Korean food certainly has a hype about it lately. But we think it’s entirely deserved! Check out our favorite Korean recipes for your next dinner party.
Korean food may be having a moment. As hipster tastes branch further and further out in search of novelty and authenticity, fashion’s gaze has alighted upon the Korean peninsula. But it’s really landed on something good here. Like many culinary traditions, Korean culinary culture is one of the world’s most unique, full of distinctive traditions, rituals, and practices.
One of the unique features of Korean food is its use of kimchi. Kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine, a dish made various vegetables that are salted and fermented. Traditional ingredients include napa cabbage, various types of radishes, chili paste, scallions, garlic, ginger, salted seafood products, and others. Now, in Korea and around the world, kimchi is used as a healthy and delicious way to use up extra vegetables during harvest season.
Another noteworthy and related part of Korean food is its enthusiastic and prodigious use of side dishes. When eating at a Korean restaurant, it’s not uncommon for the entire surface of the table to be almost completely obscured under the various bowls, plates, and saucers that arrive before your food. For someone inexperienced with Korean food, it’s a very special experience—it can even be a bit intimidating! Typical side dishes include bowls of (you guessed it!) kimchi in various types, grilled meats, vegetables, and other popular items. As in other countries of East Asia, rice forms the backbone of Korean cuisine, and almost every meal is served with rice. Rarely, noodles take the place of rice, but usually not.
Korean food is certainly uniquely delicious and worth exploring. We’ve put together a list of our favorite Korean recipes. You’ll find them to be interesting, easy to make, and above all—tasty!
Easy Korean kimchi recipe
We couldn’t start this any other way, could we? If rice is the foundational cornerstone of Korean cuisine, then kimchi is the mortar that holds the whole edifice together. In this simple kimchi recipe, crunchy napa cabbage is paired with radish, scallions, Korean spices, ginger, and garlic. But basically, the biggest part of this recipe is waiting—you spend a day waiting for the cabbage to salt cure, and then an even longer period of time waiting for the fermentation to take place. Fermentation time is affected by a lot of variables: room temperature, salt content, the shape of your fermentation vessel, which vegetables you use, how small the pieces are, and your personal preference. Too short a time, and your kimchi might taste bland, while allowing fermentation to proceed for too long a time can cause the kimchi to taste too strong for some people. How to enjoy your brand new, homemade kimchi? Any way you like! This is essentially both a side dish and a condiment, so put it over rice, eat it with an omelette—the world is your oyster!
Nabak kimchi recipe
Here’s an easy Korean Nabak soup recipe that is a great way to use up lots of vegetables. You start by making simple kimchi—just cabbage and salt in this one, a bit like sauerkraut. That ferments for 4-5 days and is then cooked with various kimchi ingredients like green onions, garlic, daikon radish, chili, and more. This is delicious when served alongside high quality rice: spoon out the various vegetables onto your rice and eat those, allowing the flavorful broth to soak into your rice. This soup makes a great healthy starter to prepare your guests for the heavier parts of the meal.
Easy Korean bibimbap
Bibimbap might be the second-most famous part of Korean cuisine. It’s a delicious one-pot meal made of rice with various toppings on top. Eggs, vegetables, meat, kimchi, and sauces are all quite popular. Traditionally served in a hot stone bowl, the heat from the bowl cooks the bottom of the rice, creating a crispy crunchy layer at the bottom, all while keeping the contents nice and warm. Even if you don’t have stone bowls, you can still get 90% of the way there by having the right ingredients—don’t sweat it! This easy bibimbap recipe is a great way to impress dinner party guests, and they are sure to notice your grasp of Korea’s complicated cuisine.
Korean pork ribs
Korean food might be quite unique when compared to its neighbors, but there have been some influences over the years. One especially obvious foreign influence is the Korean preference for grilled meats: they love them! Korean barbecue is a very popular restaurant concept, and seems to be due to influence from Mongolia and other areas of Central Asia. This Korean-style pork ribs recipe is a great way to really get into Korean food. Sweet, spicy, and salty, these spice-rubbed ribs are marinated in chili, honey, soy sauce, and spices and then roasted in the oven. Serve them with some freshly cooked rice and, of course, some kimchi. A Korean meal wouldn’t be complete without it!