See Also: Asian Food
Traditional Korean food includes a main dish typically made with either a bowl of rice or noodles, and is noted for the number of side dishes (called banchan) that accompany it. Many Korean banchan are fermented, which gives them their signature tangy, salty, and spicy taste. The most common of these is kimchi, or fermented vegetables (usually Napa cabbage and white radish), seasoned with chili peppers and salt. Some Koreans do not consider a meal complete without kimchi!
Other common ingredients in Korean food include fermented bean paste, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, and fermented red chili paste (called gochujang). Gochujang is used in a variety of Korean foods including other banchan such as stir-fried baby octopus or dried shredded squid. Jeolla province is particularly famous for serving many different varieties of banchan in a single meal. Other banchan include vegetables such as bean sprouts, spinach, and fern shoots steamed, marinated, or stir-fried with sesame oil.
At the center of the table is the secondary main course, such as bulgogi or Korean barbecue, and a shared pot of soup or stew. Jeon (or buchimgae) are savory pancakes made from various ingredients which can serve as either the second main dish or sometimes as banchan. Other common Korean dishes include donenjan jiggea which is a soybean paste stew, sundubu jiggea, a spicy stew made with tofu and seafood, and jjajagmyun, which are noodles in a black bean sauce.
To wash it all down? Soju of course! Rice wine is also a popular drink among Koreans. If you’re not a fan of rice wine, Korea also offers a variety of fruit and berry wines like the famous raspberry wine. As is common in Asian cultures, tea is a staple and is drunk according to a revered tradition. Sikhye, a sweet rice drink, is often enjoyed as a dessert.
But the dessert selection isn’t limited to beverages! Traditional rice cakes, tteok and the Korean confectionery hangwa are eaten as treats during holidays and festivals. Made mostly of pounded glutinous rice, they are commonly either filled or covered with various sweetened bean pastes, raisins, or a sweetened filling made with sesame seeds, sweet pumpkin, jujubes, pine nuts, and/or honey.
So where can you buy your favorite Korean foods online?
Online Sources for Korean Food & Ingredients
Koamart: While Koamart specializes in authentic Korean groceries, you will also find Chinese and Japanese products too–which makes this site a great one-stop-shop. The Korean flavors you love are all here, with products like spicy pepper bean paste and kimchi. And it doesn’t stop there: authentic Asian kitchenware makes preparing meals as easy as possible.
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