- Galbi (Marinated and Grilled Beef Ribs)
- A favorite among both Koreans and foreigners, galbi refers to a variety of gui (grilled dishes) that is made with marinated beef (or pork) short ribs in a ganjang-based sauce (Korean soy sauce). The dish's full name is galbi gui, meaning “grilled ribs”, although "gui" (grilled) is commonly omitted to refer to it. For the most part, galbi generally refers to beef ribs and may be called sogalbi (소갈비) or soegalbi (쇠갈비), however the prefix "so" or "soe" (beef) is often omitted. It is also called sutbul galbi (숯불갈비) when charcoal-grilled. As the literal meaning is "rib", galbi dishes can also be made with pork ribs or chicken. In such cases, the dish is called dwaeji galbi (돼지갈비) or dak galbi (닭갈비) to emphasize the main ingredient. There is also tteokgalbi (떡갈비), which is beef ribs shaped into patties and LA galbi (LA갈비), which is beef ribs thinly cut across the bone.
The meat is marinated in a sauce made primarily from soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. However, several variations of the marinade exist including recipes that utilize sesame oil, rice wine or gochugaru (고추가루; red chili pepper paste). In recent years, fruit juice, lemon-lime soda and honey have become common additional ingredients.
Galbi is generally served in restaurants known as "galbi houses", and the meat is cooked right at the diners' tables on grills set in the tables (usually by the diners themselves). It is typically served with ssamjang (쌈장), a sauce made of fermented bean paste and red pepper paste used as a dipping sauce; lettuce, perilla, or other leafy vegetables used to wrap the meat; and banchan (반찬; side dishes) such as sliced raw garlic, green chili peppers, shredded green onions, sliced raw onions and kimchi.
- Bibimbap (Rice Mixed with Vegetables and Beef)
- Bibimbap is Korea’s most representative dish. Bibimbap has been gaining popularity worldwide as of late due to its low-calorie, high nutritional content. It is Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite dish and has also been voted as one of the best airline meals around.
Bibimbap literally means "mixed meal" and is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with various types of namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (red chili pepper paste), usually with a raw or fried egg or sliced beef added on top. The ingredients are mixed together thoroughly just before eating. Vegetables commonly used in bibimbap include julienned cucumber, zucchini, mu (무; daikon or white radish), mushrooms, doraji (도라지; bellflower root), and gim (김; laver), as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and gosari (고사리; bracken fern stems). Dubu (두부; tofu), either plain or sautéed, or a leaf of lettuce may be added and chicken or seafood may be substituted for beef. For visual appeal the vegetables are often placed so that adjacent colors complement each other. The provinces of Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are especially famous for their versions of bibimbap.
A variation of this dish, dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥; "dolsot" meaning “stone pot”), is served in a very hot stone bowl in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. (The bowl is very hot and is not meant to be touched).
- Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of vegetables that have been seasoned and fermented. It is the most common banchan (반찬; side dish) and is always served with every Korean meal. It has been named as one of the world’s healthiest foods due to its low calorie content and for being rich in fiber, vitamins A, B and C, calcium and iron. It also contains lactic acid bacteria, a type of healthy bacteria that regulates digestion. Kimchi is also said to boost your immune system and reduce cancer growth.
There are over 300 different varieties of kimchi, some of which are not fermented. Kimchi varieties are determined by the main vegetable ingredients used and the mix of seasonings used to flavor the kimchi. The most popular type of kimchi is baechu kimchi (배추 김치), in which napa cabbage is the main ingredient, but there are many regional and seasonal varieties. Popular variants include ggakdugi (깍두기); which is a kimchi made with cubed radish; pa kimchi (파김치; “pa” meaning “scallions”); chonggak kimchi (총각김치; “chonggak” meaning “whole radish kimchi”); oisobagi (오이소박이), a cucumber kimchi with hot and spicy seasoning; yeolmu kimchi (열무김치; “yeolmu” meaning young radish); and mul kimchi (물김치), a watery kimchi that can be characterized as a cold soup of vegetables.
