Korean food is a feast of sights, smells, and tastes. Eating in Korea is a group activity so diners get individual bowls of rice and soup, everything else is shared. A highlight is the wealth of side dishes—everything from vegetables to kimchi to seafood. There are few set rules about how to eat a given dish, just follow the lead of the people around you and enjoy!
Bibimbap: A bowl of rice topped with meat, veggies, red pepper paste and an egg, bibimbap was originally a traditional Buddhist dish that has become a national staple. Some restaurants serve dolsot bibimbap it in a hot earthen bowl that cooks the ingredients as you mix them together.
Bulgogi: Broadly called "Korean BBQ" in the West, this thinly sliced, marinated beef that diners grill at the table is a must for any meat-lover. Besides, with a name that translates to "fire meat," how could you resist?
Chijimi: This savory pancake comes in many varieties, from seafood to kimchi and goes well with nearly any other dish.
Kimchi: With hundreds of varieties ranging from the spicy to mildly sweet and using everything from cabbage to seafood, kimchi is one of the most distinct and diverse elements of Korean cuisine. It can be a bit of an acquired taste, but once you get hooked, it's hard to go without.
Makgelloi: Korea's (often sweet) rice wine has long been a staple of drinking culture and is making a resurgence among younger drinkers with hip makgelloi bars and mixed cocktails.
Street Food: For a real Korean food experience, sample the wealth of tasty street food like ddeokbokki (chewy rice cakes in a chilli sauce) and bindateok (a savory mung-bean flour pancake).
Navigating the local dining scene can be daunting, but tour companies such as O'ngo Food Communications offer quality dining tours and cooking classes.
O'ngo Food Communications. 02/3446–1607; www.ongofood.com.
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