Cultured Palate: Dishes from South Korea

One type of Asian cuisine that doesn’t receive enough global attention is Korean cuisine. For many people, the combination of spices and unique ingredients that aren’t found in any other dishes in the world make Korean food completely and totally addicting.

The format of meals can be confusing for a first timer. If you’re eating a sit-down meal, it will generally include a main dish along with several bowls of smaller bites called banchan, which are shared among the diners. If you’ve never explored Korean cuisine, here are a few favorite dishes to get you started.

Kimchi

Kimchi is one of the most well-known dishes of Korean cuisine outside of Korean culture. Made of thinly sliced vegetables that have been left to ferment in spices and salt, kimchi is one of the most popular banchan dishes served in Korea. Several companies have even come up with specialty refrigerators that can hold large quantities of kimchi at the perfect temperature.

The primary ingredients for kimchi are cabbage, radishes, salt, and chilis. Kimchi has been a part of Korean cuisine for around 2000 years, but tongue-tingling chili peppers are a newer addition – they were brought to Korea by Portuguese settlers around 1700.

Nungning20 / Shutterstock

Gochujang

Gochujang is a popular Korean condiment that’s frequently used as a topping, a marinade, and everything in between. It’s made of hot peppers, sticky rice, soybeans, and salt.  All of these ingredients lead to a rich, earthy flavor that lends itself well to both meat and veggie dishes.

However, gochujang isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill hot sauce. Like kimchi, gochujang is fermented, which means it packs a sour punch that you may not find in other types of hot sauce.

Thanthima Lim / Shutterstock

Samgyetang

The Korean version of chicken noodle soup one ups the traditional North American version by including a whole chicken in every single pot. Samgyetang is a popular Korean dish that most Koreans will consume in the summer. The theory is that this aromatic, spicy soup will help regulate your internal temperature while you deal with the humidity and heat of the hot summer days.

Samgyetang is made with plenty of ginseng, and enough Cornish game hen for each diner to have their own. The hens are stuffed with rice, and boiled in the tasty broth until each bite is suffused with the taste of spices, succulent chicken, and perfectly cooked rice.

Hariraya / Shutterstock

PAGE 1 OF 5
SHARE ON

Advertisement

Mini Guide to Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with just over 17,000 islands. It has a population of roughly 261 million people, though over half lives on the island of Java. The nation has a long trading history with other Asian countries and has also been invaded by the Dutch and English Empires. Indonesia is therefore a melting pot of cultures with the largest Muslim population in the world, but also with strong influences from Hinduism and Buddhism, particularly in Bali. It’s also a nature lover’s paradise, with plenty of fauna, volcanoes, beaches, and diving sites.

Mini Guide to Cuba

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean at 109,884 square kilometers, and the second-most populous. It consists of the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, and many small archipelagos.

The Best Distilleries in Scotland

Scotland is one of the world’s foremost producers of whisky and has been dominating the world of malt liquor since the distillation process was introduced to the country in the 15th century. Since then, the pure water of the Highlands has been used to produce some of the most incredible whisky in the world.