Say what: sam-guy-tang
Say what: chap-chae
Japchae is another traditionnal Korean food that you can experience while on vacation. Japchae, also known as glass noodles are transparent noodles made from sweet potatoes. This dish can also be eaten as a banchan (side dish) and are stir-fried with a variety of vegetables and meat. The sweet-gingery flavour of japchae makes this a must eat when you are in Korea.
- Good to know: Japchae is very similar to Chinese chopsuey and is considered to be the king of banchans or Korean side dishes.
Say what: oh-back-juke
This Korean porridge dish is made from pumpkin and rice cake balls made from glutinous rice. Hobakjuk is sweet and full of nourishments and like chicken soup, it is often served to people recovering from sickness. The preparation of hobakjuk is simple and some people will add red or black beans to the savoury broth.
- Tip: Hobakjuk is a favourite Korean dish for breakfast whether served hot or cold. Like other soups a spoon is used because Koreans believe that it’s impolite to put a bowl to your mouth.
Say what: ho-tok
Hotteok is a pancake type Korean food which is also a popular street food in Seoul. Street vendors love making this dish because of the variety of fillings one can use. Hotteok is prepared with the same ingredients that you would find in a traditional pancake such as flour, sugar, yeast, milk and flavoured with cinnamon as well as peanuts. Believed to have originated in China, hottoek in Korea are vastly different from the meat filled Chinese variety with most Koreans preferring their hotteok to be on the sweet side.
- Tip: Hotteok is best consumed with your fingers like a doughnut during the winter months. The varieties of hotteok found throughout Korea are based on staple ingredients found in the area. Along the coastlines one can find a hotteok filled with squid and other seafood.
Say what: soul-long-tang
Seolleongtang also known as ox bone soup has been a typical Korean food for centuries dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. The savoury taste of the milky white broth is highlighted by the simplicity of preparation which involves beef bones, garlic, scallions and black pepper. This delectable soup can be served with rice or noodles and it’s not uncommon to find a few thinly sliced beef strips to enjoy.
- Tip: Travellers will find the best seolleongtang in Seoul where this staple dish is prepared in almost every restaurant.
There are numerous other traditional Korean food dishes that you will encounter but the most important thing to remember is that rice is a staple diet. When you are eating rice, never raise your bowl of rice from the table. Unlike other Asian countries Koreans use a spoon to eat their rice. Now that you know what to eat in Korea, you should be prepared to broaden your cultural horizon by eating the culinary delights offered in the Land of the Morning Calm.