Kimchi is also a main ingredient for many popular Korean dishes such as kimchi jjigae (김치찌개; kimchi stew), kimchi jeon (김치전; kimchi pancake) and kimchi bokkeumbap (김치볶음밥; kimchi fried rice).
- Bulgogi (Flame-grilled Beef)
- Bulgogi (불고기) is made from thinly sliced sirloin or other prime cuts of beef. Bulgogi is normally grilled, although pan-cooking is common as well. Before it is cooked, the meat is marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and other ingredients such as scallions and mushrooms, particularly white button or shiitake.
Bulgogi is often grilled or fried with whole cloves of garlic, sliced onions, and chopped green peppers. It is sometimes served with lettuce, perilla, or other leafy vegetables used to wrap the meat, which is then dipped in ssamjang (쌈장), a sauce made of fermented bean paste and red chili pepper paste and other banchan (반찬; side dishes). Bulgogi is considered to be the most popular meat dish among both Koreans and foreigners.
- Makgeolli (Traditional Korean Rice Liquor)
- Makgeolli (막걸리) is a traditional rice liquor native to Korea and is about 6.5 – 7% alcohol by volume. It is made by fermenting a mixture of steamed glutinous rice, barley or wheat with water and nuruk (누룩; a type of yeast). Unlike other traditional clear liquors like soju (소주) or cheongju (청주), makgeolli is not distilled after fermentation, giving it a unique, opaque and milky off-white color. Because makgeolli is fermented and unfiltered it is known as a healthy drink rich in fiber, protein and lactic acid bacteria, a type of healthy bacteria that regulates digestion.
One of Korea’s oldest alcoholic beverages, it was originally popular among farmers, earning it the name nongju (농주), which means "farmers’ alcohol". However, nowadays makgeolli makers have been coming out with new makgeolli creations, adding colorful twists such as fresh fruit to make “makgeolli cocktails”, making makgeolli more popular in cities, especially with the younger generation.
Makgeolli is also referred to as takju (탁주), which means “murky, cloudy alcohol”, due to its appearance, and baekju (백주), which means “white alcohol”, due to its characteristic milky white color. Dongdongju (동동주) is a drink very similar to makgeolli, the major difference being that grains of rice float on the surface of the former. Both are commonly imbibed alongside jeon (전), savory pancake-like fritters. Popular jeon varieties include pajeon (파전; green onion pancake) and bindaetteok (빈대떡; mung bean pancake).
- Jeon (Korean Pancake)
- Jeon (전), buchimgae (부침개), jijimgae (지짐개), or jijim (지짐) refer to many pancake-like dishes in Korean cuisine. Jeon is made by mixing various ingredients such as sliced meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables depending on the style, with rice or wheat flour batter (sometimes also coated with egg batter) and then pan-frying with oil.
Jeon is commonly eaten as an appetizer, as banchan (반찬; side dishes), or as anju (안주; food that is eaten while drinking alcoholic beverages). Jeon is also served as an important food for jesasang (제사상; ceremonial table setting for jesa, ancestor worship) and janchi (잔치; feast or festival). The jeon used for jesa is called gannap (간납) or gannam (간남). Bindaetteok (빈대떡; mung bean pancake), pajeon (파전; green onion pancake), haemulpajeon (해물파전; seafood green onion pancake) and kimchijeon (김치전; kimchi pancake) are some of the more popular varieties. Jeon is often paired with makgeolli (막걸리; traditional rice liquor), especially on rainy days.
- Hanjeongsik (Traditional Korean Table d'Hote)
- Hanjeongsik (한정식) is a formal, full-course traditional Korean meal mainly comprised of jeonchae (전채; appetizers); jusik (주식; main dishes), which are staple foods made from grains; busik (부식; subsidiary dishes) in the form of banchan (반찬; side dishes); and husik (후식; dessert).
