It has recently occurred to me that I haven’t written a post about Korean food in a long time. Like, since I first moved here and didn’t even like Korean food all that much. Well, now that many months have passed and I’ve actually grown to LOVE Korean food, I think another Korean food post is long overdue.
I think when a lot of people think about Korean food, their first thought is: Korean BBQ. Barbecued meats are definitely a big part of Korean cuisine and the reason why it’s hard for me to be a vegetarian here! Now, I’ve already talked about traditional beef galbi before, so in this post, I want to talk about other types of galbi.
My absolute favorite kind of Korean food is called Dalk Galbi. Essentially, it’s small pieces of chicken, vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, etc.), tteokbokki (mini rice cakes), and spicy sauce all cooked together which results in glorious, spicy deliciousness.
Next up is Samgyeopsal, which is like the bacon of Korean food. I think an even more accurate comparison would be pork belly, but if you’ve never tried pork belly, the bacon comparison works, too.
Another type of pork galbi is Galmaegisal. I actually prefer this kind or pork galbi over Samgyeopsal because it has a lot less fat. I believe my Korean friend who introduced me to this type of galbi said Galmaegisal comes from the pig’s rib area.
Last, we have barbecued duck meat. I think before I came to Korea, the only kind of duck meat I had tried was roasted duck. A popular way to eat this kind of duck meat is wrapped in a slice of white radish and garnished with a mustard sauce, which probably doesn’t sound very appealing, but it’s actually pretty good.
In case you hadn’t noticed already, the typical Korean BBQ set-up is a table with a grill in the middle. At the start of your meal, the servers will bring over a ton of side dishes: kimchi, salads, vegetables, etc. The best part about these side dishes? They’re free and you get unlimited refills!
Barbecued meats may be a popular part of Korean cuisine, but there are plenty more yummy foods to choose from. Another personal favorite of mine is called Andong Jjimdak: steamed chicken, dangmyeon (sweet potato noodles), vegetables (potatoes, carrots, cucumber, etc.), and ganjang (Korean soy sauce). This particular dish is pretty spicy, but SO GOOD. I crave it all the time.
Finally, I want to give some examples of Korean “fast food”: food that’s fast, cheap, and not necessarily healthy. In this category, some foods I really like are Gimbap (Korean “sushi”), Mandu (dumplings), and Ramyeon (ramen noodles).
It’s so weird to think that I used to not like Korean food when I first moved here; now I crave it all the time and it’s my first choice when it comes to figuring out what to eat for dinner. It’s also crazy to think that before Korea, I used to not enjoy spicy foods and never ate them; now I find myself eating lots of spicy Korean foods and thinking, “This isn’t spicy enough.” I think it goes without saying that Korean food has grown on me a lot over the last year, and it’s definitely going to be one of the things I miss most after I go home.