One of the best aspects of Korea is its food culture! Indeed, the country has a rich and unique taste when it comes to food. Such is the food in Korea that you cannot ignore a separate food tour on your Korea itinerary while vacationing in the country. For a fact, food is everywhere when you are in South Korea, at all times of the day even late at night. Be it street food or the dishes that are served in the high-end restaurants, South Korea never misses a chance to astound food connoisseurs. Talking about the food culture in South Korea, well, the first thing that comes is that locals love to eat outside more than at their home. Koreans prefer to eat outside in places like Insadong, Hongdae, Myeong-dong, and Jongno-gu because it’s what they love, besides they offer cheap Korean food in South Korea. This post is going to be all about Korean food culture which is a must to know for all those who are planning a trip to this enticing country.
Table of Contents
Everyday Food Culture
Just to let you know, Koreans love rice. Hence, you can find rice in almost all Korean dishes. For them, rice is a staple food! Along with that, varieties of other ingredients like sesame seeds, pork, and beef are also loved by the locals. The other main dishes are pot-stews, soups, dried fish, and steamed ingredients. If talking about food specifically, there is a large variety of food for different seasons for different regions. Many tourist hubs like Insadong, Hongdae, and Myeongdong have a large variety of places to choose from for the best food in Hongdae. If you ask any Korean what are those food items that truly represent the traditional Korean food, well, the answer would obviously be Korean kimchi and fermented sauces. Another must thing to know is that Koreans use varieties of seasonings that are made of scallions, soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil, garlic, and red pepper powder.
**Interesting fact about South Korea is they offer more than 250 kinds of Kimchi.**
Street Food Culture
Street food in South Korea is bliss for every food lover. They are not just mouth-watering but are a great option for cheap Korean food. From sweet to savory, you get all sorts of food and snacks on the streets of South Korea. Some of the best places to get street food are Insadong, Myeongdong and Hongdae. Many tourists on their Korea trip make a complete meal from the street food itself. They eat two or three types of street food to make a complete meal. Korean fried chicken, fishcake, dumplings, gimbap, pancakes, spicy rice cakes, and fried snacks are some popular street foods that you can expect to enjoy at any time in South Korea.
**In most cases when you eat Korean fried chicken is always paired with beer or Soju, they call it Chimaek. You can find this dish all over Seoul but some of the best places we have been are in Hongdae, the main drinking hub.**
South Korea Seasonal Food Culture
There are various foods for every season in South Korea. People in South Korea have different tastes and preferences for each season. For like, in the summer season, locals have this habit of eating fruits not just before and after but even in between meals to beat the heat. Cherry tomatoes, cherries, clementines, and kiwis are some popular fruits that are available in the market in South Korea. As the season of winter started approaching, the fruits get replaced by different locals delights (though people also eat fruits during this time). Korean snow pears are one of the most famous local delights. The delicacy is best complemented with BBQ meat.
Tea Culture In Korea
Tea in South Korea is irresistible! It plays an important role in Korean culture. Not many know that Koreans have a special place in their hearts for tea. Since ages, Korean enjoy drinking tea and now have made their tea ceremony which is said to help them meditate and nurture their virtuous spirit. It has been mentioned in the Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, it was Korea where tea was first introduced. Earlier, tea leaves used to preserve for days. Usually, the people in Korea use the same leaves three times to make tea. At the present time, the country is dotted with thousands of dedicated tea clubs and shops that also together played a significant role in developing the tea culture in South Korea.
South Korea Dessert
Korean food culture is incomplete with the dessert. Korean desserts are meant for every occasion. Most of the sweet dishes in Korea are served with tea as refreshments. Not just the Korean desserts taste delectably good but are also appealing in colors and appearance. One of the best things about Korean desserts is that they not just serve as the best treats to tourists but great travel souvenirs as well. Songpyeon, Dasik, Chapssaltteok, Hodo-gwaja, Bungeoppang, Hotteok, Gotgamssan, and Bingsu are some popular desserts of South Korea.
Eating and Mealtime in South Korea
Unlike in America or any other western country where people go out to have dinner they order a huge personal plate of one type of food, Koreans enjoy the communal dish. In Korea, meals are focused on one main item. But they also have ‘banchan’ – the small coastal-sized dishes that are stuffed with little bites. Kimchi, salads, and bean sprout are some popular types of banchan dishes. Just to let you know, eating banchan is a communal thing in Korea. It is shared with everyone on the table.
The meals in Korea usually feature one large communal dish for everyone on the table. From a large pot of ramen to grilled pork, you can see Korean sharing the same food while they sit for dinner. And to let you know, they don’t use plates, the dish directly picked up from the main plate and goes to the mouth.
You must have now understood the reason behind the Korean food culture of being so rich and unique. If you are planning to visit the country, I am sure you will definitely need a guide like must-have Korean food. Not just this, you can also know more about this country day or night through our Korea blog section. and neighborhood guides on all the top things to do. I hope it will help you plan a smooth and hassle-free holiday in Korea.
Chae Won Kim says
I am a Korean student, and I reply for my homework.
In the summer season, locals don’t necessarily eat fruit to beat the heat. Because each house has different food cultures. There are quite a few houses that eat fruits after meals, but this is not Korean culture. According to the Food and Excise Statistics report, the most popular fruits in the supermarket are apples, watermelons, grapes and tangerines. And the food with Korean pears is Yukhoe(Beef Tartare)