Hanjeongsik is the modernized version of the traditional table setting known as bansang (반상). Bansang is the basic table setting for a traditional meal and consists of bap (밥; cooked rice); guk or tang (국 / 탕; soup); jjigae (찌개; stew); various sorts of jang (장; fermented condiments in which soybeans are the primary ingredient) such as gochujang (고추장; red chili pepper paste) and ganjang (간장; Korean soy sauce); and various sorts of kimchi. According to the number of banchan that is added, the table setting is called as samcheop bansang (삼첩 반상; 3-dish setting), ohcheop bansang (오첩 반상; 5-dish setting), chilcheop bansang (칠첩 반상; 7-dish setting), gucheop bansang (구첩 반상; 9-dish setting) or shibicheop bansang (십이첩 반상; 12-dish setting). The last one, shibicheop bansang, is also known as suratsang (수라상) and was only used in Korean royal courts. The general rule of thumb is that the more formal the meal, the more banchan there is. In bansang, all of the dishes are served at once and the ingredients, seasonings and styles of cooking for each of the dishes are always different to ensure varying nutritional benefits and flavors.
Unfortunately, because all of the dishes are served at once when eating bansang-style, hot foods cannot be enjoyed properly, and much of the food that is prepared goes to waste as it is nearly impossible to eat all of the dishes. Hanjeongsik however, is essentially like bansang in every way except that the dishes are served one after another, instead of all at once. In hanjeongsik, banchan are set in the middle of the table to be shared and are served in small portions, meant to be finished at each meal and are replenished during the meal if necessary. Only bowls of cooked rice and guk (국; soup) are set individually. In a sense, hanjeongsik can be seen as a version of bansang that evolved to fit modern day society.
- Japchae (Glass Noodles with Sautéed Vegetables)
- Japchae (잡채) is a popular favorite with both Koreans and foreigners. It is a customary dish that is always served at parties and at special occasions such as birthdays and weddings. Japchae is commonly served as a side dish, although it may be served as a main dish. As a main dish it is often served on a bed of rice. Together with rice it is known as japchaebap (잡채밥), bap (밥) meaning "rice."
The word “japchae” literally means "a mixture of vegetables”. Japchae was originally made without noodles as the name suggests, and was instead comprised of only various thinly shredded vegetables. However, the japchae that most are familiar with today is a dish that is made from dangmyeon (당면; cellophane noodles), stir-fried in sesame oil with various thinly-sliced vegetables, sometimes with beef added. Vegetables commonly used for japchae include carrots, onions, spinach and mushrooms. Ganjang (간장; Korean soy sauce) and sugar are added for flavor and it is often served garnished with sesame seeds and slivers of chili. Japchae may be served hot or cold.
- Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly)
- Samgyeopsal (삼겹살) is Korea’s most popular pork dish. Commonly served as an evening meal, it consists of thick, fatty slices of pork belly meat (similar to uncured bacon). The meat, usually un-marinated and un-seasoned, is cooked on a grill at the diners' table, usually by the diners themselves. It is popularly consumed both at restaurants and at home, and also used as an ingredient for other Korean dishes, such as kimchi jjigae (김치찌개).
Samgyeopsal usually comes with at least two dipping sauces; ssamjang (쌈장), a sauce made of fermented bean paste and red chili pepper paste and gireumjang (기름장), a sauce made with salt and sesame oil, sometimes also with a small amount of black pepper. Usually ssamjang is used when a diner eats samgyeopsal with vegetable accompaniments, and gireumjang is used when a diner wants to taste the cooked meat itself. Samgyeopsal is typically served with lettuce, perilla, or other leafy vegetables used to wrap the meat alongside banchan (반찬; side dishes) such as sliced raw garlic, sliced green chili peppers, shredded green onions, sliced raw onions, and aged kimchi (mugeunji; 묵은지). Garlic, onions, and kimchi can be either grilled with the meat or consumed raw with the cooked meat.
- Bossam / Jokbal (Pork Wraps / Pigs' Trotters)
- Pork is an important land-based protein for Korea and has been a part of the Korean diet for many centuries. All parts of the pig are used in Korean cuisine and are prepared using a variety of cooking methods including steaming, stewing, grilling, boiling and smoking. Two of the most popular pork dishes in Korea are bossam and jokbal.
