Top foods to try in South Korea

If you like to sample the local cuisine on your travels, you’ll love South Korea.

In the capital Seoul, the locals are obsessed by their food. The streets are packed full of restaurants which battle to perfect their version of a certain dish, and the aroma of street food sizzling on kerbside stalls is a temptation hard to resist.

Rice is the mainstay of Korean cuisine and seafood is very popular. Intense and full of flavour, spices and sauces are commonly used, with sesame oil, chilli, soy sauce, garlic and ginger some of the favourites. You’ll quickly come to realise that meals are served with lots of side dishes – sometimes as many as 12 – and often these will include pickled vegetables, like kimchi – one of Korea’s most famous dishes.

Here we turn the spotlight on some of our favourite specialities, dishes which will give you a real taste of South Korea.


As we’ve already said, kimchi is probably the most famous Korean dish of all, it usually consists of pickled cabbage flavoured with chilli pepper powder, garlic and spices. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, you’ll find that kimchi is served with practically every Korean meal.

Korean barbecue

Another well-known speciality, the Korean barbecue is simplicity itself. You just order yourself some meat, usually pork or beef, and cook it to your liking on the grill in the middle of the table.


Steamed rice is a staple of the Korean diet and in this dish it’s mixed with sautėed vegetables, a fried egg and maybe some meat. Flavoured with chilli paste, it’s often served in a hot earthenware pot.

Chimaek (Korean fried chicken)

Quite simply, Chimaek is a combination of chicken and beer. The fried chicken comes in many different varieties, there are styles to suit all tastes and you just wash it all down with a refreshing glass of beer.


This dish is popular in the summer, it consists of buckwheat noodles served cold with vegetables, egg and chilli sauce.


Tteok are rice cakes shaped like a tube, here they are smothered in a sweet chilli sauce, and sometimes other ingredients are added such as cabbage, onions or fishcakes.

Whatever delicacies you choose to sample, you should also try the local spirit soju. It’s a rice liquor with a smooth clean taste and it comes in a range of flavoured varieties as well.

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