25 Korean Dishes You Should Eat in South Korea

Over the last two weeks in Might of 2019, I visited South Korea for the very first time. I spent the primary week touring with different journey bloggers and the Korea Tourism Group, who gave us our first style of the Korean dishes you need to eat. Throughout the second week, my buddy Sam and I did some extra in-depth explorations of Seoul, Busan, and Daegu.

Alongside the way in which, we tried dozens of exceptional Korean dishes. I went from having very restricted information of what Korean meals was, to having Korean delicacies skyrocket up my listing of favourite meals cultures on this planet. From the tantalizing flavors of Korean barbecue to the standard dishes eaten by Buddhist monks to the expansive world of Korean avenue meals, this nation is a foodie paradise.

I want I may embody each Korean dish I liked on this listing, however I made a decision to slim it right down to those that actually teased my palate and enchanted my style buds. Those that made my mouth water simply by smelling them. These are the 25 Korean dishes you need to eat!



One of the vital widespread avenue meals in South Korea is tteok-bokki. They’re dense, chewy, cylindrical rice muffins which might be bathed in a spicy, wealthy pink chili sauce referred to as gochujang. I first tried this superb deal with at Ameyoko Market in Tokyo, however the South Korean model blew me away. You will get it virtually anyplace, together with avenue meals markets, eating places, buffets, and even baseball stadium concessions. However the perfect place to strive it’s Tongin Market in Seoul.

The tteok-bokki there was all the things I wanted it to be: chewy, spicy, and oily. These rice muffins weren’t swimming in gochujang sauce like a lot of the different varieties I’d tried across the nation. Even so, they nonetheless made my mouth water the second I laid eyes on them. They’re probably the greatest Korean dishes you need to eat and are a real deal with on your style buds!

Korean Fried Rooster

I’ll be sincere. People wish to suppose they make the perfect fried rooster on this planet. However after visiting South Korea, our fast-food rooster chains don’t come even near what the Koreans are doing. The rooster there’s freshly made. You possibly can really style that it has by no means been frozen and is as pure as you will get. And the perfect half is, you’d be hard-pressed to search out dangerous fried rooster within the nation. Each selection I had was out of this world!

One in all my absolute favorites is the dakgangjeong you will discover at Tongin Market. Dakgangjeong is mainly a a lot tastier model of popcorn rooster. It’s coated in a thick candy and bitter glaze and is a number of the freshest-tasting rooster I’ve ever had. It’s an unbelievable meals expertise and is without doubt one of the high Korean dishes you need to eat, interval.

One other spot it’s a must to hit up for superb Korean fried rooster is Oven Rooster and Beer in Seoul. There, you need to strive their common fried rooster. It has that exceptional, contemporary style I discussed earlier. It’s crispy on the skin and juicy on the within, precisely the way in which fried rooster needs to be!

In addition they make a model that’s slathered in a candy and spicy sauce that delivered to thoughts Chinese language candy and bitter rooster, besides with a pleasant tanginess. Their soy sauce rooster, which is coated at nighttime brown sauce, can be sensational!

Kimchi Mandu

I really like an excellent dumpling. I additionally love kimchi, the spicy, fermented cabbage dish that’s the nationwide dish of South Korea. So, naturally, once I came upon there’s a dish that mixes the 2, I knew I used to be in for a divine gastronomical expertise. For this dish, the kimchi mandu, it is best to head over to Namdaemu Market.

This delicious, reddish mandu (the Korean phrase for dumpling) was full of spicy kimchi, delicate glass noodles, and tender pork. I used to be in heaven after only one chew. The bitter, spicy kimchi with the fatty pork and fragile noodles was a deal with for my palate like no different. I’m salivating simply occupied with it!

Simply don’t dive in instantly, as a result of these pockets of Korean goodness are served piping sizzling and may simply scald your tongue. Give them a second to chill down after which go to city on them. You (and the within of your mouth) will thank me later! You will get 5 mandu for $4,000 gained, or $3.30 USD, which makes this Korean dish you need to eat, a complete steal!


