If you’re someone who loves trying new dishes, you probably know the amazing sensation you get when discovering new tastes. There is nothing better than finding new and delicious dishes that you’ve never tried before. Korean cuisine, especially, is one of the most revered international cuisines that many people savour. Both tourists and locals describe Korean food as not just savoury and spicy, but also healthy and nutritious. 

Whether you’re looking for a new tasty dish to try, or want to discover a whole new cuisine, here’s your chance. Listed below are the most popular Korean dishes and meals that you need to try at least once in your life. Be warned though, that most people convert to these meals after tasting them just once. 

Korean meal

  • Kimchi 

Kimchi has been the signature Korean meal for more than two thousand years. It’s full of nutritious and savoury ingredients including onion, ginger, pumpkin, radish, cabbage, and chili powder. There are numerous variations of this dish according to regional preferences. It can be combined with rice, soups, porridges, and rice cakes. It is also used to make many other subsequent dishes. People familiar with Korean cuisine consider kimchi to be a foundational meal in Korean dining. 

  • Bulgogi 

Bulgogi, or marinated beef barbeque, is one of the most popular Korean dishes for both tourists and locals. Garlic and sliced onions are added to the mix to add flavour to the meat. It is usually combined with ssamjang, a red spicy paste. You’d be surprised to find that this dish is available in many places throughout the world. Today, it’s not hard to find Korean barbecue in Las Vegas or New York. The special thing about this meal is its unique marination method. Before cooking, the meat is marinated in soy sauce, ginger, onions, black pepper, and sugar for 2 to 4 hours. This is ample time for all of the flavour to seep into the meat, making it deliciously flavorful and tender. 

  • Bibimbap 

Bibimbap is available as a meat-based or vegetarian dish and is a must-try Korean meal. It is full of delicious flavours and spices. Usually combined with rice, vegetables, and a fried egg, bibimbap is a favourite staple among locals and tourists alike. This dish is perfect for people who love seafood. There’s also a variation of this meal that replaces meat with raw seafood such as tuna, salmon, or octopus.

  • Soy Sauce Crab 

If you like the thrill of trying completely new food items, this meal is ideal for you. It is a bitter-tasting savoury food item that is quite addictive for many Koreans. The curious and unique part about this meal is that it’s eaten cold rather than hot. This one’s also for the sea-food enthusiasts, but can also be recommended for people who enjoy spicy and savoury food in general.  

  • Chimaek 

Chimaek is made from two main ingredients that combine to form a very tasty meal. It is a pairing of fried chicken and beer and is usually considered to be an evening or supper meal in most parts of Korea. Once you taste this dish in its full glory, you’re likely to forget any kind of fried chicken you’ve had before. The chicken is often coated with a sweet and spicy sauce which adds a spicy kick to the delicious meal. 

  • Tteokbokki (Red Rice Cakes)

Considered to be traditional street food, tteokbokki is distinguishable by its bright red colouring. It is made with thick slices of boiled rice cakes combined with different vegetables which are then fried to create a crunchy sensation. A special sauce made with chili paste and soybean paste is used to coat the fish cakes when they’re stirred,  and then scallions are added as a finishing touch. If you’re a lover of spicy food, this dish is the one for you. 

  • Patbingsu

This one’s for dessert lovers who wondered if Korean food only includes spicy meals. Patbingsu is one of the most famous desserts in Korean cuisine.  It is full of sweet toppings that are combined with a mountain of ice shavings. The dessert is topped with chopped fruits, mostly mangoes, and peaches. This dish is usually served in a big bowl following Korean traditions.  

  • Japchae 

Japchae is a traditional Korean side dish often accompanying the main course. It is prepared with stir-fried potatoes, meat, vegetables, sugar, and soy sauce. Mushrooms are also a common ingredient in this noodle dish. It has a soft and chewy texture combined with a sweet and spicy flavour. 

Korean cuisine is mostly associated with certain spices, and food items, but there are hundreds of different Korean dishes and meals waiting to be discovered. If you’re a fan of Chinese food, you’ll find Korean food to your liking because of its similar flavours.  Korean food is a must-try if you’re someone looking to try new flavours and cuisines.