Zen Kimchi’s 100 Korean Food You Gotta Try

Paying homage to the Omnivore’s list of 100 foods you have gotta try, Zen Kimchi has put together this thorough list of 100 Korean foods you gotta try. He says his list contains foods that paint a well rounded portrait of Korean cuisine, that goes beyond the usual tourist fare. On the list there were quite a few foods I’ve never heard of, and the one I’ve tried are bolded. I didn’t score too high, but for someone who was a vegetarian for the first 3 years (of 4) that she lived in Seoul, I’ll take it, (and I will not eat Beondaeggi ever so really this is a list of the top 99 foods you gotta try). If you don’t know what something is, I’ve linked what I could to photos, while the hangul is over on Fat Man Seoul.

What have you tried? Anything missing?

1. Myeolchi Bokkeum (Stir-fried Anchovies)

2. Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) I love this soup. I love the flavors, the picking apart of the chicken the, rice, everything about it screams comfort food.

3. Bulgogi (Grilled Marinated Beef) I’m a sucker for a sweet marinade on a meat.

4. BulDalk (Burn-your-pants-off Spicy Grilled Chicken)

5. DalkBal (Spicy Chicken Feet)

6. Korean Fried Chicken Colonel Sanders ain’t got nothin’ on Korea’s fried chicken.

7. Dalk Galbi (Stir-fried Marinated Chicken and Veggies)

8. San Nakji, chopped (Semi-live Baby Octopus)

9. San Nakji, whole (Live Octopus)

10. Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew) My go to staple for Korean food.

11. Juk (Rice Porridge) Totally unassuming, but delicious in the most subtle way.

12. Galbi (Grilled Short Ribs)

13. Galbitang (Short Rib Soup)

14. Shinseollo (Fancy Hot Pot)

15. Gobchang Gui (Grilled Beef Intestines). I haven’t had Beef intestines, but I have tried stirfried pork intestinesfrom a street vendor in Dongdaemoon. Does that count?

16. Seng Gan (Raw Beef Liver)

17. Galbi Jjim (Stewed Ribs)

18. Bossam (Steamed Marinated Pork with Lettuce Wraps)

19. Japchae (Clear Noodles Stir-fried with Pork and Vegetables)

20. Jaeyuk Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Pork)

21. Kimchi Jjim (Stewed Kimchi with Tofu)

22. Ddong Jip (Chicken Gizzards)

23. Odeng/Eomuk (Street-side Fish Noodles)

24. Hoddeok (Stuffed Street-side Pastries) Mmmmm. Fried dough with brown sugar. Well worth waiting in long lines for.

25. GeiJang (Raw Fermented Crabs) One of my favorite side dishes. Raw crab has a fanstastic gelatinous textures.

26. Hongeo (Fermented Skate)

27. Gochujang Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly Smothered in Red Pepper Paste)

28. Lotteria’s Shrimp Burger My favorite fast food burger.

29. Sae-u Kang (Shrimp Flavored “Fries”)

30. Doenjang Jjigae (Fermented Bean Paste Stew) One of the first dishes I ever tried in Seoul.

31. Cheonggukjang (Stinky Fermented Bean Paste Stew)

32. Boshintang (Dog Soup)

33. Seonji Haejangguk (Hangover Stew with Clotted Cow Blood)

34. Ddeokbokki (Chewy Rice Cakes in Spicy Sauce) My favorite after school snack.

35. YukHui (Raw Beef Salad)

36. MiyeokGuk (Seaweed Soup)

37. Mae-eunTang (Spicy Fish Soup)

38. Nakji Bokkeum (Stir-fried Baby Octopus)

39. Ojingeo (Dried Cuttlefish)

40. Beondaeggi (Silkworm Larvae)

41. Golbaenggi (Sea Snails)

42. Jangeo Gui (Grilled Eel)

43. Jaratang (Turtle Soup)

44. Bogeo (Blowfish)

45. Sae-u Sogeum Gui (Salt Grilled Shrimp)

46. Deodeok Root

47. BindaeDdeok (Mung Bean Pancake)

48. Pajeon (Green Onion Pancake) I am still looking for the perfect pajeon. Does a thin crispy one exist?

49. Bibimbap (Mixed Rice and Vegetables) The absolute first dish I ever tried in Seoul. It must have been my first week or so. I was so disappointed. Then a co-worker introduced me to dolsot bibimbap.

50. Boribap (Mixed Barley Rice and Vegetables)

51. Marinated Garlic My new favorite condiment/banchan. To be chased with several pieces of mint gum.

52. Patbingsu (Shaved Ice and Red Bean Treat) Korea’s national dessert. Shaved ice, red beans, sweetened consendened milk, and a host of toppings, from rice cake bits to cereal.

53. Dotorimok (Acorn Jelly) A gelatinous block generally served with a spicy soy sauce.

54. Naengmyeon (Chilled Noodles) Pear, beef, a hard boiled egg, chewy noodles, and a briny cold beef broth. Delightful.

55. Makkoli/Dongdongju (Rice Beer) Enjoyed by many of the elderly men we passed on our way up the mountain. Low alochol, midly fizzy, and you can polish off a bottle without to much pain the next morning.

56. Bokbunja (Raspberry Wine) Too sweet for my taste, but can be paired with soda water for a sundowner.

57. Soju (Rice Whiskey) A sweet potato liquer, strong, and will have you cursing the world if consumed in copious amounts.