I’ve talked about on my weblog that I don’t actually have a lot of a candy tooth. Sweets are good, however I’ll virtually at all times select one thing spicy or savory over something sugary. Besides honey. If you would like me to eat your candy, make sure that it has honey and I’m throughout it. That’s precisely what occurred when I discovered the honey-and-cream stuffed pastry referred to as hotteok at Tongin Market.

It’s served to you straight out of the oil, so it’s tremendous greasy and wishes a couple of minutes to chill down. Give it a couple of minutes to chill down and take a nibble of the crispy, golden-brown exterior. When you’re positive the within is not molten lava, take a much bigger chew. Mine had a lot filling that it burst, sending sizzling honey and cream oozing out the opposite aspect. It’s messy and decadent and is well one of many high Korean dishes you need to eat in Seoul!

Gimbap at Namdaemun Market

In case you’re an occasional watcher of my journey/meals vlogs on YouTube, you most likely know that I like to take pleasure in fatty, creamy, decadent cultural dishes once I journey. However you could not know that I additionally love the flavors and crunch of contemporary greens. Enter gimbap.

Gimbap is the Korean phrase for hand rolls, which include rice and plenty of contemporary greens wrapped in crispy seaweed. Some varieties may even include an animal protein like pork or fish. Like practically all the Korean dishes you need to eat, they’re contemporary and intensely tasty.

Within the indoor, underground part of Namdaemun Market, you’ll discover a gimbap that accommodates seaweed, rice, carrot, cucumber, and radish. It has sesame seeds on the skin, which add a pleasant nuttiness that goes properly with the contemporary, crisp greens and barely briny seaweed.

This gimbap is served with soy sauce blended with a very popular wasabi that offers you a fast burst of warmth that dissipates rapidly. Better of all, it solely prices 2,000 gained, or $1.65 USD, which makes it a tasty, filling, and cheap snack!

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Simply hours after I landed in Seoul after a roughly day-long journey from Miami, my good buddy Sam took me to a restaurant promoting grilled Korean pork stomach. I’m an enormous pork stomach fan and have eaten forms of it everywhere in the world. This sort blew my socks off! It’s referred to as samgyeopsal and it delivers the crispiness, fattiness, and juiciness that each one good pork stomach is thought for.

Samgyeopsal is a type of Korean barbecue, so it’s grilled proper at your desk. After it has been cooking for some time, your waiter will lower the pork stomach into strips, which you wrap in a bit of lettuce with pink pepper paste and garlic. This tasty pork stomach package deal is supposed to be eaten in a single scrumptious chew and is actually life-changing. After one chew, you’ll perceive why it’s one of many Korean dishes you need to eat!


I’ve already professed my love for kimchi, the scrumptious, spicy fermented cabbage that I can’t get sufficient of. Mix it with one other of my favourite meals, pancakes, and I’m all in! This superb combination could be tasted by making an attempt one other of the highest Korean dishes you need to eat, kimchi-jeon, which I found at Tongin Market.

The spicy, moist kimchi is phenomenal on this dish. The pancake itself is fabricated from a minimal quantity of batter and permits the kimchi to be the star of the dish. The small quantity of batter provides the dish a palatable crunch and takes it to the subsequent stage. I really like the savory pancake dishes you’ll discover across the Far East and this one is well my favourite!

Sundubu Jjigae

One of many highlights of my time in Seoul was the cooking class I took early in my journey. I realized to make two unbelievable dishes, together with a scrumptious, spicy seafood stew referred to as sundubu jjigae. The dish is made up of shrimp, cucumber, onions, leeks, tofu, and squid. And belief me, I’m no cook dinner! So if I could make it, so are you able to!

This stew is nothing wanting unbelievable. It had simply the correct quantity of spice whereas nonetheless being brilliant and contemporary due to the greens. The shrimp and squid added a briny taste and a brand new layer of texture, whereas the silky tofu added a smoothness that absorbed all the wealthy flavors within the pot. It’s considered one of my favourite Korean dishes you need to eat in Seoul, and I’m not simply saying that as a result of I made it!

