I’ve recently had some friends asking me how the food is in Korea. When I tell them how freakin’ awesome it is, they appear shocked, and usually follow up with a, “Really?!” – well say no more! Let me tell you why Korean food doesn’t suck. I will tell you my favourite foods so that you can enjoy some good Korean food, and look cool, and everyone will want to hang out with you, and you will win a million dollars, and Oprah will ask you to be a guest on her show.
Korean food is so yummy because it’s spicy and warm – these are perfect attributes of any food when it is cold outside, which is a lot of days when you are traveling in Korea. So you’ve got to know some warm dishes to stay cozy! Korean food is also cheap – sweet deal!
1. Gamjatang (감자탕) = hangover stew. I was actually hungover when I ate this stew for the first time. Bonus! It was amazing. It’s a pork spine stew with falling-off-the-bone meat, potatoes, and maybe some other veggies. Call me sleepy and cozy after I eat this soup – two of my favourite things! Writing this description is making me sad, because I love this stew so much. Is it possible to be in love with a stew? Yes. I must learn how to cook it myself.
2. Dak Galbi (닭갈비)= spicy chicken BBQ with cabbage and rice cake. Damn good! It, like all Korean BBQ, is cooked at your table. They plop in the chicken and cook that up in a spicy sauce, then they add the cabbage and rice cake (chewy rice cake, sounds weird, but good – looks like penne sort of). You then wrap the meat/cabbage/rice cake up in sesame leaves or lettuce leaves, add a clove of raw garlic and call it a day.
3. Gamjajeon with Seafood (감자부침개) = Pan fried potato pancakes with seafood and usually chives, made with potatoes (duh) and flour. Mountainous regions in Korea are famous for their potato pancakes. I mention the seafood ones here because they are the best! Usually lots of squid in them.
4. Bibimbap (비빔밥) = A rice and veggie dish. Comes in a hot stone pot, with rice on the bottom, then the veggies are layered on, and finally topped with a raw egg that cooks up in the hot pot once you served to you.
5. Pork Galbi (돼지갈비) = this is tops for me, along with Gamjatang which I already listed. You can get marinated pork galbi, as well as unmarinated. Try both. They put olive oil and sea salt in a side dish to dip the unmarinated pork in = mouthwatering = mouth-gasm. I can hardly type thinking about this dish. Possible to be sexually attracted to BBQ pork? For sure!
6. Kimchi (김치) = Is a cold side dish you will get with almost everything. All kimchi is different, no two are the same, but it is always spicy and usually made from cabbage. I hated kimchi the first time I tried it. Actually, I couldn’t eat it because the kimchi I tasted first was out-of-this-world spicy. I was then afraid of kimchi for exactly 1 year – actually afraid of it. This year I re-tried, and I love it now. Kimchi is a Korean staple, and you cannot miss having it.
7. Kimchi Stew (김치찌개) = Spicy hot cabbage stew. Usually comes with rice on the side, which you can use to douse the flames in your mouth. But don’t let me scare you, it is delicious.
8. Cass Beer = Not a food, but just as important. This is a South Korean beer, and I believe it should be a mandatory side dish to any Korean BBQ. And I’m going to tell you how to make it even BETTER! Add Soju. Soju is a vodka-like Korean rice liquor. Add half a shot to your glass of beer, this is what Koreans do, and they are geniuses. Literally.
9. Korean sashimi – Whoi (회) = An honourable mention, because it is something I have not tried myself, but have heard is a must. I haven’t tried it because I have never been in Korea when it wasn’t cold. And ordering a cold dish goes completely against my morals and everything I stand for.
Now go eat!