Ali traveled extensively in Korea. If you are traveling in Korea, here are Ali's favorite picks of what to eat! If you can't make it to Korea- check it out in a restaurant. Enjoy her descriptions! Enjoy her choices! Be adventurous. Happy travels and eating.
- Kalbi/Galbi Bbq beef ribs (boneless) cooked on a grill at your table. Galbi Sal are marinated and very tender.
- Samgyupsal Known as the three layer of fat. It consists of pork and fat in layers. This is also grilled right at your table and is extremely cheap.
- Dakgalbi This is a large pan of diced chicken, rice cakes (with cheese), cabbage and veggies, and some sweet potato wedges, all drenched in red pepper sauce. Some restaurants have a mild recipe, others are quite spicy. These restaurants are designed for dakgalbi so large pots are found at every table.
- Bulgogi Literally meaning fire meat in Korean. These slices of grilled meat marinate in soy sauce and sesame oil. They are served with leafy greens like lettuce which can be wrapped around the meat with a dab of a condiment such as ssamjang ( a thick, spicy paste used with food wrapped in a leaf).
Soups : Anything that ends with a Tang or Guk
- Galbitang This is a beef rib soup and stewing beef with radishes and onions.
- Manduguk Meat stock soup filled with meat filled dumplings. This is popular in the autumn and winter.
- Haemultang Assorted seafood soup and can be very spicy.
Stews : Mostly anything that ends in a Jjigae or Jeongol
- Doenjang Jjigae This is made with vegetables, tofu and bean paste. It can be very spicy depending on the restaurant. Some times there is either meat or seafood in the dish.
- Kimchi Jjigae Made with kimchi and other ingredients such as scallions, onions, diced tofu, pork, or seafood.
- Sundubu Jjigae This is hot and spicy made with uncurdled tofu, seafood, veggies and chili powder.
- cheonggukjang-jjiggae Made from fermented soya bean. I was completely put off this dish while teaching at my school because of the strong odor from this stew. It literally smells like bad socks and I could not bring myself to taste it. I was convinced by a teacher that it did not taste as bad as it smelled and I finally gave in. It became one of my favourite stews. You will enjoy it if you can get over the initial smell.
Rice Dishes : Anything that ends in a Bap
- Bibimbap Literally means mixed rice. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with cooked veggies and pepper paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat is also added in some restaurants. This is a very popular dish.
- Dolsot bibimbap (stone pot) - is served in a very hot stone bowl in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. The bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crispy. This rice is known as Nureonji.
- Bokgeumbap is fried rice served with some other meats or veggies.
- Japchae This is a stir fried cellophane noodle (clear noodle) dish with various vegetables (typically thinly-sliced carrots, onion, spinach, and mushrooms), sometimes served with beef, and flavoured with soy sauce. It is served hot and cold.
- Rameyon The cheapest of noodles and can be bought in any supermarket, grocery store or restaurant. Restaurant noodles tend to be very very spicy to the point where your lips will burn and you will sweat.
- Udong This is a thick white noodle broth.
- Bibimguksu Noodles mixed with the hot pepper paste with veggies of course.
- Donkatsu Traditionally Japanese this Deep fried pork cutlet is served with rice and salad. Can sometimes be served with curry sauce.
- Shabu Shabu Traditionally Japanese, it is like a hot pot, and consists of thinly sliced meat and vegetables, and usually served with dipping sauces. It is considered a winter dish but is eaten year-round.
- Mandu Korean dumplings with meat or veggies.
- Pajeon Pancake like dish made of eggs, flour and onions. Seafood and kimchi can be added to it. Koreans sometimes call it a pizza.
- Kimbap Korean fast food made from steamed rice and thin veggies wrapped in kim (dried seaweed), and served in bite size pieces. Extremely cheap in Korea.
- Tteokbokki is a popular Korean snack food which is commonly purchased from street vendors. Made from rice cake and covered in a spicy orange coloured sauce.
- Hotteok Eaten usually in the winter this pancake can be bought from street vendors for about a $1. It is filled with cinnamon and brown sugar and the dough contains green tea.
- Odeng Another winter favorite by the street vendors. This is a seafood cake served on a stick and cooked in broth. They also give you a cup of the broth to drink with your snack. Very cheap and delicious.
- Hwe or Hoe - This is Korean Sashimi and is well worth a try if you are a raw fish lover.
For the Brave
- Beondegi (번데기)- Silkworm Larvae. I did not try this due to the horrific smell.
- Sannakji Live baby Octopus. I did try this my first month in Korea after much peer pressure from my Co-Teachers. They cut off the tentacles in front of you and pop them on a plate and voila, dinner is served. They are all still moving and you have to dip them in spicy sauce to stun them before you swallow them. Some people have choked because of the suction cups on the octopus but this is very rare.