South Korean food – what to try

Going travelling and wondering about South Korean food and what you should try while there? In South Korea they have many different foods (also international ones) so you will definitely not have to go hungry!

South Korean food


Bibimbap is a rice dish that is served in a black bowl and when you get it you can stir all the ingredients together so it keeps cooking. Bibimbap is served with different sauces and vegetables and it is good that you eat with chopsticks and a spoon because the last of the rice is difficult to get with only chopsticks.

South Korean food bibimbap

Pickled radish and kimchi

In Korean restaurants you often get side dishes which usually are at least pickled radish and – of course – kimchi. Sometimes there are other things like fish cakes, Korean noodles and octopus.


“Not sushi”, a waiter answered my friend once. It basically looks like a roll of maki sushi but eaten without wasabi and soy sauce. They have many different fillings (my favourite was tuna). And a good thing to know is that bap means rice (notice bibimbap).

In any convenient store you can also get samgak-gimbap, which is a kimbap in a triangle shape.

South Korean food kimbap

Fried chicken and beer

One of the South Korean foods is eating fried chicken and drinking beer. This is called chimaek.

South Korean food chimek
Chicken with three different levels of spiciness.

Ramyon from the store

Now if you want to save money then ramyon from the store is a cheap and easy choice! They made it very convenient to make a bowl of Korean instant noodles, “ramyon”, because you just add the spices in the bowl and hot water. Super convenient if you, let’s say, live in a dorm where you cannot cook other than with hot water from a water purifier.

eating in south korea ramyon
Ramyon from the store in Seoul.

Korean barbeque

Eating barbeque in Korea was different from what I was used to (having a barbeque outside when it is summer). In South Korea you can get barbeque any time of the year since they have a grill at every table in the restaurants. And then you sit there, cook and share the food with your friends – fun!

south korean bbq


Don’t like spicy food? Then the Chinese Korean dish jajangmyeon is for you. Basically it is noodles with black bean sauce often with pork and vegetables. Sooo yummy!

Jajangmyeon with fried pork and side dishes.

Moving octopus

Now I did not get the chance to taste this but many of my other exchange students did. The octopus is dead but still moving. Just remember to chew it properly so it does not stick to you when you swallow it!


Nope, I did not try dog either. My morals goes a bit against it. But apparently it tastes like beef…

Street food on a stick

Street food is popular in Korea and you can get hot dog on a stick or fish cakes and more. Worth a try!

street food in south korea
Korean street food.

Korean pancake – pajeon

Another nice dish to share with friends: Korean pancake, called pajeon. There are flavours as kimchi and seafood.

korean pancake
Korean pancake.

Pig intestines

Korean pig intestines tastes like sausage. Some in the picture below were quite spicy while the other half was not.

Oh and you can also order rice to fry after you have eaten the pig intestines!

Pig intestines korea
Pig intestines.

Dessert: bingsu

Bingsu is a shaved ice dessert. I tried tomatoe bingsu, chocolate cake bingsu and strawberry cheesecake bingsu. All good and many more flavours to try! This is very popular in the summer.

Korean melon

Fresh and healthy! Resembles cantaloupe melon a bit, which is not so weird since they are from the same higher classification.


I know pizza is not a South Korean food but in Korea they make the pizzas different. The best pizza I tasted was with sweet potatoes, bacon, sauce and sweet potatoes in the crust. But if you want to try carbonara or quesadilla pizza you can get this in Seoul for example.

pizza korea quesadilla
Spicy quesadilla pizza.

Drinks in South Korea? Soju and beer

After trying all the cafes around Korea you might want to go for a drink in the evening. You can get alcohol at any time of day in South Korea. If you are going clubbing you can go out to a convenient store to grab a soju, drink it outside of the store and go back clubbing.

Soju is a spirit that tastes a bit like vodka mixed with water. Luckily there are better tasting ones like blueberry, grapefruit and green apple. And Korean beer is quite basic but good nonetheless.

Rice drink

Worth a try but I did not see the appeal in drinking this drink with grains of rice in it.


Now we have come to the end of my list on South Korean food! Eating in South Korea is fun since you often share the food with your friends and you get to try how well you can handle spicy food. The food is often either spicy or sweet and overall I really recommend trying South Korean food. Oh another thing, food breaks are also good also because most of the places also have free Wi-Fi!

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