Must-Try Foods in South Korea

I’ve tried new foods every single day I’ve been here, so it’s hard to pinpoint just a couple, but I will try my best!

First up is spicy stir-fried octopus – its Korean name is nakji-bokkeum (낙지볶음). Served with sides (called Banchan) such as Gyeranjjim (Korean Steamed Eggs), rice, bean sprouts and fried beef, spicy tofu stew, kimchi, and macaroni salad.

Bulgogi – thinly cut marinated beef with a sweeter savory taste cooked on a stove top griddle in front of you. A very traditional Korean dish with delicious sides such as sashimi, fish cakes, yukhoe, noodles, and more.

Japchae Hotteok – hotteok is supposed to be a sweet dessert snack, but this take, usually found in the Namdaemun market, is a deep-fried dough pancake filled with noodles and stir-fried vegetables . The traditional hotteok is filled with honey, sugar, and cinnamon. Both are delicious!

Cafeteria Food!

Hanyang University’s cafeteria was inexpensive and tasty! My favorites include cheese-pork cutlets with cold noodles and their breakfast gimbap with seawood soup with fresh watermelon juice.

Subway stations have a multitude of bakeries and small food stops that commuters stop by to have a meal in-between destinations (including me). One of my favorites was the Inari Sushi, each one filled with rice and different fillings within a deep-fried tofu pocket (such as imitation crab, kimchi, salmon, shrimp, egg, cheese, octopus, vegetables, etc.)

Chewy Sesame Bun with Apple Milk! Tastes like mochi within a soft bun – a yummy breakfast or snack food, also found in subway stations.
How can I not write about Korean BBQ? For KBBQ, you select the different types of meat where you cook it yourself, and many sides are served so you can eat the meat and other sides wrapped in lettuce or perilla leaves (my preferred!) depending on what the restaurant has. Directly above the meat is a metal tube that sucks up the smoke when the meat is being cooked. Your clothes smell like KBBQ for the next couple of days 🙂

Last but not least – bingsu (빙수;), a Korean dessert made of shaved milk ice and customized with many toppings. A famous dessert chain called Sulbing has been my go-to place (but is served at other cafes as well!). I had many different types of bingu, so below is a photo-dump of a couple of different flavors I got to try.

There is a lot of tasty food in South Korea, and this post only scratches the surface! I failed to write about the many different flavors Baskin Robbins has (with a warm cheesy waffle cone!), the different types of milk tea at Gongcha and other bubble tea chains, stir-fried pork, pajeon (Korean savory pancake), and more. Writing about all this food has me hungry, so I’m off to go eat – thanks for reading! 🙂

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