Potato-Crusted Scorching Canine at Namdaemun Market

Any market that has been round since 1414 needs to be good to ensure that it to face the check of time. After visiting the historic Namdaemun Market, I can attest that a number of the greatest Korean dishes you need to eat could be discovered amongst its 10,000 stalls, together with the potato-crusted sizzling canine on a stick.

This dish is precisely what it appears like. The potato exterior is crunchy and salty like an excellent French fry, and can be fairly spicy, whereas the new canine inside is juicy and moist. Add some new layers of taste with the 4 sauces supplied. There’s a spicy sauce with a tangy kick and a milder, sweeter sauce. It’s handy and is fairly tasty!

Buddhist Monastic Meals

With so many thrilling and flavorful meals obtainable in all places in Seoul, it’s straightforward to miss extra conventional delicacies like Buddhist monastic meals. To strive a big unfold of the kinds of meals served at Buddhist monasteries across the nation, cease by Balwoo Gongyang Restaurant.

There, you’ll study that Korean Buddhist meals is straight to the purpose and is made with easy, contemporary substances. For instance, the appetizer course consisted of a stunning, oatmeal-like rice porridge with peanuts, a bitter kimchi soup, and a juicy lychee.

The subsequent course was gentle on taste advert spices and consisted of bean curd, a kimchi cucumber, mung bean jelly with lotus fruit, and a inexperienced leaf. Two of my favourite dishes within the following course had been a plantain-like fruit with a candy and bitter glaze and a tasty, creamy noodle dish with mushrooms.

Different unbelievable Buddhist monastic dishes at Balwoo Gongyang included a tasty potato and onion pancake and a vegetable pancake. You can also’t go away with out making an attempt the spicy bamboo, the fermented soybean paste soup, and spicy mushrooms.

The dessert course is made up of dried kiwi slices and pink tea. I’ll admit, the tea had no taste, however the dried kiwi was phenomenal. I want I may have had extra of it!

This meal positively accommodates some outright scrumptious dishes, in addition to others that may be an acquired style for some. However if you wish to actually dive into the Korean dishes you need to eat, and get a style of all the things the native delicacies has to supply, it’s a must to strive it!

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After I journey by India, one thing I at all times need to have is sugarcane juice, which is a refreshing beverage you will get proper on the road in most main cities. The closest equal I discovered in South Korea is sikhye, a candy, refreshing, rice-based drink that accommodates has bits of rice grains floating in it!

I visited Seoul in late Might, proper on the cusp of summer time, so the climate was sizzling and muggy practically on daily basis. After sweating like loopy throughout most of my Tongin Market go to, the sikhye cooled me down and hydrated me. It was precisely what I wanted to maintain going and I extremely suggest it!

Inexperienced & White Rice Muffins

Rice muffins are all the craze in japanese Asian nations like South Korea and Japan. I talked concerning the scrumptious, savory tteok-bokki earlier, however you too can get some pleasant candy rice muffins in South Korea as properly. Head over to Namdaemun Market, the place you may be fortunate sufficient to fulfill a pleasant girl promoting two kinds of candy rice muffins. One is inexperienced one and the opposite is white.

Each are spongy and dense, however the inexperienced one contained powdered peanut on the within. I really like peanut taste, so the mixture of candy and nutty had my style buds dancing. I admit I couldn’t actually place the filling within the white rice cake. It was tasty, however I preferred the inexperienced one higher. Attempt them each to see which of those Korean dishes you need to eat tastes higher to you! They value 1,000 gained, or simply $0.84 USD for 4, so strive two of every!

Haemul Pajeon

The opposite meals I made throughout my Korean cooking class is a crispy, savory pancake referred to as haemul pajeon. The pancake’s important substances are seafood and inexperienced onions, and likewise accommodates a batter constituted of flour, water, and salt. You cook dinner it like a traditional pancake after which add the spring onion, squid, and greens because it cooks. Some egg can be added to bind it collectively. As soon as it’s brown and crispy, it’s able to be served.

The savory elements of the haemul pajeon, together with the onions and greens, add lightness and freshness. The seafood provides that briny style from the deep, which works very well within the pancake. Eat it with some soy-vinegar-chili sauce for a lift of taste and warmth. It takes the pancake to an entire new stage and makes it one of many Korean dishes you need to eat, with out query!


