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Eating in Korea

Updated on December 24, 2013

Learning How to Prepare Kimchi

When eating in Korea, kimchi is a must. You will see it served at every meal. Besides kimchi, it is common to see many other side dishes served with your main meal. While in Korea, I had the opportunity to try various local dishes. I also had the opportunity to see how kimchi was made at a kimchi factory in Icheon. Although the instructions seemed straightforward, the actual preparation is not that easy. It was definitely not easy to wrap the cabbage up nicely after spreading on the specially prepared paste.

This include bibimbap, which is made up of rice and many other ingredients like egg, vegetables and also meat. Before you start eating, you will need to "mix" everything up. Hence the name bibimbap which means "mixed rice". Besides the delicious taste, the dish also looks very colourful and appealing due to the variety of ingredients.

Learning How to Make Kimchi

Samgyetang

The delicious and nutritious samgyetang.
The delicious and nutritious samgyetang.

Samgyetang: Ginseng Chicken Soup

Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is a popular Korean dish particularly during summer. Koreans eat this due to its high nutrients. You may also add insamju (ginseng wine) for additional flavouring, according to your taste. To make samgyetang, the chicken is stuffed with items like glutinous rice and then boiled with herbs like ginseng. 

Eating Grilled Meat in Korea

Preparing the meat to be grilled (samgyupsal).
Preparing the meat to be grilled (samgyupsal).

Galbi or Samgyupsal: Grilled Meat

Grilled meat is a popular meal here. Many types of meat can be used. If short ribs is used, it is called kalbi. If pork belly is used, it is called samgyupsal. Both beef and pork can be used. Of the two, beef is more expensive. After the meat is thoroughly cooked, we wrapped the meat in lettuce leaf with some rice and some sauce. You may also include kimchi if you wish to.

Seafood Hotpot or Steamboat

The Seafood Steamboat we had included crab, squid, clams and fish.
The Seafood Steamboat we had included crab, squid, clams and fish.

Seafood in Korea

In Korea, Seafood steamboat is also easily found particularly in cities close to the port and on Jeju Island. At Daepohang Fish Market, we also spotted some weird looking sea creatures like the reddish mongeh (forgive me if it’s spelt wrongly…). We also tried something unique. It was sundae (or soondae), which is glutinous rice stuffed into squid. It is then sliced thinly and grilled. Very, very delicious! It costs 5000 won for one serving.

A weird-looking Seafood: Mongeh

A weird-looking red type of seafood. Not too sure about the name but I think it's mongeh.
A weird-looking red type of seafood. Not too sure about the name but I think it's mongeh.

Street Food and Snacks

Along the road in Myeongdong, there were also many stalls selling local snacks such as grilled cuttlefish. It is crunchy and not too hard to chew. I also tried kimbap (which is Korea’s version of sushi) which I felt was OK only. But that was just one attempt so to be fair I need to try it again. Another famous snack is tteokpoki (rice cakes in hot sauce) which I did not have the chance to taste. Instead, we bought a “long ice cream” to stave of the hot summer heat. For such a “long” ice cream, it cost us 1500 won. Definitely worth every won!

Seaweed is also available widely and I even found 7 different flavours such as wasabi and barbecue flavored ones. It can be eaten just like that or can also be used to cook seaweed soup.

Preparing Squid filled with glutinous rice (Sundae) at Daepohang Fish Market

Long Ice Cream at Myeongdong Street

Pay just 1500 won for this extremely long ice cream. A delight in hot summer.
Pay just 1500 won for this extremely long ice cream. A delight in hot summer.

Korean Liquor: Soju and Makgeolli

Besides food, we also did not forget to sample Korea’s offering of liquor. On our short trip we sampled some ginseng wine, makgeolli and soju. The ginseng wine smelt strongly of ginseng and was definitely very memorable. Between makgeolli and soju, I preferred makgeolli. I am not a huge fan of alcohol but I decided to try some as I have always seen people drinking soju in Korean dramas. Well, no harm in trying some I guess as long as you are of legal age! Do take note that soju has a high alcohol content of about 20%.

Teahouses at Insadong: The Next Visit

Due to time constraints, we also did not have the chance to try out Korea’s many tea houses, particularly those in the Insadong area. If I visit again, I will definitely put it at the top of my must-dos. Overall, it was definitely not cheap to eat out in Korea, particularly compared to other Asian cities like Bangkok. Nevertheless, there is a large variety of food to try. There is still a lot more Korean food which I have not tried yet. I hope to visit again someday to try more. gain someday to try more.

© 2010 lilian_sg

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    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the introduction. It sounds like an awesome introduction to Korean culture.

    • ceh4702 profile image

      ceh4702 

      5 years ago

      One of my favorite shows on Hulu is a show called Kimchi Family. It is a very interesting show. It is about a family owned restraunt that makes only Kimchi and side dishes in all their variety. They make all kinds of Kimchi on the show. Not only do they run a restraunt but they help people as they go through life. I was in a korean store the other day and they had some Abalone in the freezer. I wanted to buy some because I have seen it on few shows like Tamra the Island and jewel in the palace. I lived in Korea for a while and we use to go to the market to get fresh fish and the lady would fillet it for us. Nothing like fresh food.

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Sounds interesting. There are actually many types of kimchi out there, contrary to common belief!

    • ceh4702 profile image

      ceh4702 

      5 years ago

      I am watching a show right now on HULU called the Kimchi chronicles. It is a pretty good food show.

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Hi...really sorry but don't have anyrecommendations. Good searching! Do let me know if you discover a good one.

    • profile image

      Cin 

      6 years ago

      Hi Lilian!

      I have a question about korean booze sampling. I saw this video and because very interested in it, yet can't figure out where to go

      http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/seoul-food-taste-tour... They enter the place at 2:37 but the bar's name is in korean (just my luck, lol).

      Is there a place you reccd that offers korean alcohol sampling? Thanks so much!!

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      You are most welcome =) Everytime I read my own post, I start to crave Korean food too!

    • tjustis profile image

      tjustis 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      Makes me miss my time in Korea. Spent a year there teaching English and loved it...especially the food :). Thanks for sharing.

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks cafelatte for the info! =)

    • profile image

      cafelatte 

      6 years ago

      Lilian,

      Kalbi refers to short ribs in Korean, not beef, and samgyupsal is pork belly. Other cuts of meat can be used for grilling and they all have different names.

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the info! Do enjoy the Korean food =) before you head back

    • profile image

      bubba 

      7 years ago

      Lilian,

      Korean food is certainly one of our favorites. Thanks to you, we must have another round before heading back to chiang mai. Believe it or not, Texas has awesome Korean restaurants.

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      I guess so. But well, I don't live in America and have never been there so I can't confirm this.... =) Maybe someday I could tell you more once I visit.

    • brnielsen44 profile image

      brnielsen44 

      7 years ago from Orem, UT

      If you are going to stay in Korea a while and eat nothing but Korean food, it would be wise to take it easy when coming back to America. Often, the shock of American food like steak and pasta can be quite unsettling to one's stomach, right?

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      7 years ago from Singapore

      Haha..I could have finished it on my own....it was summer when I was there! But I shared with my mum =)

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 

      7 years ago

      Did you manage to finish eating the long ice-cream on your own ? Is it too much for one person ?

    • lilian_sg profile imageAUTHOR

      lilian_sg 

      8 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      8 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Seafood, Street food and snacks etc sounds well to scarce the travelers even though the dishes are delicious.

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