Speaking of Korean food most people know just “kimchi” (spicy cabbage) or “pulkogi” Korean barbeque). Nowedays Korean cuisine is a wide variety of meat and fish dishes along with wild greens and vegetables. If you order in a Korean restaurant main dish (meat, fish or ricedish) they bring a set of side dishes. The number of side dishes can vary from 3 to 12 and more. Side dishes are served family style with food placed in the middle of the table where every diner picks a piece of this or that.
“Yangnyom kalbi” (Marinated pork or beef ribs grilled on charcoal)
Tender meat slices are grilled right on the table on a pot grill using charcoal. (Not spicy)
“Pibimpap” (Rice mixed with vegetables)
A dish made by mixing rice with other vegetables fried egg, bean sprout, beef and spicy red pepper paste. When odering it you may ask not to put spicy red pepper paste inside, but bring it separately. In Korean it will be “Kochujang ttaro juseyo”.
Kimpap (rice roll)
It’s got the rice and seaweed in common. Inside may be ground beef, yellow pickled radishes, carrots, cucumbers. It is a traditional Korean snack type food, there are different types of kimpap depending on the stuffing. (Not spicy)
“Galbitang” (Beef rib soup)
Beef rib soup is served with rice, the broth is a delight. (Not spicy)
“Samgyetang” (Chicken soup)
Chicken soup with a young chicken stuffed with various ingredients like ginseng, garlic, chestnut, jujube and rice inside.
Mandu is dumplings stuffed with mostly beef, tofu, vegetables. Pork, chicken, or fish is sometimes used instead of beef. (Not spicy in general, except “kimchi mandu”)
Jeon (pan-fried dishes)
Jeon is a kind of pancake made from mushrooms, pumpkin, slices of dried fish, oysters, unripe red peppers, meat or other ingredients which are mixed with salt and black pepper, dipped in flour and egg and fried in oil.
“Pulkogi” (Stewed meat with vegetables)
This dish is prepared right on the table in a special wide bowl. (Not spicy)
– You can eat rice using spoon, sometimes it is considered to be impolite if you eat rice with chopsticks in Korea.
– Since tipping is not required in Korea, you don’t tip in restaurants.
– You can ask to refill side dishes for free!
– It is not impolite to leave some side dishes untouched, you do not need to eat it all.
– Very helpful phrase in Korean: “Un mepke hejuseyo” meaning “Please make in not spicy”.
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