That characterizes Korean cuisine
Although Korea is divided into South and North Korea, the cuisine in both countries is quite similar.
- In Korean cuisine, rice is the most important food source. Soups, which are served with every dish in Korea, are almost on the same level.
- In addition to the soup, a meal also consists of a whole range of different side dishes (banchan). This could be pickled vegetables, for example.
- Seafood, fish, squid, and seaweed are also almost always ingredients in Korean cuisine. Tofu and soy sauce are also well represented.
- Meanwhile, Koreans also eat a lot of meat, and beef and pork are particularly popular here. The meat is sliced and then served either grilled or fried.
- The mixture of the following ingredients makes up the flavor of Korean cuisine: sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and gochujang (fermented red chili paste), and napa cabbage.
- In North Korea, noodles are stapled foods in addition to rice and tofu. In addition to beef and seafood, poultry and duck are also eaten.
- In general, North Korean cuisine is considered less spicy than South Korean. Compared to this, North Korean cuisine is somewhat basic. This is largely due to missing ingredients since not everything can be imported.
The most popular Korean dishes
Among the most popular dishes, kimchi is probably the best known, although this dish is only a side dish.
- Probably the most famous dish from Korea is kimchi, a side dish made from fermented cabbage. But other vegetables can also be found in kimchi. It is preserved with a marinade of ginger, anchovies, garlic, and chili flakes. There are significant regional differences in kimchi, which result in over a hundred variants.
- Kimchi is eaten not only as a side dish but also as a main course. This includes, for example, stews or soups (jjigae), pancakes (jeon), or fried with rice (bokkeumbap).
- Gimbap is Korean sushi. This also consists of rice and seaweed. It is usually filled with spinach, egg, beef, surimi sticks, and deacon radish. Again, there are some variations, so there is something for every taste.
- Bibimbap consists of a bowl of rice enriched with fresh and fermented vegetables. There are also different types of meat or seafood such as squid and shrimp. A fried egg is just as common in bibimbap.
- Bulgogi is a particularly fine, caramelized, and grilled beef, usually from the loin. The marinade consists of onions, ginger, garlic, leeks, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. The secret ingredient that makes the meat particularly tender is Nashi pear.
- Tteokbokki is a fried rice cake dish. This is cooked in a spicy sauce together with fish cake (eomuk), boiled eggs, and shallots.
- Japchae consists of fried glass noodles and vegetables. It has a sweet and savory taste.
- Jjajangmyeon is a Korean-style Chinese noodle dish. It is characterized by sweet bean sauce (chunjang). Other ingredients are pork cubes and vegetables or seafood.
- Naengmyeon or Raengmyŏn is a North Korean noodle dish. The long thin noodles are made from the flour and starches of buckwheat, potato, sweet potato, arrowroot, and kudzu. The noodles are served cold with beef or chicken.
- Hotteok is a sweet pancake. But what makes it so special is its filling. Koreans fill their pancakes with a mix of honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, and chunks of peanuts or walnuts.