There’s nothing like going to Korea without trying their traditional food, whatever that may be. If you haven’t known by now, there is no tipping in Korea and almost all restaurants refill side dishes for free. That means if you’re a kimchi lover, your dreams will come true. However, if you’re not there for the kimchi, then these are the 5 Korean traditional food you must try if you are ever in Korea. You won’t go wrong. Also, if you’re looking for American food such as steak and ribs, good luck with that. You will be paying twice the American price for it.
- Patbingsu (팥빙수). This is a dessert that you would totally love. It’s shaved ice with red beans, fruits, condensed milk, and anything that you want to put in it. If you are ever wondering in Korea and a cafe offers one of these, you must try it. They come in all sizes and shapes and if you are in the Sinchon district, be sure to try out the mountain high Orea Patbingsu. I happened to be in a Jim-Jil Bang when I had my first patbingsu and it was the best shaved ice I ever had.
- Budaejjigae (부대찌개). If you love pho or anything that involves stew, then you will sure love this old school Korean stew. This stew is a mixture of almost any food that you can find. It can range from carrots, ramen, spam, pork, bean sprouts, green onions, hot dogs, rice cakes, and tofu. The best part of this stew is the broth. The broth is like no other and if you happen to eat this stew, be sure to keep it in mind.
- Korean BBQ. Probably one of the most common Korean food that most people eat. There are tons of Korean BBQ restaurants all over Korea, but if you really want to maximize your money’s worth, then I suggest you find an All You Can Eat Korean BBQ Buffet. For 10 dollars, you can have an infinite amount of resources to make your stomach one happy camper. That includes bacon, pork, chicken, beef, lettuce, and their awesome Korean sauce.
Tteokbokki (떡볶이). Three words. Spicy rice cake. Everywhere you go in Korea, you will find restaurants and food carts that sell these. They usually range from 3-5 dollars for a bowl. Depending on where you buy yours, it may be extremely spicy or just flat out good. Out of all the times that I ate Tteokbokki, there was only one time in which it was extremely spicy. If you really love Tteokbokki, then travel to Sindang located on Line 2 to Tteokbokki Street. They sell nothing but Tteokbokki. This food is a must try. You will definitely love it.
- JaeYookDupBap 제육(볶음)더밥. By far my favorite meal of all Korea. The one and only Jaeyookdupbap, also known as spicy rice stirred with pork. Though this may look like a simplistic dish, it tastes delicious. Whatever sauce that they use, its awesome. Every time we went to our favorite Korean restaurant, I always ordered this. For 6 dollars, it will fill your stomach and you will definitely be satisfied.
In September, I met a great guy by the name of Hoony. He was an international student who had studied at UW-Madison and through my friend Lisa, we were introduced to each other. The reason why I point this out is because globalizing the world is key to us moving forward in the world. Not only did he welcome us to Korea, he brought us into his house where his mom cooked us some of the best Korean food I have ever had. He showed us that even though we may be worlds apart, having that connection can bring cultures together and better yet, make life simple.