With the growing popularity of the K-wave, Korean cuisine is getting more popular than ever!
Korean food is more than just kimchi and ramyun. There is so much variety to Korean food that there will surely be something you'll love!
If you're health-conscious, Korean food is right up your alley! Koreans are committed to their belief of 'you are what you eat'. Thanks to their use of natural and wholesome ingredients, Korean food is among the healthiest food in the world!
Don't worry about being clueless when it comes to identifying Korean dishes - check out this guide to 11 of the most iconic (and yummy) dishes Korea has to offer!
Soondubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)
A thick and spicy stew made with soft silken tofu and seafood (oysters, clams, prawns, mussels). Traditionally, a raw egg is cracked into the boiling stew to cook. It is one of the most comforting dishes to savor during cold weather! Eat it with rice and the side dishes (banchan) for a complete and filling meal!
Budae Jjigae (Army Stew)
After the Korean war, meat was scarce in Seoul. People made use of surplus food from the US Army such as hot dogs and canned ham (spam) and added them into traditional spicy soup with kimchi and red chili paste (gochujang). The modern army stew dish incorporates ingredients like instant ramen noodles, baked beans and sliced cheddar cheese.
Seolleongtang (Ox Bone Soup)
Beef bones/Ox leg bones/Ox tail are simmered on low heat for about 10 hours to gradually extract the calcium that gives the distinctive milky color of the soup. Later, a large piece of beef and radish is added to the boiling soup for additional flavor. Best complemented with a bowl of steamed rice.
Ddukbokki/Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cake)
This is a vastly popular street food in South Korea. The sweet and spicy soup is packed with flavor - thanks to the generous amount of ingredients such as rice cake, fish cake (oden), boiled eggs, cabbage, scallions and more! The distinctive cylindrical rice cakes are soft and chewy after absorbing the flavor of the sauce. Other ingredients that can be found includes pan-fried mandu (dumplings), ramyeon (korean ramen), sausages, and seafood.
Yangnyeom Tongdak (Korean Seasoned Fried Chicken)
Sink your teeth into crispy batter coated in sticky, sweet and spicy red sauce. Inside lies flavorsome, tender and oh-so-juicy chicken meat. This Korean styled fried chicken is so popular that shops are selling their own version. Unlike typical American fried chicken, Korean fried chicken is fried twice, resulting in a crunchier yet less greasy version. Pair it with cubed pickled radish, and wash down everything with beer or soju.
Bulgogi (Marinated Beef)
Thinly sliced beef is marinated in a sauce made from pear juice, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, black pepper and sugar to enhance its flavor. It is traditionally grilled, but pan cooking is common these days. Wrap the slice of delicious savory and sweet meat in a lettuce leaf together with rice and sauce.
Back in the Joseon Dynasty, bulgogi is traditionally prepared for the wealthy or nobility. You can find bulgogi hamburgers at South Korean fast food restaurants, which are similar to teriyaki burger in flavor.
Bibimbap (Mixed Rice)
This dish has everything - meat, egg, veggies, rice and spice. Both nutritious and delicious, it makes for a filling meal. Best served hot, a variety of veggies and meats are carefully prepared and placed individually in an earthenware pot and are mixed together thoroughly with a raw egg. You can look forward to the golden-brown crispy rice at the bottom when you're almost done.
For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed in adjacent colors to complement each other.
Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly)
Fatty slices of pork belly sizzles on a grill together with garlic and onions. A usual way to eat samgyeopsal is to place a slice of the cooked meat on a sesame leaf, add some cooked rice, ssamjang (soy bean paste) and gochujang (chili paste) before rolling it up to eat. You can customize it to your taste with various other side dishes provided such as garlic, onions and aged kimchi. Samgyeopsal is also a lot cheaper than their tasty beef counterpart Galbi (below)!
Jjajangmyeon (Black Bean Noodles)
Originally a Chinese dish, Koreans have revamped this dish to form a thicker and more delicious version! Thick white wheat noodles are topped with a thick hot salty black bean sauce (chunjang), minced pork and sliced raw cucumbers, creating a harmony of textures and flavors!
Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup)
A whole young chicken is stuffed with ginseng, glutinous rice, jujubes, garlic and chestnuts and boiled to form a thick and aromatic soup. It is widely believed in Korea that this soup can cure and prevent ailments! Whole, uncut ingredients are used in this dish as it is believed to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients. An absolutely delicious and nutritious soup that you have to try!
Galbi (Grilled Marinated Beef Short Ribs)
Thick slabs of pork or beef ribs are marinated in soy sauce, chopped garlic and sugar and grilled on a metal plate over charcoal in the centre of the table. The meat here is sliced thicker than bulgogi. It is usually served with lettuce, perilla or other leafy vegetables to wrap the meat. What's not to love?
Craving for Korean cuisine now?
Visit these places for authentic and tasty Korean dishes in Singapore: http://bit.ly/1gL59lx
Alternatively, why not whip up your own? Purchase ingredients from these Korean supermarkets in Singapore: http://bit.ly/1raFcAL