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  • Writer's pictureDavid Cheung

Eating in South Korea

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Korean cuisine is famous for its unique flavours and cooking techniques. If you're traveling to South Korea, you'll want to try as many traditional Korean dishes as possible. Here's a guide to dining out in South Korea and experiencing traditional Korean cuisine:

Korean BBQ: Korean BBQ is a must-try when dining out in South Korea. You'll find many restaurants that offer a wide range of meat options, including beef, pork, and chicken. The meat is usually cooked at your table on a grill, and you can wrap it in lettuce leaves with a variety of dipping sauces.

Banchan: Banchan refers to the small side dishes that are served with almost every Korean meal. You'll typically receive a variety of banchan, including kimchi, pickled vegetables, and marinated tofu.

Korean Fried Chicken: Korean fried chicken is a popular dish that has gained popularity worldwide. It's crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and served with a variety of sauces.

Jjim: Jjim is a Korean steamed dish that's often made with seafood, beef, or pork. It's cooked in a savory broth with vegetables and served hot.

Gimbap: Gimbap is a popular Korean snack that's similar to sushi. It's made with rice, vegetables, and meat, and rolled in seaweed.

Tteokbokki: Tteokbokki is a spicy dish made with chewy rice cakes, fish cakes, and a spicy sauce. It's often served as street food and is a popular dish among Koreans.

Makgeolli: Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine that's often served with Korean BBQ. It's a slightly sweet and tangy drink that's low in alcohol content.

Soju: Soju is a popular Korean alcoholic beverage that's similar to vodka. It's usually served in small shot glasses and is often paired with Korean BBQ.

When dining out in South Korea, it's important to remember that most restaurants are designed for group dining. It's common to share dishes with others at the table, so don't be afraid to try new things and share with your group.

If you're not sure where to start when it comes to traditional Korean cuisine, look for restaurants that specialize in a specific dish. For example, you can find restaurants that specialize in Korean BBQ, fried chicken, or jjim.

In addition to traditional Korean cuisine, South Korea also has a variety of international restaurants. You'll find everything from Italian to Japanese cuisine in the major cities. However, if you're looking to experience traditional Korean cuisine, it's best to stick to Korean restaurants.

Finally, be prepared for some cultural differences when dining out in South Korea. It's common for servers to leave you alone to enjoy your meal, and tipping is not expected. It's also common to remove your shoes before entering a traditional Korean restaurant.

Just remember to be respectful and enjoy the unique dining experience that South Korea has to offer.


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