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What’s the scoop with Korean food?
Korean people have always maintained the belief that food and medicine have the same origin and therefore food is the best medicine. We take a look at some of Korea’s favorite dishes, so you know what to expect before you try them, whether at home or abroad.
What are the Top 5 Korean food dishes?
Kimchi is Korea’s national dish and has been around since the 7th century. It consists of pickled vegetables – mainly cabbage as well as ingredients like peppers and garlic – that’s often left fermenting for months.
Kimchi is such an important part of mealtime in Korea that it is often eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I lived near Seoul, I was pretty surprised the first time I saw it featured at breakfast time, along with sloppy, uncooked tofu and a meat broth.
Bibimbap means ‘mixed rice’ in Korean. It’s a warm rice dish with seasoned vegetables and chili pepper paste, and usually topped with an egg. You can also add tofu, beef, or chicken, but this is optional as bibimbap tends to be a vegetable dish base. Before eating, it’s thoroughly stirred together.
With a literal translation of ‘fire meat’, you might guess that bulgogi is basically meat that’s grilled or barbecued – and you’d be right. It’s meat (often beef) that’s marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pepper and garlic and then traditionally grilled. You can always find bulgogi in Korean barbecue restaurants.
Gimbap is Korea’s version of sushi, with steamed white rice and other ingredients rolled into sheets of seaweed and then served as bite-size pieces. You’ll find fish, meat, eggs or vegetables in gimbap, just as you would in sushi.
Sweet potato noodles, sesame oil and vegetables are the main ingredients of the stir-fry dish japchae, although sometimes beef is added. Thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, onion and spinach are usually used, along with soy sauce, sugar, sesame seeds and chili slivers.
What else do I need to know about Korean food?
There are so many more Korean foods that you should try, especially when traveling there, but we wanted to give you a taste of what’s on offer. We’re sure your taste buds are tingling at the very thought!