Watching K-dramas feels very scary when you sit with an empty stomach. Because let's be honest!! How can we not drool over the amazing food that we see them enjoying? Moreover, it's how the characters always make all the dining scenes looks so confounding.
From Kimchi and Ramyeon to the Gyeran Mari, here's a tasty tribute to the K-drama series and the delicious Korean dishes our favourite characters seem to eat on an endless basis.
1. Gyeran Mari
Well! Let's just start this list with the all-time favourite lunch. Gyeran Mari is an egg roll or rolled omelette with two types of finely chopped vegetables that are a staple in the typical Korean lunch box meal set.
This is why so many South Korean children grow up loving this egg speciality! If you've watched Boys Over Flowers, you'll know that Geum Jan-di prepares a creative lunch set for Gu Jun-Pyo that includes Gyeran Mari.
Gyeran Mari is also a popular banchan or side dish that goes with Korean barbecues and stews, so it's a favourite even after you've graduated from elementary school.
2. Gyeran Jjim
The title alone indicates that the K-drama series Let's Eat delves into the wondrous world of food. Those who have seen all three seasons will undoubtedly attest to the show's delectable quality.
After all, the film is peppered with mukbang-style scenes and exaggerated "beauty shots" of Korean cuisine. In case you didn't know, mukbang is a South Korean pop culture movement that gained popularity around 2010.
It's essentially a live feed of someone or a group gorging themselves on an ungodly amount of food. Let's Eat combines this strange phenomenon with a slice-of-life plot centred on relationships.
Yoon Doo-Joon, a K-pop idol, also appeared in this series as the gourmand Goo Dae-young. Who can forget Dae-top young's recipe for flavorful Korean Shabu-shabu: meat-vegetable-meat! While the show is filled with more elaborate Korean dishes.
It's like biting into a warm cloud made of eggs! Gyeran Jjim is traditionally cooked and served in a tukkbaegi, a clay pot that is frequently seen holding various types of banchan. When you open a tukkbaegi and see a poof of light yellow rising from it, you know it's a heaping helping of Gyeran Jjim!
While we're on the subject of banchan, or Korean side dishes, let's not forget the king of all banchan — Kimchi! There's no need to cite a specific K-drama series to demonstrate the "essential-ness" of this Lacto-fermented side dish. It's almost everywhere; think of it as Korean sauerkraut! Most of you have had a taste of it as well.
Kimchi is traditionally made with a type of cabbage known as Baechu in Korea. Sam-soon can be seen eating her meals with tubs of homemade Kimchi in My Name Is Kim Sam-soon, another food-centred K-drama series.
Kimchi is a popular midday snack in the Reply series, and it's often served with boiled sweet potatoes. If you're looking for new ways to eat South Korea's national dish, try pairing it with this tuber crop. The flavours are said to complement each other, and you'll be eating healthy as well!
4. Fish Sausage Jeon
The Fish Sausage Jeon, another 'lunch box staple,' is a childhood treat for many South Koreans. It, like the Gyeran Mari, is served as banchan at adult set meals. In Korea, fish sausage is very popular.
The meat substitute is so tasty that even the pickiest eaters find themselves snacking on it which is why it's a hit with kids. While the nostalgic dish brings many people back to their childhood, it is now considered outdated as other variations have emerged in popular Korean cuisine.
But it's a good idea to get acquainted with the original: Fish Sausage Jeon, or dipped fish sausage in egg and flour. If you watched Reply 1988, you'd know that the other kids teased Sun-woo about this dish.
Sun-mother, woo's whose mediocre cooking skills have become an inside joke, managed to ruin Fish Sausage Jeon. And, as they say, it's difficult to make Korean sausage taste bad. That's how good they are. Grab some fish sausage from your local Korean mart and see for yourself. Remember to coat them in egg and flour!
Even if you don't have a specific K-drama series in mind, this next entry will undoubtedly ring a bell! Tteokbokki, or spicy rice cakes, are a popular street food found throughout Korea. It stands to reason, then, that it's one of the tasty morsels we frequently see in Korean shows, whether with other Korean dishes, as a standalone snack, or as barchow.
I'm reminded of Kim Mi-Subak-hwachae, so's or watermelon punch, which she made while on vacation at the beach in What's Wrong With Secretary Kim. Despite the fact that it isn't spiked, I imagine the refreshing drink goes well with Tteokbokki's signature bite.