58. Andong Soju (Strong Rice Whiskey from the Andong Region)

59. Jogae Gui (Grilled Shellfish)

60. Haepari (Jellyfish) Nice crunchy texture.

61. Gyeran Jjim (Steamed Egg) Pleasantly subdue, a nice counterpoint to spicier dishes.

62. Corn Ice Cream

63. Dolsot Bibimbap (Mixed Rice and Vegetables in a Sizzling Stone Pot) The dish that won my heart. Vegetables, rice and a fried egg…….Breakfast of champions.

64. Mandu (Stuffed Dumplings) I prefer my dumplings steamed over fired, kimchi being my favorite.

65. Ddeokguk (Chewy Rice Cake Soup) A traditional soup served for New Years. I love the variety of textures, the chewy rice cake, beef, eggs, and a delicate beef broth.

66. Songpyeon (Stuffed Chewy Rice Cakes) Rice cakes stuffed with sugar and sesame seeds, sweet potatoes, or red bean.

67. Hot Bar (Fried Fish Batter Street Food)

68. Shikhye (Sweet Rice Punch) Hot sticky summer days call for this refreshing rice punch.

69. Any product with Green Tea in it Green tea appears to be the bridge between traditional Korean desserts and European sweets, showing up in everything from frappuccinos, chiffon cakes and ice creams.

70. Gujeolpan (Nine-section Dish) I never had this in a restaurant, but I tried to make it once, and those little crepes did not turn out nicely.

71. Yogurt Soju Cocktail I raised my eyebrows the first time some one offered me soju mixed with a yogurt drink served to my preschool students, but one sip and it is the best darn creamcicle you’ve had in years.

72. Baechu Kimchi (Cabbage Kimchi) The traditional kimchi, made with nappa cabbage.

73. Any Kimchi that’s over 3 years old

74. Baek Kimchi (White Cabbage Kimchi) A nice way to ease into kimchi, pleasantly briny, vinegar-y and ferment-y without the chili flakes.

75. Shake-’em-up Dosirak

76. Mul Kimchi (Water Kimchi) Individual bowls to be consumed like tea at a Chinese restaurant.

77. Oi Sobagi (Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi) Crunchy cucumbers, stuffed with the “guts” of kimchi, garlic, chili, and salted shrimp.

78. Ggakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi) Cubes of mu, tossed with garlic and chili flakes, can be made quickly and is easy to eat like candy.

79. Sae-u Jeot (Salted Tiny Shrimp) Essentle for makng kimchi, stinker than fish sauce.

80. Myeongran Jeot (Salted Pollack Roe)

81. Changran Jeot (Salted Pollack Guts)

82. Ssamjang (Mixed Soybean and Pepper Paste) A great dip for raw veggies.

83. Kalguksu (Hand-cut Noodle Soup) Another conforting soup, teeming with veggies, hand cut noodles and thin broth.

84. Ramyeon (Ramen Noodles) in a Tin Pot One of my lunch favorites.

85. Entire Hui Meal (Korean style Sashimi) We are ours at Seoul’s Norangjin fish market, but weren’t blown away. Perhaps something to try with someone who knows their way around hwe.

86. Gimbap (Seaweed Rice Rolls) The sandwich of Seoul, my personal favorite, the tuna gimbab, sans odeng.

87. Jokbal (Pigs Feet) I didn’t love this when I tried it in Seattle, but it made a great sandwhich the next day. What a little mayo can’t do!

88. Sundae (Blood and Noodle Sausage)

89. Yeot (Traditional Korean Candy) I was too woried abut breaking my teeth on this stuff to really get into it, though I did enjoy the peanut foam looking one that instantly gave way to the least bit of pressure.

90. Naengi (Shepherd’s Purse) blanched and seasoned with salt and sesame seeds is the best way to eat this namul.

91. Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew) Oddly enough I never had this in Korea, but first had it a week ago in Seattle. I’m a sucker for the permeated funk the kimchi brings.

92. Budae Jjigae (“Army Base” Stew, traditionally including hot dogs and Spam)

93. Agu Jjim (Stewed Monkfish)

94. Haemultang (Seafood Soup) I still find the intense flavors and aroma of the sea to be a bit much for me.

95. Nurungji (Hot Water Mixed with Rice Scrapings in a Stone Pot) If you explore Korean food without a guide, some of the assumptios you make about what you are being served are quite amusing in retrospect. I was sure the ajuma wa sporing hot water in my rice bowl to soak the rice, making clean up easier for the dishwasher.

96. Sujebi (Rustic Dumpling Soup) These dumplins are usually made from potatoes. A nice departure from rice cakes or noodles.

97. Janchi Guksu (Thin Noodles in a Seaweed Broth with Condiments) Thinner and less dense than hand cut noodles, add a light broth and darn near any condiment you can think of.

98. BungeoBbang (Goldfish-shaped Stuffed Pastry) Red bean jam encased in a sweet dough is a staple for street snackers, but I prefer the one with the cooked egg inside.

99. Raw Ginseng or anything with Ginseng in it Candied, in tea, or the classic, samgyetang.

100. MakHui (Chilled Sashimi Soup)

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8 thoughts on “Zen Kimchi’s 100 Korean Food You Gotta Try

  1. I had 75 items, but of course being K-A, no biggie. My fave that is not on the list is marinated spicy jjyan-ji. That is my favorite side dish! Wurd to #96! Love your blog!

  2. Hi,
    Re: omissions. I guess gamja tang (pork bone and potato soup, as I’m sure you know) is unworthy in Mr. Kimchi’s view.

    How does one ferment a crab? In a salty brine, I assume?