K-dramas are not only captivating entertainment but also serve as a platform to introduce Korean food to global audiences. Through mouthwatering scenes of dishes and bustling street food scenes, they spark viewers' curiosity to try Korean cuisine. This has led to a surge in popularity worldwide, with a variety of Korean food options available in restaurants and online and offline stores. Viewers are not only interested in popular dishes but also in exploring the diverse range of Korean cuisine, which promotes cultural exchange and appreciation.
Here are some of the Korean foods that became more known after it was featured in a K-drama:
Namsan Donkatsu - “Moving”
Donkatsu, a Korean twist on the Japanese tonkatsu, is a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet. Unlike its Japanese counterpart which is often served with curry sauce, Korean donkatsu features a unique brown sauce with a special ingredient: apple.
In the popular Disney+ original K-drama "Moving," King Donkatsu, a breaded pork cutlet almost the size of a person's face, played a significant role in the storyline. The main characters, Jo In Sung and Han Hyo Joo, had their first date at Namsan Donkatsu, a restaurant renowned for its King Donkatsu. Later in the series, it became a signature dish in Han Hyo Joo's restaurant.
While donkatsu has been mentioned in various K-dramas and variety shows, the 2023 hit series "Moving" significantly boosted its popularity, both domestically and internationally.
Kimbap - “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”
In many K-dramas, characters can often be seen enjoying kimbap, whether they're grabbing it from a convenience store, eating it at the office or school canteen, or dining at a restaurant. However, in the 2022 hit ENA K-drama "Extraordinary Attorney Woo," kimbap gained even more popularity, especially among new K-drama viewers, as it was the favorite food of the main character, Woo Young Woo, portrayed by Park Eun Bin.
Sundae - “Fight For My Way”
Kim Sung Oh, known for his role as Park Seo Joon's taekwondo coach turned sundae (Korean blood sausage) seller in the KBS K-drama "Fight For My Way," consistently interacts with Park Seo Joon from his food truck, where he sells the famous Korean snack. The food becomes a recurring element in their banter throughout the series.
Cheese Sausage - “Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo”
In the K-drama "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo," the cheese sausage holds special significance in the initial encounter between Kim Bok Joo (played by Lee Sung Kyung) and Jung Joon Hyung (played by Nam Joo Hyuk) during their college days. Bok Joo's friend gives her the cheese sausage, her favorite snack, to lift her spirits. However, as she's about to eat it, Joon Hyung accidentally bumps into her, causing the sausage to fall.
Thanks to this drama, international viewers were introduced to the cheese sausage, a popular snack readily available in Korean convenience stores.
Korean chicken - “Crash Landing On You” and “My Love From The Star”
Whether you're a long-time fan or new to K-dramas, one thing is clear: Korean chicken is always a hit. If you've been following K-dramas for a while, you've probably come across the iconic pairing of chicken and beer, known as "chimaek," thanks to the series "My Love From The Star." This drama sparked a craze for various items featured in the show, including food like Korean chicken.
For those newer to K-dramas, "Crash Landing On You" likely introduced you to the delicious world of Korean chicken.
Thanks to these influential dramas, Korean chicken brands like BBQ, BHC, Goobne, and others are now popular even among foreign audiences.