6. Korean Barbecue
Many beloved Korean dramas feature iconic food clips, but Kim Bok-Joo's Korean Barbecue technique takes the cake. In the scene, the ever-adorable Bok-Joo demonstrates how to eat a full Korean BBQ course to her weightlifting teammates.
First, you consume all of the grilled meat — plain meat first, followed by marinated slices. If you prefer, you can wrap them in greenery. Then there's fried rice; eat it while it's hot! Last but not least, finish with a bowl of cold glass noodles.
Dessert is an additional step in the Philippines, where I am from. Choose any Korean ice cream that is on offer. You should now be aware that Korean barbecues offer a diverse selection of meat cuts and options.
In case you didn't know, samygyeopsal does not translate to Korean barbecue. It's actually pork belly slices, which are one of the meat specialities available in Korean BBQ courses. We strongly advise you to try all meat cuts in order to get the full K-BBQ experience!
7. Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken is on par with Korean Barbecue in terms of iconic Korean food status. The dish is straightforward: it's fried chicken, but it's prepared in an unusual way.
To begin, Korean Fried Chicken is typically seasoned with soy sauce, but there are a variety of flavours to choose from, including garlic and honey. The skin of Korean Fried Chicken is also thin and crispy, adding crunch to the entire dish.
Some people order Korean fried chicken with rice, while others order banchan of their choice. Others simply wing it and devour it by hand, as Lee Min-character ho's does in the new series The King: Eternal Monarch. In the hit series Crash Landing On You!, who can identify which character served Korean Fried Chicken to the dashing Capt. Ri in South Korea?
You've probably heard of this dish as Kimchi Fried Rice. This is yet another of those Korean dishes that you see everywhere, even on television, because it's paired with other specialities.
It's made in the same way as any other fried rice dish, by stir-frying the ingredients with the rice. Of course, the star of Kimchi-bokkeum-bap is kimchi. When other ingredients, such as minced meat and vegetables, are available, Koreans mix them in, but one topping is a must: fried egg.
Do you remember how Ae-ra cooked Korean Fried Rice for Dong-man in Fight For My Way? If you're stuck at home and have some extra ingredients, why not make the same Kimchi-bokkeum-bap for your loved ones?
Speaking of Fight For My Way (FFMY), here's another interesting snack from the same K-drama series to add to your food bucket list. It's for the more daring foodie, and no, this isn't the kind of sundae you're used to. Sundae is a type of blood sausage in Korea, not soft serve ice cream.
It's said to be as tasty as it is nutritious; it's certainly high in iron because it's made of blood and cow or pig innards that are then stuffed into the intestines of the same animal! That may not sound appetising, but Sundae is popular Korean street food in both the North and South.
Now, let's get back to FFMY. In case you forgot, Dong-coach man's also ran a food truck business that primarily sold Korean sausages and assorted meat. Sundaes, you guessed it was on the menu!
Here's a classic: Song Hye-Kyo in Full House! Fans of the show are aware of Hye-character, Kyo's Han Ji- Eun's, voracious appetite. She was frequently filmed eating, both at home and on an aeroplane. Bibimbap, which some say is a more filling version of Kimchi-bokkeum-bap, was one of the most memorable Korean dishes she was seen gobbling down in the series.
Bibimbap is simply a rice topping dish. It's served to steam with fried egg, namul (sautéed vegetables), assorted meat, and gojuchang (chilli paste). It may also contain doenjang, a fermented soybean paste.
The first drama that comes to our mind after seeing a "Bungeoppang" is Vincenzo. The whole relationship that Vincenzo and his mother had was because of this snack.
There are a couple of Korean dramas that highlight the adorable Bungeoppang, a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste. Tropical residents may prefer its chilled, ready-to-eat counterpart, the fish-shaped ice cream Binggrae Samanco. It's a cute and tasty way to cool down, filled with vanilla ice cream and sweet red bean paste!
12. Petrol Clams
Crash Landing On You (CLOY), a Korean television series, swept the world by storm. It also provided viewers with an authentic glimpse into the nuances of North Korean culture. According to reports, all of this is due to one of CLOY's writers, Kwak Moon-wan, who defected from the North years ago.
But first, let's talk about the food. In CLOY, Captain Ri and his men teach Yoon Se-ri how to eat Petrol Clams, a North Korean delicacy in which grilled clams are cooked by dousing them in petrol while the shellfish sit above the flames.
