With a fascinating history and fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, South Korea is an incredible country to explore. South Korean cuisine is just one of the many things that distinguishes this country as a classroom, and foodies will have lots to sample on a learning adventure. When embarking on an educational journey of your own, here are five culinary delights that we think you should try!
Kimchi is one of the more widely known Korean foods, with a history that goes back thousands of years. Kimchi is characterized by its spicy taste, which comes from fermenting cabbage in spices. This fermentation process also means that kimchi has probiotics, which can be beneficial for gut-health.
Another well-known Korean dish is bibimbap, which is a combination of rice, vegetables, beef and egg. You can create different variations of bibimbap, but the ingredients are usually prepared separately, which can result in a longer preparation time. Once the ingredients are all ready, they should be mixed thoroughly before eating to enjoy the full medley of their flavors!
Jjajangmyeon takes its influences from Chinese cuisine. This dish is comprised of noodles in black-bean sauce, which includes chunjang (a salty bean paste), diced pork or other meat and vegetables. This dish is especially popular on Korean Black Day, when single people gather to eat these noodles on April 14.
This ginseng chicken soup is absolutely packed with flavor — its ingredients include rice, ginseng, garlic and jujube, all stuffed in a whole chicken served in the soup. This soup is served hot, and it is traditionally eaten during the hottest days of summer as a way to balance body heat with the outside heat. This is illustrated in the saying “Yi yeol chi yeol,” or “Fight fire with fire.”
With a name that literally translates to “fire meat,” bulgogi is tender beef that has been sliced thinly, marinated in a sauce that blends sweet, salty and spicy flavors and grilled. This marinade typically includes an Asian pear, which contains an enzyme called calpain that helps to tenderize the meat while contributing to the sweet side of this dish.
Is your stomach grumbling yet? Consider continuing your culinary education at a local Korean restaurant — we’ve barely scratched the surface of the mouthwatering cuisine you can sample!
Learn more about South Korean food and culture firsthand on this learning adventure!