I’ll be actual with you. Namdaemun Market isn’t the simplest market to navigate in case you’re on the hunt for avenue meals. The meals stalls are few and much between and it may be irritating once you’re hungry and all you see is retail in all places you look. However preserve going, as a result of finally, it is best to discover the road meals, together with some superb fried rice muffins.

This polenta-like rice cake, referred to as a tteok, was a bit powerful on the skin and had a dense and chewy heart. It’s pretty bland and will use some sauce so as to add extra layers of taste, nevertheless it’s really not dangerous! Actually, it’s a pleasant, moveable, and filling that can value you lower than $1 USD at simply 1,000 gained or $0.84 USD every!


I discussed my deep love of mandu earlier. These steamed dumplings are little pillows of perfection, they usually’re downright magnificent after they’re floating in a Korean soup referred to as manduguk. It’s made by cooking the dumplings in an eggy beef- or anchovy-based broth, which tastes just like miso soup.

I want I knew the identify of the restaurant the place I attempted it, nevertheless it’s positioned down a tiny alley close to Gyeongbokgung Palace. The miso-like taste permeated the noodles and dumplings, which had been bursting with hearty items of juicy pork. I additionally couldn’t get sufficient of the mouthwatering, fragrant herbs contained in the mandu, and the contemporary, crunchy spring onions sprinkled all through the broth.

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Unique Uncooked Seafood at Taejongdae Clam Tents

I’m positive many individuals have seen footage of individuals consuming squirming items of uncooked octopus. The footage alone is sufficient to make some individuals cringe, whereas these with extra adventurous palates can’t wait to strive it. You’ll have your likelihood at Tent #5 on the Taejongdae Clam Tents in Busan. This unique feast will not be for the faint of coronary heart!

The octopus is the centerpiece of a wholly uncooked seafood feast. The unfold consists of acquainted gadgets like clams, oysters, and mussels, in addition to extra unique choices I couldn’t establish. And sure, on the heart of the platter is the octopus, so freshly killed that its tentacles writhe round prefer it’s making an attempt to flee again into the ocean.

The clams and mussels are contemporary, succulent, and scrumptious, particularly with the spicy ketchup-like sauce that’s served on the aspect. They had been my favourite a part of the meal. A number of the unknown gadgets had been fairly tasty, whereas others had been so powerful I virtually broke a tooth making an attempt to chew them. Watch out!

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You generally hear about how still-squirming octopus could be harmful to eat, and after this meal, I perceive why. Even in dying, the octopus’ suction cups nonetheless work. It’s just a little stunning once you understand {that a} tentacle has latched onto your tongue or the within of your cheeks, however it could be an entire different story if it grabbed the within of your esophagus since you didn’t chew it properly sufficient.

Due to that, this isn’t a dish you may eat rapidly. You sort of need to combat with it. And whereas it makes for an attention-grabbing story to inform afterward, the precise strategy of consuming it borders on disagreeable. Nonetheless, in case you’re a foodie touring by the nation, that is simply one of many high Korean dishes you need to eat. It’s method too tempting to go up! Simply preserve chewing!


Throughout your time in Busan, you’d be remiss in case you didn’t have some dakgalbi within the brilliant and vibrant Bujeon-dong space. Dakgalbi is a sensational barbecued rooster dish with cabbage, inexperienced peppers, spring onion, rice muffins, pink peppers, and gochujang sauce.

It’s tender and flavorful and is actually considered one of my favourite rooster dishes of all-time. Nevertheless it doesn’t finish there. After you eat roughly half of it, you may have your waiter come again with an order of fried rice with rooster and cheese.

They’ll combine it with the dakgalbi and stir-fry it up to create a bokkeumbap. The tacky, crispy rice, rooster, and vegetable combination is greasy and all the things I think about Korean meals heaven could be. You possibly can’t afford to overlook it!

