean mixed rice dish called hoedeopbap, which replaces meat with raw seafood such as salmon, tuna, or octopus.
5.) Noodle with Black Bean Sauce – Jjangmyeon
Jajangmyeon uses thick handmade wheat noodles topped with raw cucumber slices and a mixture of salty black soybean paste, diced pork and vegetables. In Korea, it is also usually eaten by singles on Black Day, which takes places each year on April 14th. Those who do not receive gifts during Valentine’s Day wear black attire and gather to consume black-coloured food such as jajangmyeon.
6.) Grill Beef Slices – Bulgogi
Bulgogi consists of thin slices of marinated beef sirloin that are cooked alongside sliced onions, green peppers, and garlic using a charcoal burner, resulting in a distinctive smoky flavour. Prior to grilling, the meat is marinated for hours in a mixture of sauce to enhance its flavour and tenderness. This dish is also served with a side of leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, which is used to wrap a slice of cooked meat, often times along with ssamjang (spicy paste) and kimchi.
7.) Sweet Crispy Chicken – Dakgangjeong
Dakgangjeong is coated with a sweet and spicy sauce before double frying it in vegetable oil. As a result, the meat is very juicy on the inside while the lightly battered skin is crunchier and less greasy. It is a popular late-night snack that’s typically served with beer.
8.) Soybean Paste Soup – Doenjang Jjigae
Doenjang Jjigae usually contains meat, tofu and vegetables in a broth seasoned with soybean paste. Usually, jjigae always served as a palate cleanser between heavier dishes and have the same consistency with western stew.
9.) Spicy Rice Cake – Tteokbokki
Tteokbokki is a traditional Korean street food is made with thick slices of garaetteok (rice cake) which is stir-fried in sweet red chilli sauce. Sometimes people will add extra ingredient such as fish cake and kimchi just to increase the snacks flavour.
10.) Cold Noodles – Naengmyeon
Naengmyeon is served in a stainless steel bowl with a cold beef broth, cucumbers pickles, boiled egg, and slices of daikon pickles (sometimes with thin beef slices). The long and thin noodles are made from flour and buckwheat or sweet potatoes. Symbolising longevity of life and good health, the noodles are traditionally served without cutting, but we can usually cut according to our own preferences using the kitchen scissors.