University of Iowa

My favorite South Korean dishes

May 30th, 2019

 

Taylor

Taylor Wertheim is an Italian and international studies major at the University of Iowa, pursuing a minor in Korean. She is spending an academic year in Seoul, South Korea, on CIEE's Arts and Science program. 

 

 


 

One of my favorite things about South Korea is the many flavorful dishes located all over the country! Although I am unable to tell you everything you should try before heading off to your next adventure, I will give you some of my favorite dishes I have found in Seoul! 

Tofu Stew/순두부찌개

bowl of tofu stew

My absolute favorite dish in Korea is this amazing tofu stew. If you like spicy and flavorful, this is for you! There is an amazing restaurant located in Sinchon, close to Yonsei, that I often go to after class. This dish usually comes with rice and many delicious side dishes. Also! Don't forget to crack an egg into this dish and watch it cook as you dive into this amazing stew.
 

Spicy Rice Cakes/떡볶이

spicy rice cakes on tray

If you are planning to come to South Korea, you absolutely NEED to try ddeokbokki here! It is also a spicy dish made with Korean rice cakes. It is one of my favorite foods and you can find it on the streets or in restaurants dedicated to them! I love eating ddeokbokki and love trying new fusion types of it as well. My suggestion is to first try the original spicy rice cakes and then branch out and find some fusion restaurants. One of my favorite places is called D Dheli and I'm pretty sure they are a chain. I usually go to the one near Ewha Woman's University and I always get the cream cheese version of ddeokbokki. Another great place is Youngdabang Ah Hyun which has great tteokbokki with long noodles you can cut and eat. I love going here because you can get a set meal with a lemonade pitcher and fries with special sauce as well! 

fries with special sauce

 

Korean Braised Chicken/찜닭

If you are looking for cheesy, delicious, flavorful chicken, look no further! Jjimtaek is the best dish to have when you are a cheese-loving chicken-loving eater. If you don't like cheese, you can also order without and still enjoy the spices, rice cakes, dumplings, and other surprises put in this dish to make it taste fantastic! 
 

Beef Bone Soup/갈비탕

bowl of beef bone soup

If you don't handle spicy well, this dish is for you! It is the best soup to have when you are feeling under the weather or if it's starting to get chilly outside. It will warm you up and get you started for the day! 
 

Cold Buckwheat Noodles/냉면

Contrary, if it's super hot outside, this is the dish for you. I was wary to try this, but it quickly became one of my favorite dishes to eat when I'm struggling in the heat! Also, if you are adventurous, try the spicy version of this (it is honestly the spiciest dish I have had in Seoul). Otherwise, you can never go wrong with the original!
 

Shaved Icing/빙수

shaved ice on a tray with spoons

One of my favorite desserts in South Korea is bingsu. This treat is perfect for a hot summer day or when you want to treat that sweet tooth. They have many flavors like mango, chocolate, strawberry, and countless more. It's a great dish to try with friends (mostly because the serving size is huge!). They are located everywhere around Seoul and have many chains, like Sulbing. However, I suggest you try going to a local place as well because those tend to be my personal favorites! 

 

No matter what foods you decide to try, I'm sure you will find the perfect dish for you in Korea. I have yet to be disappointed with a Korean dish. One of the best parts of studying abroad is definitely the food, so my suggestion is to go outside your comfort zone and try something brand new, whether that means trying live octopus or something smaller like cold buckwheat noodles! Korea has so many delicious meals that I'm sure you will leave here wishing you could take the food with you! 

Interested in going abroad? Learn more about first steps

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