There are so many amazing places in South Korea to visit, though let’s be honest, no trip is complete without gorging on some of that yummy South Korean food.
Obviously, there are so many reasons, of course, to want to visit Korea but one of the biggest reasons to visit is its cuisine. My Korean friends at university were probably the cause of this (for me at least). They’re the most enthusiastic foodies I’ve ever known! Honestly, they lived and breathe food and really love sharing the best South Korean food and dishes we should try.
Truth be told, they totally sparked my interest in Korean cuisine which, which finally led to our trip to South Korea recently.
That being said, I wanna give a head’s up! Modern Korean cuisine is unique, hearty, and delicious but lots of it is meat based. It’s not a rule, but the dishes we found mainly revolved around the meat.
There is certainly some great South Korean food to try that is veggie friendly, but it’s certainly more meat-based; even if traditionally, it’s been more vegetarian.
Anyway, without rambling for too long, this is why I wanted to share some of the best South Korean food and dishes you should try on your trip to South Korea.
Honestly, there is so much to eat that you’ll have to roll yourself home!
Take a look below at some of the best South Korean Food to try.
Bibimbap is one of the best South Korean food and dishes that you can’t miss on your trip here. honestly, it’s almost a staple that you have to try (just like their fried chicken).
Now, Bibimbap is made from a mix of fluffy rice, veggies, and a spicy red pepper paste that has a total zing to it.
Truth be told, there are a few types of bibimbap, but I recommend the dolsot bibimbap because it comes in a sizzling hot stone bowl and has a raw egg on top.I always love a little fanfare around food, so I bet that’s why I like it best.
If you mix it all quickly, the raw egg cooks with the rice .and there’s no need to worry if you’re cautious about eating raw egg. While this meal may look vegetarian-friendly, it often includes a small amount of cooked ground beef and sometimes stock (so check with the server).
Samgyetang is Korea’s take on chicken soup. It’s a hearty, piping hot bowl of goodness that is totally heart-warming on a cold winter day in Seoul.
Usually, there is an entire chicken in there but sometimes you might get smaller potions if you visit a restaurant or stall. So don’t fret, you won’t be expected to eat a whole chicken!
Loaded with rice, and a few other vegetables, Samgyetang is one of the best South Korean food to try on your trip. Oh, and just like lots of other Korean dishes, the broth gets richer and fuller as you get towards the bottom. Yum.
This is often what people mean when they refer to Korean BBQ and it’s one of the best South Korean food and dishes you have to have on your visit. Honestly, you kinda can’t miss out on a Korean BBQ, they’re everywhere in cities, especially in Seoul.
You can find galbi restaurants all over the country so don’t fret if you struggling to choose. Sit down, tell them what you want (some galbi restaurants will only have one item), and a server will bring you a plate of raw pork or beef in less than a minute. It’s a delicious meal to have alongside a South Korean beer.
Dakgalbi cooks right in front of you in a giant frying pan and is easily up there as one of the best South Korean food and dishes to eat here.
Filled with Chicken, vegetables, and a number of additional options (sweet potatoes, noodles, rice (or even cheese we’ve heard)), are all mixed and cooked together. It’s a proper filling meal that will leave you stuffed.
My friend calls these Korean sandwiches and I haven’t been able to call them anything else since!
Relatively cheap, portable and self-contained treats, they are the perfect quick bite to eat in South Korea.
Typically, Gimbap is rice wrapped in dried seaweed and stuffed with egg, ham, and local vegetables that are usually seasonal. You can order gimbap with a variety of different fillings. My favourite is tuna (chamchi gimbap) which is so good.
Pojangmacha literally means street food and it’s something of a speciality in South Korea.
Now, South Korean street food might not always look pretty, but what it lacks in good looks, it makes up for in taste!
You can get grilled chicken on a stick, fish cakes, or deep-fried vegetables. Also consider trying ddeokbokki, which are rice cakes covered in a hot chilli sauce.
The best is when ddeokbokki comes with ramen noodles and a hardboiled egg (though, each person has their favourite). If you’re in doubt about where to find good street food, just look for a university and you’ll assuredly find street food nearby. Korean students can’t get seem to get enough street food.
Well, that was my way of finding a quick bite.
Samgyeopsal reminds me of thickly cut bacon or gammon and is easily one of the best South Korean food and dishes you should try.
Honestly, it’s a go-to meal after a long hike or trek around the cities. Also, some Koreans believe that Samgyeopsal can detoxify the body, so it might be worth giving it a shot?
Truth be told, I don’t give my bacon that much credit but I’ll eat it just to be on the safe side. 😉
This is often called a Korean pancake, that is totally delicious.
Usually, Pajeon is prepared with seafood (haemul pajeon). The “pa” is the green onion, which gives the pancake a sharp and distinct flavour and makes the pancake quite zingy.
9.) Dubu kimchi
Dubukimchi is soft tofu served alongside cooked kimchi and is easily up there as one of the best South Korean food to try here.
The texture and sponginess of the tofu soak up the strong flavour and chewy texture of the kimchi. It makes for a really flavoursome treat.
Bulgogi literally means fire meat and is exactly what you’d imagine it to be. A spicy mix of meats that has the potential to blow your socks off. It really can be that spicy.
Made from thinly cut steak, marinated in a soy sauce base, it’s one of the best South Korean food and dishes you have to try.
In some restaurants, you cook the bulgogi at your table; in others, you are served a pre-prepared dish. Depending on the sauce, bulgogi can range from being mild and sweet to very spicy. Just make sure to ask your server.
11.) Kimchi Jjigae
Kimchi jjigae is a hearty, kimchi-based stew that is too good to miss. In fact, it’s delicious.
Koreans find a way to include meat into just about every dish, and kimchi jiggae is no exception so make sure to ask for the veggie alternative when you’re there.
There are usually savoury chunks of pork hiding underneath the bubbling, red surface and it’s a tasty treat in the evening.
Bossam is steamed pork belly that is tender, delicious and a great meal to have with friends.
There are lots of restaurants that serve Bossam in South Korea so make sure to ask in the restaurants.