Bossam (보쌈) is a type of ssam (쌈) in Korean cuisine. Ssam (쌈), literally meaning "wrapped," refers to dishes in Korean cuisine in which leafy vegetables are used to wrap a piece of meat, often accompanied by a condiment known as ssamjang (쌈장; a sauce made of fermented bean paste and red chili pepper paste) and is often topped with raw or cooked garlic, onion, green chili peppers or banchan (반찬; side dishes) such as kimchi. In the case of bossam, the meat used is steamed pork. Bossam is also often eaten with a sauce called saeujeot (새우젓; salt fermented shrimp). Bossam is a popular dish in Korea, and is served as a main dish or as anju (안주; food that is eaten while drinking alcoholic beverages).
Jokbal (족발) is a boiled and seasoned pig’s trotters dish, made by boiling pigs’ feet in water along with leeks, garlic, ginger, cheongju (청주; rice wine), sugar and soy sauce. The bones are removed and the meat is cut into thick slices before serving. Like bossam, it is served on a large platter meant to be shared with other diners, and eaten with saeujeot (새우젓; salt fermented shrimp). Due to its unique greasiness and strong flavor, jokbal is eaten in the same manner as other Korean grilled meats are eaten, wrapped in lettuce along with other vegetables. As jokbal is considered an anju, it is often eaten with soju or other alcoholic beverages. Jokbal has rich amounts of gelatin derived from the collagen inside pork skin, which is known to be good for the skin and effective at preventing wrinkles. Jokbal is also known to be effective at preventing hangovers.
- Guksu / Myeon (Noodles)
- All noodle dishes in Korean cuisine are collectively referred to as guksu (국수) or myeon (면). Although many varieties of guksu or myeon are commonly eaten today, noodles were considered a delicacy in ancient Korea due to the scarcity of wheat. As a result, guksu or myeon dishes were only eaten on special occasions such as weddings and birthdays. Guksu or myeon also became a representative celebratory dish because the long and continued shape of the noodles was thought to symbolize longevity and long-lasting marriage.
Although there are many varieties of guksu or myeon, janchi guksu (잔치국수) and kalguksu (칼국수) are two of the more popular dishes among foreigners. Janchi guksu is made of wheat flour noodles in a light broth made from anchovy and/or dasima (다시마; kelp), or beef. It is served with a sauce made with sesame oil, ganjang (간장; Korean soy sauce), scallions, garlic and a small amount of gochugaru (고추가루; red chili pepper powder). Thinly sliced jidan (지단; fried egg), gim (김; dried laver) and zucchini are added as garnishes.
Kalguksu is made of handmade, knife-cut wheat flour noodles in a broth made from dried anchovies, shellfish, dasima (다시마; kelp), beef or chicken. Various vegetables are added as well, typically zucchini, potatoes and scallions. The name “kalguksu” literally means “knife noodles” and comes from the fact that the noodles are not extruded or spun, but cut.
- Naengmyeon (Chilled Buckwheat Noodles)
- Naengmyeon (냉면) literally translates to “cold noodles” and is a popular dish to eat in the summer. Naengmyeon is made of long, thin hand-made noodles, typically made from the flour and starch of various ingredients such as memil (메밀; buckwheat), potatoes, sweet potatoes or chik (칡; kudzu). Varieties with ingredients such as seaweed and green tea are also available. In the past, the long noodles were not cut before being consumed because they symbolized longevity and good health, but nowadays servers at restaurants usually ask diners want their noodles cut prior to eating and use food scissors to cut the noodles.
