Korean cuisine is a feast for the senses, with its bold flavors, unique ingredients, and vibrant colors. From savory stews to spicy noodles, their dishes are loved by many around the world for their rich and satisfying taste.
In this list, we've compiled over a dozen of the most popular Korean dishes that are easy to make and perfect with a Korean side dish. These dishes are sure to impress your taste buds and your guests, regardless if you're an experienced cook or a newbie entering the world of Korean cuisine.
And don't worry if you're a vegetarian or have dietary restrictions – we've got you covered with options like soondubu jjigae and sundubu jjigae with quinoa.
From the sweet and creamy hobakjuk to the savory and crispy kimchi jeon, there's something for everyone to enjoy. So put on your apron, grab your chopsticks, and enjoy some of the best comfort food Korea has to offer.
1. Kimchi Fried Rice
This is a great dish to make when you're looking for something quick, easy, and satisfying. It's perfect for using up leftover rice and kimchi, and it can be made in just a few minutes. Plus, you can easily customize it by adding eggs, vegetables, and meat to make it more filling and nutritious.
The tanginess and spiciness of the kimchi in the fried rice adds a unique twist to the dish, while the combination of rice and other ingredients creates a harmonious balance of textures.
A classic Korean-Chinese noodle dish that's perfect for colder days when you're in the mood for something hearty and comforting.
Whether store-bought or homemade, jjajangmyeon is made with a rich and savory black bean sauce that's sure to satisfy your cravings and offer a bit of comfort, no matter what ails you.
You can make it with pork, beef, or seafood, depending on your preferences. The dishes thick and velvety black bean sauce, paired with its chewy noodles and tender meat or seafood, creates a truly comforting and satisfying dining experience.
3. Doenjang Jjigae
A staple Korean stew that's made with soybean paste, which gives it a rich and savory flavor. It's usually served with rice, and it's a great way to warm up on a cold day.
The soybean paste, known as doenjang, acts as the backbone of the dish, infusing it with a complex umami taste. The addition of various vegetables not only enhances the nutritional value but also adds a vibrant burst of colors and textures.
Doenjang jjigae can be added with a variety of vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, and potatoes to make them more nutritious and flavorful.
A classic Korean BBQ dish that’s perfect for anyone who loves meat. Marinated to perfection, the succulent and juicy beef boasts a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and umami notes.
Whether grilled to perfection or cooked on a stovetop, bulgogi offers a tantalizing experience that leaves taste buds longing for more.
For a satisfying and well-rounded meal, serve it with steamed rice and a medley of fresh vegetables, like they do in a typical Korean spot. This will create a balanced feast that satisfies both the palate and the body.
Jjamppong is a spicy seafood noodle soup that's perfect for seafood lovers. It's a hearty and warming dish that's packed with flavor, and it's sure to satisfy your cravings for something spicy and delicious.
Brimming with a medley of fresh seafood, including shrimp, mussels, and squid, this spicy noodle soup offers a satisfying and indulgent experience. The heat level of jjamppong can be easily tailored to your preferences at home by adjusting the amount of gochugaru, allowing you to find the perfect balance of spice.
Hobakjuk is a sweet and creamy pumpkin porridge that's perfect for dessert or as a snack. It's made with pumpkin, rice, and milk, which gives it its signature flavor and creamy texture. You can add more or less sugar to the sweetness to suit your taste.
If you've never had porridge before then Korean pumpkin porridge is the perfect place to start. It's a versatile dish that can be either sweet or savory as with each spoonful of this creamy and satisfying dish, will make you feel a sense of warmth and contentment.
7. Soondubu Jjigae
Sundubu jjigae is a soft tofu stew that's perfect for vegetarians or those who prefer lighter meals. It's made with soft tofu, vegetables, and a spicy broth, which gives it its signature flavor. Simply by altering the amount of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), you can make the dish as spicy as you like.
8. Bibim Naengmyeon
When you're craving something tasty and cooling on a hot summer day, this spicy cold noodle dish is perfect. It's made with buckwheat noodles, vegetables, and a spicy sauce, which gives it its signature taste.
Bibim naengmyeon is a flexible dish that anyone can enjoy because the amount of gochujang (Korean chili paste) can be changed to suit personal preferences.
This is a delicious beef short rib soup that's slow-cooked for hours to develop a rich and flavorful broth. It's a comforting dish that's perfect for cold weather, and it's sure to warm you up from the inside out. Galbitang can be customized by adding noodles, rice cakes, or vegetables to make it more filling and nutritious.
Tteokbokki is a popular Korean street food dish that is made with rice cakes, fish cakes, and a spicy sauce. The dish is typically served with a side of hard-boiled eggs and is a favorite among Koreans for its spicy and chewy texture.
Tteokbokki is also a great option for those who are gluten-free, as the dish is made with rice cakes instead of wheat noodles.
Gyeran-jjim is a simple and delicious Korean steamed egg dish that's perfect for breakfast or as a side dish. It's made with eggs, scallions, and a few other ingredients, which makes it easy to prepare and perfect for busy mornings.
The beauty of gyeran-jjim lies in its versatility, as you can adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences, adding a pinch of more or less salt to achieve the perfect balance.
Dakgangjeong is a sweet and crispy chicken dish that's perfect for snacking or as a main dish. It was always my favorite dish when I lived in Korea, and it can be hard to find good versions of it outside of the ROK.
It's made with bite-sized pieces of chicken coated in a sweet and sticky sauce, which gives it its signature flavor. By adding more or less honey, you can vary the sweetness to your preference.
13. Kimchi Jeon
Kimchi jeon is a savory and crispy pancake that's perfect for snacking or as a side dish. It's made with kimchi and flour, which gives it its signature flavor and crispy texture. It's also a great way to use up leftover kimchi, which makes it a practical and sustainable dish.
To further elevate your savory pancakes, you can incorporate additional ingredients such as seafood or vegetables, adding a burst of flavor and nutritional value. The versatility of kimchi jeon allows you to experiment and customize it according to your preferences, which in my case generally include a small pile of bacon.