With the XXIII Olympic Winter Games taking place in PyeongChang, Korea is on everyone’s minds. When Aussies think of Korean cuisine, we often think of Korean Barbecue. Those delicious flavours of the kimchi and honey peanuts and the self-cook barbecues that sizzle our meals of choice make for a fulfilling and fun social night out.
But there are so many other components of Korean cuisine: the warm, the chilled, the savoury and the sweet. Here are our top five meal recommendations that you must to try when visiting Korea.
Kal-guksu (noodle soup dish)
Where to get it: Myeong-dong, Seoul
What’s more comforting than a warm noodle soup? In Korea, Kal-guksu is a noodle dish made up of ingredients including handmade wheat flour noodles, broth (made from dried anchovies, shellfish, and kelp) potatoes and Korean zucchini. The broth is usually simmered for hours to create a delicious, fresh and flavourful bowl.
Bindaeduk (savoury mung bean pancakes)
Where to get it: Gwanjang Market
Sink your teeth into Bindaeduk, a savoury pancake made of mung beans, green onions, kimchi and peppers, with a semi nutty taste. The deep fried dish is commonly served with a dipping sauce with tastes of soy, chili and vinegar that goes down perfectly with the crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside texture that makes the Binaeduk so delectable.
Where to get it: Street markets in Seoul
Boong-uh-bang is a fish-shaped bread with red bean or custard filling popular and is a very popular street food found at many of the markets in Seoul. Usually eaten in winter, as you bite into the warm bread, it’s crispy on the outside and with a soft, fluffy middle. Depending on the filling, it can be savoury or sweet.
Where to get it: Famous Head Freeze (popular restaurant in Seoul)
If there is one dessert to try in Korea it’s Patbingsu. It’s an ice dessert that is topped with condensed milk, red beans, chopped fruit and more. We recommend heading straight to the Famous Head Freeze for a taste. They offer traditional and unconventional flavours including red bean (adzuki bean), mixed grains bing su, green tea bing su, coffee bing su, and royal milk tea bing su.
Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup)
Where to get it: Tosokchon (토속촌): 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Samgyetang is a ginseng chicken soup and is an iconic Korean dish traditionally eaten to stay energised. Although it’s a piping hot pot of steaming chicken soup, it’s very popular even in summer. This comfort food is made with a whole young or small chicken that is stuffed with glutinous rice, boiled in broth of ginseng, garlic, ginger, dried red dates, chestnuts and herbs. The broth is tangy and rich and even has health benefits including boosting the immune system.