The two main varieties of naengmyeon are mul naengmyeon (물냉면) and bibim naengmyeon (비빔냉면). The former is served with noodles in a tangy iced broth made from beef, chicken or dongchimi (동치미; radish kimchi). Spicy mustard sauce and vinegar are often added before consumption. The latter is served with a spicy dressing made primarily from gochujang (고추장; red chili pepper paste) and eaten all mixed together. Usually a bowl of the soup broth used in mul naengmyeon or plain broth from the boiled noodles themselves is often served on the side. Both versions come with julienned cucumbers, slices of Korean pear, and either a boiled egg or slices of cold boiled beef added on top.
Other popular varieties of naengmyeon include yeolmu naengmyeon (열무냉면), a type of mul naengmyeon that is served with yeolmu kimchi (열무김치; 열무 meaning “young radish”) and hoe naengmyeon (회냉면), a type of bibim naengmyeon served with marinated hoe (회; raw fish), typically skate.
- Doenjang Jjigae / Cheonggukjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew / Rich Soybean Paste Stew)
- Doenjang jjigae (된장찌개) is a variety of jjigae (Korean stew) made with doenjang (된장; fermented soybean paste), vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, scallions, zucchini, mu (무; daikon or white radish) and dubu (두부; tofu). Sometimes seafood and/or beef are added. Garlic, ginger, gochugaru (고추가루; red chili pepper powder), slices of green chili peppers and anchovies may be added for additional flavor. It is always served piping hot in an earthenware pot and served with a bowl of cooked white rice and several banchan (반찬; side dishes). As one of the oldest foods in Korea and one of the most popular, doenjang jjigae is a quintessential Korean dish.
Cheonggukjang jjigae (청국장찌개) is a variety of jjigae (Korean stew) similar to doenjang jjigae except that it is made with cheonggukjang (청국장; rich fermented soybean paste) instead of doenjang. Cheonggukjang itself is very similar to doenjang in that they are both pastes made from fermented soybeans. However, cheonggukjang has a much longer fermentation period and is therefore more pungent, giving off a very strong odor that is not universally enjoyed. Cheonggukjang also contains some whole, uncrushed soybeans.
Doenjang and cheonggukjang are both considered very healthy foods with several nutritional benefits. They are rich in flavonoids which are known for their anti-carcinogenic properties. They are also rich in linoleic acid and linolenic acid, which are effective in the prevention of blood-vessel-related diseases. In addition, the soybeans used to make doenjang and cheonggukjang are an abundant source of protein and about 20 different kinds of amino acids are developed through the fermentation process. They are also known for their anti-oxidant properties and for their digestive properties.
- Sundubu Jjigae (Spicy Soft Tofu Stew)
- Sundubu jjigae (순두부찌개) is a variety of jjigae (Korean stew) that is made with uncurdled dubu (두부; tofu); seafood such as oysters, mussels, clams and shrimp; vegetables such as mushrooms, onions and scallions; and gochujang (고추장; red chili pepper paste) or gochugaru (고추가루; red chili pepper powder). There are several variations of this dish that include other ingredients such as kimchi, mandu (만두; Korean dumplings), beef or pork. Sundubu jjigae is typically hot and spicy, but there are non-spicy variations and variations where there is no seafood. It is always served piping hot in an earthenware pot and a raw egg is cracked into it before consuming (while it is still boiling). This dish is eaten with a bowl of cooked rice and several banchan (반찬; side dishes). It is widely eaten and is a popular favorite among Koreans and foreigners.
- Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup)
- Samgyetang (삼계탕), which literally translates to "'ginseng chicken soup", is a variety of tang (탕; soup) in which a whole young chicken is stuffed with Korean ginseng and glutinous rice and cooked in a broth of its own juices. Although samgyetang is considered to only have three main ingredients, other ingredients such as dried jujube fruits (Korean dates), chestnuts, pine nuts, garlic and ginger are commonly added, used to stuff the chicken, add flavor to the broth or both. Depending on the recipe, other medicinal herbs such as gugija (구기자; goji berry or wolfberry), dangsam (당삼; Codonopsis pilosula), danggwi (당귀; Angelica sinensis) and hwanggi (황기; Astragalus or milk-vetch root) may also be added.
