Top 10: Foods in Korea

July 11, 2012

In order to avoid mimicking a wikipedia entry, I'll limit this to what I believe to be the 10 best Korean foods (or foods you can get in Korea since some aren't technically Korean):

1. 닭갈비 / dalkgalbi

Chicken, chili pepper paste, cabbage, sweet potato, onions, and rice cake cooked together on a hot plate.

2. 삼겹살 / samguyupsal

Fatty pork cooked on the grill. You can dip it in a salt/sesame oil sauce or wrap it in a lettuce leaf with some onions and ssamjang (red pepper and soybean paste).

3. 떡 / tteok

Rice cake. Whether full of sweet red bean, honey,  or sesame seeds (above) or cooked as tteokbokki and tteokguk (below), I'll take it all!

4. Street food / deep fried everythings

There's a lot to choose from on these street food carts: deep fried stuffed peppers, deep fried boiled eggs, deep fried sweet potato, deep fried seafoody things, tteokbokki (see above), corn on the cob, etc.

5. 탕수육 / tangsuyuk

Deep fried pork with a sweet/sour sauce, cucumbers, carrots, and pineapple. This is Korean-style Chinese food and is often ordered in.

6. 감자탕 / gamjatang

Soup made from pork bones (spine) and vegetables.

7. 샤부 샤부 / shabu shabu

Thinly sliced beef cooked in boiling water, wrapped in rice paper along with other vegetables and sauces. The broth can be later used for soup or rice porridge. This is originally a Japanese thing.

8. 보리밥 / boribap

Barley rice served with different vegetables that you mix together with sesame oil and pepper paste. This is for the rare occasion that I feel like eating healthy.

9. 깍두기 / Kkakdugi & 단무지 / tanmuji

These are two completely separate things (aside from both being radish)... and perhaps they are a side dish and not really a food... but they can share #9. On the left, kkakdugi, is radish kimchi (sour/spicy/crunchy/delicious). On the right, tanmuji, is pickled radish.

10. 김밥 / kimbap

Like sushi but infinitely better. No raw fish. Depending on the kind you get, it's usually a combination of carrot, fried egg, pickled radish, kimchi, tuna...

The Questionables

산낙지 / sannakji / octopus

Just imagine the plate wriggling and you've got a good image. Lucky for me, Mokpo is famous for it's small octopus. I tried it once and only once, but only after it was boiled in soup.

 순대 / sundae / blood sausage

This is another one I tried, but by accident. Intestines stuffed with different things... noodles, rice, blood.

 보신탕 / boshintang / dog soup

This one I haven't tried, and it's not actually that common except among the older generations. There's a lot of controversy on this topic due to the fact that dogs are usually beaten and killed in brutal ways in order to maximize adrenaline which is said to improve the quality of the meat.

 번데기 / beondaegi / steamed silk worm pupae

Self-explanatory. This is widely available, usually on those street food carts.

 멸치 / myeolchi / dried anchovies

This is everywhere... as a side dish or even bar food.

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