One of my favorite things in this life is food - I like thinking about it, making it, and of course, eating it. One concern that I know many people have before moving to South Korea is whether or not they will like the food. Personally, I love almost all of it - meals tend to be well-balanced, always have great variety, and usually involve a good amount of spice. Seeing as I have a serious addiction to peppers and hot sauce - this works out well for me. I would argue that there is something for everyone in Korea, and that one should absolutely keep an open mind when it comes to what you think you will or will not like. The following are my To[p 5 must-have foods when visiting South Korea.
1. Kimchi Jiggae - The word jiggae means stew in Korean. This dish consists primarily of kimchi (duh), tofu, and pork or tuna. I love it because it is simple, spicy, relatively healthy, and super delicious. Perfect for cold nights and hungover mornings.
2. Shabu Shabu - This actually originates from Japan; however, I had never had it, or even heard of it until I came here - so I think it counts. Shabu is a huge plate of thinly cut beef, and a huge plate of mixed vegetables. You dump everything into the pot of bubbling broth in the center, then let the epic feast begin. Generally, the entire meal comes in three course. Step 1 is the meat and vegetables. Step 2 is udon-style noodles, and step 3 is a rice porridge with squash and seasonings. This whole meal usually only costs around 11k won, or a little under $11. So filling, so affordable, and so delicious!
3. Korean BBQ - Of course, you can't talk about food in Korea, without talking about Korean BBQ. Generally, it comes with several sides and "salads" and then you order whatever kind of meat you want. Throw the meat on the grill in the center, watch it sizzle away, and then eat your heart out. This is often paired with a bottle or two of Soju . Though, I am not usually a fan of Soju, it really does go well wit Korean BBQ.
4. Jajangmyeon - A big bowl of noodles with pork and assorted vegetables, smothered in a delicious black bean sauce. Again, this dish is not strictly Korean. It is generally referred to as "chinese food," but like American chinese food, Korean chinese food is not actually what is eaten in China. Maybe one day I'll be able to eat Chinese chinese food, wouldn't that be a trip?
5. Bibimbap - Most regions in Korea have their own version of this dish, but in it's most basic form bibimbap consists of warm rice, assorted vegetables, spicy red sauce, and usually an egg on top. Everyone who lives here knows that Korea is not great for vegetarians or vegans, as almost everything has a pork base. However, bibimbap is one dish that vegetarians (and even vegans) can enjoy without worry.
As I said before, I love to eat. So keep an eye out for my next food related post - 5 Must-East Foods in South Korea: Streetside. Hotdogs have nothing on the delicious eats that line the streets of Seoul.
Enjoy the beautiful view!