Like chicken soup, which is thought to help common sicknesses in the West, it is widely believed in Korea that samgyetang can both cure and prevent physical ailments. Proteins and minerals from the whole chicken mixed with the beneficial properties of the ingredients combined in the dish make it a revered culinary item in South Korea. Only whole uncut ingredients are used for the dish, as they are believed to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients. Many Koreans enjoy samgyetang on three specific days in the summer: Chobok (초복), Jungbok (중복), and Malbok (말복), which Koreans believe to be the hottest and most sultry days of the year. It is believed that the dish’s high nutritional content replaces the important vitamins and minerals lost through excessive sweating and physical exertion during the summer.
- Tteokbokki (Stir-fried Rice Cake)
- Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is Korea’s most popular snack food and is commonly purchased from pojangmacha (포장마차; street vendors), making it also Korea’s most popular street food. Tteokbokki can be divided into two types; gungjung tteokbokki (궁중 떡볶이) made with ganjang (간장; korean soy sauce), and spicy tteokbokki made with gochujang (고추장; red chili pepper paste).
Gungjung tteokbokki (“gungjung” meaning “royal”) is the original version of tteokbokki, and was once a part of Korean royal court cuisine. Gungjung tteokbokki is a stir-fried dish consisting of garaetteok (가래떡; cylinder-shaped tteok) combined with a variety of ingredients such as beef, mung bean sprouts, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and onions, and seasoned with soy sauce.
Then in the 1950s, a new type of tteokbokki became very popular. While the older version was a savory dish, this newer type was spicy (due to the use of gochujang), and quickly became more popular than the older traditional dish. Although gungjung tteokbokki is still eaten today, the newer, spicier version of tteokbokki is the kind that most people are familiar with. Other ingredients added to tteokbokki include boiled eggs, odeng (오뎅; fish cakes), pan-fried mandu (만두; Korean dumplings), sausages, ramyeon (라면; ramen noodles) and cheese.
- Gimbap (Korean Rolls)
- Gimbap (김밥) is a popular favorite with both Koreans and foreigners. Gimbap is often eaten during picnics or outdoor events, or as a light lunch. The basic components of gimbap are bap (밥; cooked rice); meat or other protein-rich ingredients; a large variety of vegetables, pickled, roasted or fresh; and gim (김; sheets of dried laver). Traditionally, the rice is lightly seasoned with salt and sesame oil. Popular protein ingredients are odeng (오뎅; fish cakes), imitation crab meat, eggs, and/or seasoned beef rib-eye. Vegetables usually include cucumbers, spinach, carrots, ueong (우엉; burdock root) and danmuji (단무지; pickled radish). After the gimbap has been rolled in gim, it is usually brushed with sesame oil and/or sprinkled with sesame seeds then sliced into bite-size pieces. It is typically served with danmuji (단무지; pickled radish) or kimchi.
Besides the common ingredients listed above, some varieties may include cheese, kimchi, tuna, spicy cooked squid, nalchial (날치알; flying fish roe) or luncheon meat. In one variety of gimbap, sliced pieces of gimbap are coated with egg batter and then lightly fried.
There are also two other forms of gimbap that are commonly eaten, chungmu gimbap and samgak gimbap. Chungmu gimbap (충무김밥) is a unique gimbap made without any ingredients inside the roll. Originating from the seaside city of Chungmu, the rolls are thinner than regular gimbap and the surface is not brushed with sesame oil. Chungmu gimbap is traditionally served with side dishes of kolddugi muchim (꼴뚜기 무침), sliced baby octopus marinated and fermented in a spicy red chili pepper sauce, and radish kimchi (무김치). Samgak gimbap (삼각김밥) is a triangle-shaped gimbap that is sold in many convenience stores in Korea. Samgak gimbap also comes in many varieties.
- Juk (Porridge)
- Juk (죽) is a general term that refers to various porridge dishes in Korean cuisine. It is served warm and eaten at all times of the day. Juk is known to have nutritional benefits, and is considered to be beneficial to digestion because of its soft texture. It is a staple "get well" dish and is commonly eaten when one is sick or recovering from bad health. Juk is also considered an ideal food for babies.
