As I fondly remember my time in Korea, I miss several things. I miss the friends I made, my students, the lifestyle. But the thing I probably miss more than anything else? The food. Whether you’re in Korea or elsewhere, it’s time you give this cuisine a try.
1) Kimbap 김밥
Kind of like sushi (but not) kimbap shops are on every street corner in Korea, though I’ve seen a few here at home. You can get them in a variety of flavors. I like the standard kimbap rolls which include a plethora of items. Sometimes you’ll get pickles, cheese, crab or hotdogs, but don’t be alarmed. It’s delicious. You can also order different food items at these shops, including ramyeon 라면, mandu (dumplings) 만두, kimchi jigae (stew) 김치 찌개 and about 30 other options I didn’t get around to translating.
2) Galbi 갈비
Otherwise known as Korean barbecue. This is a food you have to work for but oh-so-delicious in the end, galbi restaurants are also common throughout Korea and becoming more popular in the states. There are different types of meat you can get at these particular establishments. I usually rely on the “point and order whatever your finger lands on method,” and have yet to be disappointed. You get strips of meat (that you might have to cut up) to grill yourself. This is when it’s nice to have a man, the presumed grillmaster, so you can sit back and eat all the side dishes while he makes sure the meat is cooked to exactness.
3) Shabu Shabu
Although I’m not sure this food has a Korean origin, restaurants in Korea and America have mastered it well. Shabu Shabu comes in three parts. First, you put meat and veggies into a hot pot. Once cooked, you make your own spring rolls. Fill the rice sheets with meat, veggies, pineapple, whatever, and then dip them in any sauce that fits your liking. After you’ve stuffed yourself, it’s on to the second course. Noodles are added to the remaining broth and you now get to enjoy a delectable soup. And if that wasn’t filling enough, you then add rice and egg to what remains. Every part of the meal being somehow amazingly better than the last.
There are other meals I recommend, but the best part of trying something new is the unexpected. Go to a new restaurant and try a dish you would have never picked otherwise. Most of the time, it works out incredibly well. You won’t know if you don’t try!