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Apr 10

Food Porn: What I’ve Been Eating in Korea

A few months ago, the only thing I knew about Korean food was kimchi. And I didn’t even really know what kimchi was, only that it was pickled and pungent and I probably wouldn’t like it. I told everyone I would lose weight easily in Korea because I just wouldn’t be eating.

How very, very wrong I was.

I’ll never forget the first few meals I ate on Korean soil. The steaming pot of savory beef rib soup that instantly cured my hangover; the first cautious bite of the mysterious vegetables and rice that spurred my love affair with bibimbap; the warm, sugary wonder of the fried pancake, hotteuk; after my first few days in Korea I realized that I was absolutely, irrevocably in love with Korean food.

Below are photos of some of the meals I’ve eaten. This is in no way a comprehensive list of Korean cuisine or even a representative sample of everything I’ve eaten; it’s simply some of the pictures I’ve managed to take of my meals, though it does include some of my favorites. Let this be the first step in motivating you to come visit me in Korea.

Stews and Soups: This includes most of my favorite dishes. Kimchi jiggae is a spicy soup with vegetables, tofu, and pork, usually served in a hot stone pot. Jimmduck is a noodle and chicken dish served in a spicy pepper sauce. One stew came with the most mouthwatering chunks of fish I have ever tasted.

Jimmduck Korean stew

Kimchi jiggae and fish stew

IMG_4654

Korean stew

 

Side Dishes: Every meal you order will automatically come with an array of side dishes. Usually in attendance are kimchi, tamuji (pickled radish), bean sprouts, peppers, dried sardines, and lettuce.

Side dishes in Korea

Side dishes in Korea

Side dishes in KoreaSide dishes in Korea

 

Street Food: One of the most amazing things about Korea is the street food. On just about every block you can buy food from a little vendor on the sidewalk. My favorites are mandu dumplings, and I have my own little vendors around the corner from my house that I patronize several times a week.
Korean mandu dumplings

Korean dumpling

Korean street food

Bibimbap: A traditional Korean meal, this dish is rice covered in vegetables and a fried egg and topped with a spicy chili paste. When served in a hot stone pot, there is something amazingly mouthwatering despite the simplicity of its ingredients.

Korean street food

Korean bibimbap

Galbi: One of the quintessential Korean meals is BBQ. Order a plate of raw meat and grill it yourself at your table. There are also restaurants that allow you to order your vegetables and meat and they stir fry in front of you in a giant pan on your table.

Korean BBQ

Korean galbi stir fry

And, of course, dumplings… I love dumplings. 

Korean dumplings

The food in Korea is simple in its ingredients, but amazingly complex in flavor. While I do find myself craving a good old fashioned salad or an enchilada once in a while, there is more than enough food to keep my mouth occupied for the next year or two. I only wish I’d taken a good enough picture of the fried cinnamon and sugar pancake to show you… but those always disappear too quickly to take a decent photo.

Have you had Korean food before? What’s your favorite dish?

 

  • Lianne Zimmermann

    This makes me miss eating in Korea! So much good stuff. Dak galbi was always my favorite, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love kimchi jiggae and dolsot bibimbap. Mmm!

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      I know, the food here is pretty amazing, I’ll definitely miss it some day! I’m sure you must have some delicious food down under these days, though?

  • Ashli Park

    Ahhh there is nothing quite as comforting and delicious as Korean food!! Soooo jealous 🙂

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Totally! You should probably come for a visit to the motherland and hang out with me, Ashli! 😉

  • Dima Haddad

    Well titled post! I am craving mundoo and jjim dalk that I would do just about anything to eat them, am not a bad person am just hungry 😉

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Haha craving jjimduck and mandu make you a person with great taste! Two of my favorite things, yummmm!