The Korean culture is quite unique in its approach to food. Food seems to permeate every aspect of life. If you have watched a Korean drama or movie you will undoubtedly have noticed that in at least one scene someone is eating. There are even entire films and dramas based around Korean cuisine. For Koreans food is much more than something to fill the belly – it provides taste, medicine, and a connection to the country. Below are truly the most delicious; these are foods that every Westerner will love as much as Koreans.
3. Bulgogi – Marinated Beef BBQ
Bulgogi is an extremely versatile way of preparing beef and the one most westerners have sampled at Korean restaurants. Typically in the west we eat bulgogi on a korean barbecue – a hot plate in the middle of the table. But in Korea this is just one of many ways. It can be made into a stew (as in the recipe above) or as the basis for other dishes. It is such a versatile marinated meet that you could even use it to replace pulled pork in a western style sandwich. Bulgogi is very thinly sliced beef which is marinated in a sauce made from pear juice, garlic, soy sauce, and many other things. There are as many recipes as their are uses. The end result is a delicious sweet, savory, and soft slice of meat. My favorite way to eat it is to wrap it with a small amount of rice and dipping sauce in a lettuce leaf. It is also incredibly low fat and very healthy.
2. Bibimbap – Mixed Rice
If you try only one recipe from this list – let it be bibimbap. In Korean, “bibim” means “mixed” and “bap” means rice. All of the ingredients except the meat (which is optional) are prepared in advance so you can add them at room temperature to the top of hot steamed rice. You then quickly fry and add the meat and a sunny-side up egg to the top. Bibimbap is usually served with a spicy sauce made from gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) which you can add to your liking – allowing you to control how hot it is. You then use your spoon (Korean food is always served with metal chopsticks and a spoon) to “bibim” it all until it is completely mixed together. The trick then is to see how much you can fit in your mouth in one go! Well, not really, but it tastes so good that that is invariably what happens at my house. This really is a taste sensation and it really is impossible not to fall in love at first bite.
1. Kimchi – Fermented Cabbage
Kimchi is the national dish of Korea. At first it can sound daunting to us westerners because of the word “fermented” but don’t forget that we eat a lot of fermented foods already – yoghurt and bread for example. In the case of kimchi the cabbage is coated leaf by leaf in a delicious spicy mix of hot pepper flakes, garlic, chives, onion, pear juice, and more. It is then able to be eaten right away (in which case it is fresh, not fermented) or you can leave it out of the refrigerator for two or three days to start the fermentation process. As it ferments it develops a rich and slightly sour flavor – true also of German sauerkraut (which means sour herb or cabbage). It lasts for months and is also used as the base for many other dishes such as kimchi stew and even as a filling for kimbap (Korean sushi). Kimchi is such an important dish in Korea that it is eaten with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It may not look pretty but it sure tastes good! And if you don’t have time to make it yourself (it can be a little time consuming) it is always available pre-made at your local Korean grocery.
Korean Restaurant NYC
If you have not yet developed a taste for Korean food at Korean restaurant NYC, you should. It will pay off big when your strength and stamina grow. At Seoul Garden, You can find different tastes when you visit the most established Korean restaurant NYC. Seoul Garden is a Korean BBQ restaurant, but is not only limited to meat. The restaurant can accommodate up to 200 guests, and we have a large variety of menus you will love, from Korean BBQ to soft Tofu stew and Seafood pancakes to dumplings, etc.! Call us at 212-736-9002 for more information.