Korea's culinary scene is as vibrant and diverse as its K-pop and K-drama culture. While many visitors are drawn to popular dishes like tteokbokki, samgyupsal, Korean fried chicken, and alike, there's a whole world of lesser-known Korean cuisine waiting to be explored.
How about expanding your culinary adventure with some lesser-known, yet incredibly tasty Korean food that's welcoming to foreigners?
Don't worry if you're not a fan of spicy food – most of our recommendations are mild, and for those with a bit of heat, you can always ask the restaurant to make it less spicy.
Here are some more Korean dishes we recommend trying, alongside the well-known favorites:
Jjimdak is a delicious Korean dish with its roots in Andong, Korea. The name "Jjimdak" combines "jjim," meaning cooking in a special sauce, and "dak," which is chicken. This dish offers a mix of flavors, with a hint of saltiness, sweetness, and a touch of spiciness. Creative versions like rosé and truffle jjimdak have recently added exciting twists to this classic Korean favorite.
Yukgaejang is a popular Korean beef soup known for its delightful mix of spicy flavors and hearty vegetables. The soup is made by simmering beef and vegetables slowly for two hours, letting the flavors blend perfectly. It has a balanced smoky and spicy taste without being too overwhelming. The soup contains tender beef slices and unique vegetables like gosari (fernbrake), adding a natural earthy flavor. It's usually served with rice, creating a warm and comforting meal loved by locals.
Galbijjim, also known as braised short ribs, is a cherished Korean dish made from beef or pork short ribs. It's typically reserved for special occasions due to its deep, savory-sweet flavor. The dish's name combines "Galbi" for the meat and "Jjim" for the braising method. In the past, it was a luxury enjoyed by the wealthy, but it's now more accessible and just as delicious.
Jokbal is a favorite Korean dish made from pig's feet. It's cooked with soy sauce and tasty spices. To make it, the feet are usually simmered in a sauce made of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and rice wine. The name "Jokbal" comes from "jok," meaning pig, and "bal," meaning feet. It's a traditional Korean dish often enjoyed with drinks.
So why is this dish so popular? Well, it's because it offers different textures. Depending on the part of the leg used, jokbal can be chewy and meaty or soft and fatty. This variety in textures makes it a great choice for people who want to try something special and delicious.
If you're feeling adventurous, give Gopchang a try. This dish involves cleaning and marinating intestines in a blend of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and various spices. They are then grilled over a charcoal fire until fully cooked. Gopchang can be enjoyed as a main dish or a tasty appetizer.
These are just a few of the many lesser-known Korean dishes that are worth trying. With its diverse cuisine and welcoming atmosphere, Korea is a foodie's paradise waiting to be explored.