The most basic form of juk is heenjuk (흰죽; white juk), which is made from plain white rice. Being largely unflavored, it is served together with a number of more flavorful banchan (반찬; side dishes). Other varieties of juk include different ingredients such as milk, vegetables, seafood, nuts, beans and other grains. Some of the more popular varieties are hobakjuk (호박죽; pumpkin porridge), jeonbokjuk (전복죽; rice porridge with abalone), patjuk (팥죽; red bean porridge) and jatjuk (잣죽; pine nut porridge).
- Tteok / Hangwa (Rice Cake / Traditional Korean Sweets)
- Tteok (떡) is a type of rice cake that is made from glutinous rice flour (also known as sweet rice or chapssal). Although there are about 200 different varieties of tteok, they are largely divided into four different categories, based on the method of preparation: steamed tteok, boiled tteok, pounded tteok and pan-fried tteok. The ingredients for tteok can also range, from just simple sweet rice flour to tteok filled with various nuts, beans and dried fruit. Although tteok is a common food that is eaten at all times of the day and at all times of the year, tteok is also considered a celebratory food and is always present at every special event, celebration, and during the holidays. During Seollal (Lunar New Year's Day), tteok is eaten in the form of a rice cake soup called tteokguk (떡국). Yaksik (약식) is eaten during Jeongwol Daeboreum, which is a kind of tteok made of sweet rice, nuts and jujube fruits. Songpyeon (송편), a kind of tteok shaped like a half-moon and stuffed with various sweet fillings and steamed with pine needles, is eaten during Chuseok. As one can guess, tteok comes in many shapes, colors and sizes.
Hangwa (한과) is a general term for traditional Korean confectionery. Common ingredients in hangwa are grain flour, honey, yeot (엿; Korean taffy), sugar, fruit or edible root. Although there are several different varieties of hangwa, only a few of them are considered celebratory foods and are served during important events such as weddings, ancestral rites, and holidays. Yakgwa (약과), literally meaning "medicinal confectionery" is a flower shape biscuit made of honey, sesame oil and wheat flour. Dasik (다식), literally meaning "tea snack," is made by kneading and pressing flour or powder with honey, nuts and/or herbs. Dasik flour or powder is usually made from either rice, chestnuts, soybeans, nongmal (녹말; starch made from potatoes, sweet potatoes or soaked mung beans), songhwa (송화; pine pollen) or black sesame seeds. Gangjeong (강정) is a sweet, hollow puff made from glutinous rice flour and liquor. It is usually coated in honey and other ingredients such as black bean, sesame seed, cinnamon and pine nuts.
- Eumcheongnyu (Traditional Non-Alcoholic Beverages)
- All traditional Korean non-alcoholic beverages are referred to as eumcheongnyu (음청류). Among the eumcheongnyu, various cha (차; Korean tea), various hwachae (화채; traditional Korean punch), sikhye (식혜), and sujeonggwa (수정과) are still widely favored and consumed, usually after meals.
Cha, or Korean tea, refers to various types of tisane (herbal teas) that can be served hot or cold. Not necessarily related to "common" tea, cha can be made from diverse ingredients including fruit, leaves, roots, and grains used in traditional Korean medicine.
Hwachae is a general term for traditional punches made from various fruits or edible flower petals soaked in omija (Schisandra chinensis berries) or honeyed juice.
Sikhye (occasionally termed dansul or gamju) is a sweet rice beverage that is made from malt, rice, ginger and sugar and is usually served as a dessert. Pine nuts and/or jujube fruits are often added for additional flavor. It is served chilled and is known for its digestive properties.
Sujeonggwa is a traditional punch made from dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger, honey and peppercorn and is often served chilled and as a dessert like sikhye. Pine nuts are usually added for additional flavor. It is high in beta carotene and vitamin C, thus effective at preventing colds.
Sujeonggwa Recipe Sikhye Recipe