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Yum Yum in Korea

When in Korea, eat like the locals do.  Korea’s food scene is diverse with lots of choices but what are some of the foods which are a must-try when in Korea?  We’ve curated a list just for you.

1.            Ginseng Chicken Soup

The ginseng chicken soup or Samgyetang as the locals call it, is a very nourishing soup.  It is a very popular summer dish in Korea as the Koreans believe that the nourishing soup helps to fight off the summer heat.  There are even some restaurants in Korea which serves nothing but Samgyetang on their menu.  Our favourite go-to restaurant for Samgyetang has to be Korea Samgyetang.  This restaurant dates back to 1960 and is usually packed with both locals and tourists.

The soup is boiled with ginseng, Chinese dates and garlic. It makes for a very hearty meal as there’s chicken meat and glutinous rice within the chicken.  You can savour the sweetness of the glutinous rice as it has absorbed the essence of the broth.

Korea Samgyetang

Seoul-si Jung-gu Seosomun-dong55-3

Business hours: 10.00am to 9.00pm daily


2.            Chimaek – Fried Chicken and Beer

Chimaek basically means fried chicken (chikin) and beer (maekju).  This splendid pairing is especially popular with Koreans when they unwind in the evening after a hard day’s work.  Take a bite of the crispy savoury fried chicken and chug that down with a swig of beer and u will understand why this combi is so well loved by the Koreans.

One of the best Korean fried chicken can be found at Kyochon.  This hugely popular Chimaek group has branches in China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, United States.  Wow that’s a lot of chimaek around the world.  Kyochon pride themselves as using fresh chicken free of growth hormones and antibiotics, and they use less batter and oil when preparing their mouth-watering chicken.  When they have been voted by Koreans as the Best Chicken Restaurant for 13 consecutive years you know you wouldn’t want to give this place a miss when you are in Korea.

Kyochon Chicken

371-3 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-guBusiness hours: 12.00pm to 2.00am daily


3.            Eomuk Tang

Eomuk Tang is basically fishcake served on skewers and tang means piping hot broth.  It warms you up during the cold winter weather.  This is a very common and popular street food in Korea so you can easily find this snack at many street food carts and stalls in Korea.  The usual pricing is between 500 to 1000 KRW per stick. 

Busan is most famous for delicious eomuk.  Eomuk comes in various shapes and sizes and textures.  The most common ingredient used for the broth is anchovy.  The anchovy gives the broth a refreshing sweet taste.

4.            Hotteok

Hotteok is the Korean style pancake made of dough and stuffed with brown sugar filling.  There’s the Busan-style hotteok which is named Ssiat Hotteok and is filled with a variety of seeds that are good for the health.

Hotteok does come in an assortment of sweet and savoury versions.  The stuffings could range from red bean paste to onions.  You have to eat the hotteok when it’s freshly made and do beware of the hot sticky filling when you take a bite.   Our favourite hotteok has to be Teolbo’s Hotteok which is immensely popular in Seoul.

Teolbo’s Hotteok

Ssamji-gil, Insa-dong

Jongo-gu, Seoul

Business hours: 2.00pm to 10.00pm daily


5.            Ganjang Gejang

This special Korean delicacy of raw crab marinated in soy sauce is a must-try for crab lovers and anyone who love raw food.  This dish is made by marinating fresh raw crabs either in ganjang (soy sauce) or in a sauce made with chilli pepper powder.

Although this looks like a very simple dish, the preparation process is quite complex.  Fresh crabs are thoroughly cleaned and put into a earthenware where they are soaked in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger and scallions. 

We feel that the best part about eating ganjang gejang is when you add rice into the crab shell and mix it up.  This is when you can taste the savoury and sweet mixture of goodness.  Wonso Masan Halmae Agujjim is a popular haunt for people who are looking for quality Ganjang Gejang.

Wonjo Masan HalmaeAgujjim

10 Gangnam-daero 99-gil

Seocho-gu, Seoul

So these are our favourite foods in Korea, what are some of yours?  Share with us by commenting below.