diverse array of foods and
dishes can be found throughout Korea.
Korea was once primarily an agricultural nation, and Korea have
cultivated rice as their staple food since ancient times. These days
Korean cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of meat and fish
dishes along with wild greens and vegetables. Various fermented and
preserved food, such as kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), jeotgal
(matured seafood with salt) and doenjang (fermented soy bean paste)
are notable for their specific flavor and high nutritional value.
The prominent feature of a Korean table setting is that all dishes are
served at the same time. Traditionally, the number of side dishes
varied from 3 for the lower classes to 12 for royal family members.
Table arrangements can vary depending on whether a noodle dish or meat
is served. Formal rules have developed for table setting,
demonstrating the attention people pay to food and dining. Compared to
neighboring China and Japan, a spoon is used more often in Korea,
especially when soups are served.
Kinds of Traditional Korean Food
Bap (steamed rice) and Juk (porridge)
Boiled rice is the staple of Korean cuisine. Most people use sticky
rice, which sometimes has beans, chestnuts, sorghum, red beans, barley
or other cereals added for flavor and nutrition. Juk is thought of as
highly nutritious and light. Many varieties of juk exist, for example,
juk made of rice, red beans, pumpkin, abalone, ginseng, pine nuts,
vegetables, chicken, mushrooms and bean sprouts.
Soup is an essential dish when rice is served. Ingredients of
different soups include vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish, seaweed,
and beef bones.
3. Jjigae (stew)
Jjigae is similar to guk but is thicker and hardier. The most famous
jjigae is made from fermented soy bean paste. Jjigae is usually spicy
and served piping hot in a heated stone bowl.
Dubu Jeongol (casserole)
Jeongol is often eaten in the evening. It is cooked in a steaming pot
and contains noodles, mushrooms, small octopuses, cow intestines,
vegetables, and other ingredients. The dubu (tofu) is sliced, coated
with starch and pan-fried. Seasoned ground beef is then stuffed inside
the dubu and it is tied with watercress. In a casserole pan,
vegetables and dubu are arranged and boiled with soy sauce flavored
Jjim and Jorim (simmered meat or fish)
Jjim and jorim are similar dishes which are prepared with vegetables
and soaked in soy bean sauce, then slowly boiled together over a low
Namul (vegetables or wild greens)
Namul is made from slightly boiled or fried vegetables and wild greens
mixed with salt, soy sauce, sesame salt, sesame oil, garlic, onions,
and other spices.
Jeotgal (matured salted seafood)
Jeotgal is a very salty food made of naturally fermented fish,
shellfish, shrimp, oysters, fish roe, intestines and other
Gui (broiled/barbecued dishes)
When cooking gui, marinated meats are barbecued over a charcoal fire.
The most popular meats of this type are bulgogi and galbi. There are
also many fish dishes which are cooked this way.
Jeon (pan-fried dishes)
Jeon is a kind of pancake made from mushrooms, pumpkin, slices of
dried fish, oysters, unripe red peppers, meat or other ingredients
which are mixed with salt and black pepper, dipped in flour and egg
and fried in oil.
10. Mandu (dumpling)
Mandu is dumplings stuffed with beef, mushrooms, stir-fried zucchini,
and mungbean sprouts. Pork, chicken, or fish is sometimes used instead