Bottles upon bottles of soju are the icing on the cake. No, it's not for pouring over the clams; it's for drinking while chewing on the chewy flesh of the clams. The chemical reaction of burning petrol is said to make the clams even tastier, and the sweetness of the soju pairs perfectly with this distinct flavour. Of course, in the South, they grill clams and other seafood and drink soju — but without the gasoline.
Make some noise, Coffee Prince fans. Fans enjoy this oldie-but-goodie for a variety of reasons, including coffee and Gong Yoo. But you can't deny that you enjoyed this series as well because it was practically brimming with delectable-looking Korean dishes! But, of all the food that boyish Go Eun-chan ate, one dish stood out to me the most.
It was from a scene in which she defeated her sister's suitor, played by the late Korean actor and model Lee Eon, in a Jajangmyeon-eating contest. If you can't remember that scene, it's where Eun-chan eats a lot of black noodles. Those bowls were, in fact, filled with Jajangmyeon, a thick noodle dish flavoured with black bean sauce. Yum!
Fans of the 2014 series Healer will recognise Kimbap as a Korean speciality that is almost synonymous with the show. After all, motherly Jo Min-ja was obsessed with making these Korean sushi rolls!
Kimbap, like sushi, is a roll of sticky rice and vegetables held together by dried seaweed. They can also include your preferred meat. These rolls are then cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces that are perfect for snacking or packing a light meal.
Park Seo-Joon's character in Itaewon Class had Spicy Tofu Stew at the top of his comfort food list because he enjoyed it so much with his father. Sundubu-jjigae is the name given to this thick, spicy soup in Korea. Slow-cooked with anchovy stock, radish, dried kelp, kimchi, and soft tofu, of course.
Some people add pork belly slices and other types of meat for good measure. It's best to slurp this soup with a bottle of soju nearby, as Park Sae-Ro-Yi and his father did especially if you're having a bad day.
16. Ramyeon, Samyang, and Chapaguri
What is popular Korean cuisine if not the instant noodles we've seen onscreen, whether in K-drama series or must-see movies? Ramyeon or instant ramen can be found in everything from CLOY and What's Wrong With Secretary Kim to Descendants of the Sun and the entire Reply series. According to the #NSFW joke, only intimate couples can share a Ramyeon serving in private quarters. So this is something you might want to do with your special someone!
Samyang — an instant noodle brand known for its intense Scoville level has gone viral on YouTube and social media. The goal is to consume an entire pack of the infamous "fire noodles" without stopping for a drink. You lose if you drink.
Last but not least, there's the iconic Chapaguri or Ram-don from Parasite, an award-winning film. To make this at home, you'll need two different kinds of Korean instant noodles: Spicy kelp-flavoured Neoguri and Jjapaghetti, the latter being a black bean noodle add-hot-water-only version. After cooking, combine the two and top with juicy chunks of pan-fried sirloin or rib-eye.
17. Patbingsoo (Korean shaved ice)
Dessert is a must in Korean dramas, and the go-to option is Korean shaved ice. Shaved ice has become a high-end dessert, with trendy varieties costing up to $15.
Many countries have their own versions of shaved ice, but Koreans add a unique twist with sweet red bean paste. If you love shaved ice and want to try different flavours, these are the places to go!
18. Kimchi Jigae
Kimchi jjigae is as Korean as a stew can get. This dish is frequently seen in scenes where the leads eat at home, as kimchi stew is a delicious classic that is simple to prepare and pairs well with freshly steamed white rice.
19. Cup Ramen & Soju
What's the point of making a whole list of K-food if we are not going to include the OG's. If a character in a Korean drama needs to rant, they'll most likely go to a convenience store and buy some soju and cup ramen.
Convenience stores are common and popular in South Korea, where they are known for their low-cost food and dine-in areas equipped with tables, utensils, hot water, and microwaves. For some reason, cup ramen tastes better when purchased at a convenience store.
Omurice is a Japanese dish, but its Korean counterpart is also popular in South Korea. If you saw Rooftop Prince, you probably developed a strong desire for this dish every time the actors ate it.
Despite all of the drama going on in the background, it's difficult not to notice the recurring, delectable dishes. When you try the dishes, you'll realise the characters at least had good food to help them heal their broken hearts.
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