Korean Chinese language Meals

Throughout my time in Busan, I took a fast day journey as much as the historic metropolis of Gyeongju, which is residence to Korea’s most fascinating historic and archaeological websites. Whereas in Gyeongju, I extremely suggest making an attempt the native Korean Chinese language meals at Eohyang-Gained Restaurant. Korean Chinese language Meals is a hybrid delicacies that’s derived from Chinese language delicacies however is made with Korean flavors and substances.

One such dish is the jajangmyeong, which is a Korean Chinese language noodle dish that is available in a sauce made with black bean paste. It’s greasy, wealthy, and flavorful and is well one of many heaviest dishes I ate in South Korea. I liked the hearty items of pork blended all through and the pork fats!

One in all my favourite Korean dishes you need to eat at Eohyang-Gained Restaurant is tangsuyuk, a sort of fried, chewy, crispy breaded pork that’s bathed in a thick candy and bitter sauce. Blended in with the pork and sauce are savory carrots and onions, in addition to candy pineapple!

You additionally mustn’t go away with out making an attempt the gun-mandu, that are scrumptious, pork-filled dumplings which might be served in a black sauce. The sauce provides new ranges of taste and is nothing wanting distinctive!

Road Meals at BIFF Sq.

Just like the Korean Chinese language Meals entry, this entry is extra about an general meals expertise than one or two particular Korean dishes you need to eat. However belief me, you’ll perceive why once you go to BIFF Sq., which is thought worldwide as the house of the Busan Worldwide Movie Pageant.

What many might not know is that BIFF Sq. can be residence to a number of avenue meals distributors who supply all kinds of scrumptious and distinctive Korean treats. They embody the ever-present tteok-bokki, which you’ll strive together with a spongy fish cake referred to as odeng. Don’t miss out on the meaty blood sausage referred to as sundae, which is considered one of my favorites.

I discussed dakgangjeong earlier, nevertheless it’s value a second shout-out right here as a result of it really is a number of the freshest and most flavorful fried rooster on this planet. You may also strive some fantastic vegetable mandu, in addition to garibi. Garibi is a smoky, grilled scallop that’s topped with corn, onion, sauce, and torched cheese. It’s each bit as scrumptious because it sounds!

There’s additionally a silkworm larvae referred to as beondegi, which significantly examined my gag reflex, and a large, roasted marshmallows stuffed with ice cream that was pillowy and tremendous candy. I additionally loved the waffle balls with bean curd inside, which was fairly tasty!

Buddhist Monk Meals at Beomeosa Temple

Earlier, I talked about Korean Buddhist monastic meals in a restaurant setting. However if you’d like the true, immersive expertise, it is best to strive it throughout a temple keep. There are at the least 30 temples in South Korea that supply in a single day stays, however the one I stayed at was Beomeosa Temple in Busan. There, you’ll get pleasure from two unbelievable, conventional meals.

Take note of the monks as they clarify mealtimes to you. Be respectful and study the right solution to eat. Don’t take greater than you may eat as a result of it’s a must to end all of it. Nothing goes to waste right here. Dinner consisted of a bowl of white rice and a scrumptious seaweed soup. You eat by holding the bowl as near your face as potential and consuming discreetly, so nobody ought to be capable to see you taking bites. You can also’t discuss throughout your meal. When you’re completed, you may put your bowl down.

A buffet-style breakfast is served the next morning. There, you’ll discover rice, some delightfully spicy kimchi, and a few crunchy and earthy seaweed. Your last “meal” throughout an in a single day keep will include an orange and a few tea throughout the da-seon, or tea ceremony, not lengthy after breakfast. The meals might sound easy, nevertheless it’s fairly scrumptious. No Korean trip is full with out these Korean dishes you need to eat!

Royal Korean Feast

In South Korea, a full-course meal is known as a hangjeongsik. To get pleasure from a royal Korean hangjeonsik, it is best to head over to Bansang Restaurant. The restaurant opens at midday, simply in time for lunch.

One in all my favourite dishes of the hangjeonsik was the fatty and gamy duck within the very first course, which additionally features a salad and a bland bean curd. You’ll comply with that with pork with onions and chilies, teriyaki pumpkin, and a few unbelievable candy potato glass noodles. Take the time to benefit from the marinated beef, which is unreal and has a touch of sweetness.

