A beginner’s guide to Popular Korean Food and Wine

With the wave of K-Pop and Korean Beauty products hitting India, not to mention the thrilling Korean movies, it was just a matter of time before Korean food takes our fancy too. Here is a useful and basic guide about the most popular Korean food and beverages that will make you order like a Pro when you visit a Korean restaurant.

Korean food involves sweet, sour, spicy, and tangy flavors that give a whole spectrum of tastes.

 

 7 most popular Korean foods you should know about

 

Bibimbap is a popular Korean Food
Source 1

1. Bibimbap (Rice Bowl )

 

Bibimbap is a delectable meal bowl made of rice, veggies, meat, gochujang (hot chili paste), and a fried egg seasoned with soy sauce and sesame seeds.

2. Japchae 

 

Japchae is a dish that uses glass noodles for its base. These glass noodles are called so because they are thin and transparent. They are made with sweet potatoes.

For Japchae, the glass noodles are mixed in sesame oil with a variety of vegetables, beef, and mushrooms

Popular Korean Food
Japchae (source1)

 

3. Samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ)

 

Pork is a favourite of Korean people. Samgyeopsal is a popular Korean style of barbeque. You should try Samgyeopsal if you are a non-vegetarian who relishes pork. This dish has of thick slices of pig belly, grilled on your table without being marinated. The pork strips are dipped in a sesame oil-based seasoning and wrapped in lettuce with garlic and onion.  

4. Kimchi 

 

Popular Korean food
source1

 

Korean dining is incomplete without Kimchi. It is the national dish of Korea. Basically  Kimchi is a spicy, crispy salad created with fermented vegetables with cabbage as the main ingredient. This is a nutritious and light dish.

 

5. Kimbap / Gimbap

 

Kimbap, also known as Gimbap, is what you must try if you want to try Korean street food. The Koreans make Kimbap using sushi rice, beef, spinach, and stir-fried vegetables ,wrapping them in a seaweed roll quite like Japanese sushi rolls. It is a beautiful dish and must try when trying Korean food.

 

6. Haemul Pajeon 

 

Haemul Pajeon is a dish that should top your list if you are a seafood lover. You could describe it as a type of Seafood and vegetable savoury pancake. A batter of rice and eggs is whisked and cooked with various kinds of seafood like squid, oysters, shrimps and  green onions are whisked together and cooked to make this crunchy pancake. Haemul Pajeon is mostly served with Makgeolli, a Korean rice wine.

 

7.Tteokbokki

 

Tteokbokki, or sweet and chewy rice cakes and fish cakes, is popular Korean street food. Steamed rice cakes are combined with fish cakes and scallions in a unique sauce made from chilli paste and soybean paste. You must-try this if you like it hot and spicy.

 

5 Popular Korean Drinks to try

 

Before we leave, a mention of the Korean wines is mandatory. It is common in Korea to pair your meals with a drink or two, especially when dining with friends and family. The most common Korean wines are :

 

1. Soju

Popular Korean Food and Korean wine
Source 1

Like most other Korean Alcoholic beverages , Soju is made from fermenting rice. Soju means “Burnt liquor” owing its name to the unique process of distillation used to make Soju. Not surprisingly, this popular rice wine is also the national liquor of Korea. In fact ,its demand is increasing worldwide. Soju is a clear, colorless drink with an alcohol percentage of 20-25% and you are supposed to take it neat.

 

2. Makgeolli (Rice Wine)

 

Makgeolli is a milky, off- white slightly sweet, tangy, and bitter rice wine. It is a bit low on alcohol and the Koreans love to drink it as a communal beverage in social gatherings.

 

3. Bokbunja 

 

Bokbunja is Korean fruit wine made from fermenting Korean blackberry juice. Quite predictably, it has a substantially higher alcohol concentration than your typical glass of red or white wine; a glass of Bokbunja contains 15-19% alcohol, compared to 9-16% of the wine. Bokbunja is a treat to drink with lightly seasoned seafood dishes due to its impressive acidity.

 

4. Flower Wine

 

Yes, you heard that right! A wine made from flowers – tempted already, aren’t you !

The Koreans have a unique method of making this wine that celebrates flowers. Flower wine uses a variety of flowers from azalea to chrysanthemum to peach blooms. Depending upon the flower used, the flavor profile and alcohol concentration of different flower wines differs widely.

 

5. Maeshilju

 

Maeshilju is a  sweet Korean alcoholic beverage crafted by fermenting green plums . It gets the mildly sweet taste because of the addition of sweeteners such as light brown sugar or honey. The alcohol content of this beverage is about 14 %. Because of its high sweetness, it works well as a dessert wine after a meal.

I hope with this post , you are now ready to order confidently when you visit the Korean fine-dine restaurant in your city or travel to Korea itself.

Image sources

Source 1 – designed on Canva

Find more Wine Reviews  here :

  1. Wine Review Lindemans Cawarra Chardonnay 2016
  2. GROVER RESERVE ART COLLECTION CHENIN BLANC White Wine
  3. Sula Late harvest Chenin Blanc 2017
  4. Jacobs Creek Classic Chardonnay 2018
  5. Lindemans Premier Selection Shiraz Cabernet 2017 Red wine

 

 

 

20 comments

  1. I’m a vegetarian and since most of these dishes have meat or egg, I haven’t sampled Korean cuisine yet. The wines seem like a must-try though!

  2. I never tried Korean dishes, all seem so tempting and I would really want to try them. Thanks for sharing the same.

  3. me and my girls are big fan of K drama and are familiar with above mentioned dishes. in fact, we had tried kimchi few days ago. k cuisine offer so much Varity and good taste.

  4. Except for Kimchi, I am not familiar with any of the dishes you have listed. Thank you for sharing detailed information about each. I am glad to update my knowledge about Korean cuisine.

  5. It’s always nice to know know and learn more about other countries culture and food. Koreans have such wide varietirs of food and drinks, but half of the things I can’t have being a vegetarian.

  6. Good to know about Korean food and drinks. I can go with the first one Bibimbap as it seems similar to Fried rice. Have tried Kimchi, and it tastes good. Thanks for introducing us to Korean drinks too.

  7. I love watching K-dramas and their shows are incomplete without food. Koreans love their food for sure. I heard about most of these dishes and drinks in those shows only. I do want to try these but can’t since I am a vegetarian. I want to try kimchi at least.

  8. I have had Kimchi so many times but didn’t know that it is the national dish of Korea. Also I like its Japchae. Flower wine is interesting drink for me.

  9. Thanks for such detailed information about all these dishes . I am not familiar with any of the dishes you have listed. I am glad to update my knowledge about Korean cuisine.

  10. I’m actually very fond of Korean food though I am not familiar with all the dishes that you have listed here. I hope to try them some day.

  11. Wow what an interesting post. Other than Korean beauty and skincare, I have little idea about the other things that are famous there. I have tried few Korean cuisines and liked some but don’t remember the names.

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