Korean Food 101

For those of you who do not know, Korea is a small peninsula located just below the south east part of China. For Koreans, Korean food is a necessity, as it is drastically different from western and even most eastern dishes. Within Korea, there are individual regions that also have Korean food segmented. For those of you who are browsing this site in hope to start enjoying your own homemade Korean Food, you’ve come to the right place.

Korean Food is unique in a few different ways. Koreans primarly use different seasonings and combinations of salt, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soybean paste, soy sauce and red chili pepper. Korean food is often times very spicy and its kick from variations of the red chili pepper. Whether it is in red chili pepper flakes or paste, Korean Foods utilize it in many different ways. Sometimes adding just sugar creates a marvelous marination that goes will with pork, chicken and sometimes even beef! Vegetables are also a key component in Korean Food and sometimes are pickled like the famous Kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage). Kimchi loved by most Koreans as it is very nutritious and rich in flavor. It can take up to several months of fermentation (commonly done underground) to get the right flavor of kimchi. To describe the flavor, it’s a little sour with a powerful kick of spicy goodness.

Meat is a huge part of most international foods and Korean Food is no exception. Korea’s famous Korean Barbecue Kalbi and Bulgogi is loved all around the world and is the premier dish that most Koreans serve their Non-Korean friends. It’s beef or pork that is marinated in a sweet sauce and is usually grilled over an open fire. It’s also common to have un-marinated meat and wrap it in lettuce, other veggies and bean paste. Often times, a stone pan is used when cooking Korean Food. Another interesting thing about Korean Barbecue is that it is typically cooked right at your table! Most of the times the servers will cook it ready for you, but don’t be shy in cooking it yourself to your liking!

Being a peninsula, it is also very common for Koreans to enjoy a wide variety of sea foods. Mainly fish, octopus and shellfish, Koreans love to enjoy the sea based foods throughout the year. Furthermore, soups are almost always served regardless of the main course. One thing that really differentiates Korean Food with the rest of the world is how Koreans eat. Without fail (at restaurants and most traditional Korean homes), the main course is served with rice and a wide assortment of side dishes known as banchan. Banchan can be simple like asparagus marinated in soy sauce to intricate dishes like seasoned pickled cabbage pieces. Some common Banchans also include simple egg souffles broiled in a stone pot. Either way, with Korean Food, you not only get a delicious main meal, but you get a wide assortment of other foods. Typically, at almost every Korean restaurant, banchan is included for free!

Typically the on a table made for Korean Food you’ll find the following:

  1. Bowl of Rice
  2. Bowl of Soup
  3. Main Dish (Fish, Meat or Poultry)
  4. Banchan (Side Dishes)

Oh and by the way, if you’re not familiar with using chopsticks, better get practicing! Chopsticks are used for everything! Even when grabbing bites of rice!

Check out this link for a web directory. If you’re interested in other things other than Korean Food!