I additionally liked the fermented soybean and tofu soup with crab, the wild mushrooms, and the spicy kimchi. End your meal with a scrumptious black raspberry wine referred to as Bokbunjajoo, which jogged my memory of rakia. There’s additionally a unbelievable plum wine, so go all out with it! It’s a wonderful meal that’s stuffed with Korean dishes you need to eat and a few tasty drinks I feel you’ll actually get pleasure from!


If you would like a big and cheap unfold of meals in Korea, it is best to go together with a bapsang. A bapsang is a big meal that facilities round meat, greens, soups, and sides. Head over to the 24-hour Sigol Bapsang Busan Restaurant to get pleasure from one at any time of the day or evening.

My unbelievable 14-dish unfold centered round a spicy, stir-fried pork in gochujang sauce referred to as jeyuk-bokkeum, fish with squash, and sundubu jjigae. You eat the jeyuk-bokkeum by wrapping it in lettuce and taking it multi function chew.

Don’t refill on the principle dishes, although, as a result of the perimeters are simply as superb. An surprising spotlight was the salad I had, which had a black sesame dressing drizzled over it. The dressing had an virtually chocolatey taste that confused and delighted my style buds. I additionally liked the savory pajeon, which is a pancake containing spring onion. The greasy glass noodles referred to as japchae had been very nice, as had been the fish muffins. I really like something containing seaweed, so I liked the briny seaweed soup referred to as miyeok-guk. I additionally loved some unbelievable root greens, mushrooms, and kimchi!


Galbi Jjim

South Korea is a land of hundreds of gastronomical choices that vary from conventional to fashionable. One of many extra fashionable creations is galbi jjim, a braised beef quick rib dish that was invented in Daegu within the 1970s. Head over to the Galbi Jjim Road within the Dongin-Dong space to strive it out!

Alongside the road, you’ll discover a exceptional restaurant referred to as Bongsan Jjimgalbi. Their ribs are so tender that the meat falls proper off the bone. It’s additionally extremely juicy and accommodates a spice that additionally has a touch of sweetness to it. It makes your tongue and lips tingle in a method I’d by no means skilled! The galbi jjim there’s the perfect beef ribs I’ve ever eaten, palms down. Whether or not you strive it by itself or wrap it in a lettuce leaf, it’s not laborious to see why it’s among the many Korean dishes you need to eat.


One in all my favourite spots in Daegu to discover was Seomun Market. There have been fairly a number of attention-grabbing dishes there, however I actually need to spotlight the hodu-gwaja, which is a ball-shaped pastry constituted of waffle batter. Inside is a walnut and beneficiant quantity of candy pink bean paste.

Whereas sweets aren’t usually my factor, I can get behind pink bean paste! The paste is easy and goes very well with the nuttiness of the walnut and the crispy, candy waffle batter. You will get 10 hodu-gwaja for simply 3,000 gained, or just a little beneath $2.50 USD, so it’s a pleasant, cheap snack that you would be able to take with you on the go!


Whilst you’re at Seomun Market, see in case you can search out the savory pancake referred to as buchu-jeon. This unbelievable pancake is made with chives, leeks, and chilies. It’s virtually fully fabricated from greens, which is clear in its inexperienced colour, and you’ll see each ingredient in it. There’s simply sufficient batter to carry all of it collectively, so there’s virtually no filler.

Korean meals is at all times at its greatest when there’s a little bit of spice, and the chilies inside it present simply the correct quantity. The chives and leeks had been unbelievable on their very own, however once you mix them with the supplied soy-and-onion sauce, it’s downright heavenly! In case you love greens and pancakes, buchu-jeon is well one of many Korean dishes you need to eat!

Whereas Korean meals is usually considered having only one attribute, warmth, it’s a lot greater than that. The sheer selection within the meats alone blew my thoughts, to not point out all of the contemporary greens which might be utilized in each meal. When you add in conventional dishes and extra fashionable and distinctive creations, you understand that Korean meals is simply as diversified as some other delicacies and that it might simply be even tastier than most. Make a journey to South Korea in the present day to style all of it for your self!

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