15 Foods You MUST Eat in Korea

Sure, you’ve heard of kimchi and enjoy going out for Korean bbq, but have you heard of gimbap and cheesetella? These 15 foods are not to be missed when traveling South Korea.


Kind of like a sponge cake with a cream filling (but not at all sweet), cheesetella is typically found in bakeshops and is served as a snack or after dinner treat.


It would be hard to avoid Kimchi in Korea, and why would you want to? If there is no other food that epitomizes a culture, kimchi is the definition of Korea.

Seafood pancake / Haemul pajeon

A seafood and green onion pancake topped with chilis and dipped in spicy sauce? Sold.


Korea’s take on sushi, gimbap became a part of Korean cuisine after the Japanese occupation in the early 1900s-but Koreans have made it uniquely their own.

After dinner drinks / Sikhye & Sujeonggwa

Don’t be surprised if you’re handed a fizzy, yellow drink after dinner. Made of rice, juice or whatever alcohol is on hand, it’s a sign of respect for the chef enjoy after a great meal.

Seafood stew / Haemul jeongol

Served in very hot pots sometimes left on a flame, seafood stew is a staple dish across the Korean peninsula. But watch out, it can be spicy!

Chicken skewers / Dakkochi

Another street food classic, Korean chicken skewers are marinated, tossed and then sprinkled with hot sauce. Prepare to sweat!

Blood sausage / Soondae

While blood sausage is found in many cuisines around the world, Korean blood sausage has a blend of spices that you will find nowhere else in the world.

Gyeounju bread / Chalboribbang

There’s a lot of history behind this tiny red bean pasted-filled cookie, but walk the streets of Gyeounju in the south of Korea and you will have a hard time not running into a bake shop.

Fried doughnut / Hotteok

Fried, squishy dough filled with cinnamon and sugar. Forget a bakery, head to the street carts for the best sweets!

Caterpillar stew / Beondegi

Yes, you read that right. Caterpillars are a peasants food that is still enjoyed in the mountains of Southern Korea. You won’t find it in the restaurants, so head to the temples where hawkers are set up outside the gates.

Fried dumplings / Mandu

You’re familiar with steamed, but have you tried fried dumplings? Filled with pork and kimchi, they’re spicy and fried fresh on the street.

Steamed dumplings / Mandu

Don’t worry, Korean has steamed dumplings too. Filled with fish, meat or vegetables–and always kimchi.


Of course you can’t skip the bbq, it’s the lifeblood of Korea. The most popular are pork belly or other fatty cuts, revered for their flavor. Sizzling meat should be the official smell and sound of Korea!

Pickled veggies & all. the. sides.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t technically one food but you can’t do Korea without all the Korean sides. From pickled cabbage to dried seaweed, it’s always a surprise and it’s always delicious.

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