Koreans use a huge range of vegetables from wild greens to the leaves of flowers, everything from the sea including seaweed and jellyfish, and all types of meat and poultry in diverse preparations. Koreans may have hundreds of ways to pickle vegetables and wild greens for long storage, but they also prize raw fish and raw meat dishes. These are some of the classic plates you will find in Korean kitchens all over the world. Some represent humble fare and others will be seen most often at family gatherings and events, but all are beloved by Koreans everywhere.
Classic Korean Bibimbap
Korean bibimbap looks gorgeous on the plate. It is also one easily tweaked for more or less spice for different palates. This recipe uses six vegetables, but you can use whatever you have in your refrigerator or garden. Koreans usually eat this rice dish with beef, but can also top bibimbap with just an egg fried sunny-side-up.
Korean Beef Barbecue Bulgogi
Bulgogi is probably the most popular Korean dish, with thinly sliced meat that has a smoky-sweet flavor. You can enjoy it broiled, grilled, or stir-fried. The beef is usually accompanied with lettuce wraps and spicy red pepper paste (gochujang) for wrapping and spicing up the meat.
Korean Dumplings (Mandoo or Mandu)
Korean dumplings (mandoo or mandu) can be added to a beef broth or anchovy broth (mandu guk) and served with a traditional cylindrical rice cake (tteok manu guk). This Korean dumpling recipe is made with ground beef or pork, but you will see them made with chicken or only vegetables. You can prepare them in advance and store them in the freezer
Stir-Fried Korean Noodles (Jap Chae, Chap Chae)
Chap Chae is one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea. The glass noodles are made from mung bean or sweet potatoes, and they become translucent when cooked. You can enjoy this dish cold or hot and as an appetizer or main dish.
Korean Stuffed Chicken Soup With Ginseng (Sam Gae Tang)
Korean stuffed chicken soup is easy to make. Like chicken soup in the West, it is often used as a restorative when you are sick. But it is especially used to fight heat with heat in the summer as the ginseng and ginger will make you sweat and detox.
Sundubu-Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)
Served in a large stone bowl, sundubu-jjigae is a common spicy Korean stew generally made of dubu (tofu), vegetables, mushrooms, seafood, beef or pork, and gochujang (chili paste). Depending on the chef and region, some ingredients are removed, substituted, or added to the mix. Though different variations exist, traditionally, a raw egg is placed on top of the stew and mixed with the soup before serving to add additional flavor to the dish.
There are numerous other traditional Korean food dishes that you will encounter but the most important thing to remember is that rice is a staple diet. When you are eating rice, never raise your bowl of rice from the table. Just try to cook one of the traditional Korean food above and taste their culture by yourself!