A beginner’s guide to Popular Korean Food and Wine

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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


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 a 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.




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 :

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