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[Korean food Basics] Kimbap: Korean Sushi Roll (김밥)

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Kimbap, Korean sushi roll, is one of the most common dishes in Korea. It is like Korean style “fast food” or a sandwich because it does not take long to make and is easy to eat. It is also a picnic food that everyone brings on picnic day. (But it seems to be changing these days. Kids bring more nice, fancy food.) Over the periods, many kinds of Kimbap have come out and changed from the original.

The original Kimbap has carrots, cucumbers, ham (or shredded beef), eggs, and pickled radish in it. However, the upgraded versions vary from cream cheese to shredded spicy squid.

The picture above is tuna Kimbap with sesame leaf, Mayo, and the same vegetables as in the original.


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The Kimbap market has been competitive and many Kimbap franchises have come out. Their motto is premium Kimbap with good-quality ingredients and creative kinds of Kimbap but the price is higher than the original. The original costs around 2,000 KRW but these premium ones cost anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 KRW.

The picture above is spicy pork Kimbap with Korean lettuce.


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Among Kimbap franchises, the top three are Baruda Kimseonsaeng (바르다 김선생), Seogawon (서가원), Gobongmin Kimbap (고봉민 김밥). Each of them has a few differences and my favorite is Baruda Kimseonsaeng.

I love their creme cheese Kimbap (The other two franchises have it also) and Mandu (만두), Korean dumplings. Their Mandu has sauced beef in it and it is amazing!


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You can see how they make it in most premium Kimbap places so that the customers can trust that the food they eat is made well.

Enjoy different types of Kimbap, especially Creme cheese one 🙂 Yum!


김밥: Kimbap

Information of this place

서가원김밥 (Seogawon Kimbap)

경기 안산시 단원구 고잔2길 41 1층 (41, Gojan 2-gil, Danwon-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)


Recommended places

-바르다 김선생 (Baruda Kimseonsaeng): 서울특별시 종로구 사직로8길 42 광화문시대 (42, Sajik-ro 8-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea) / 02-2195-4333

-고봉민김밥 (Gobongmin Kimbap): 서울특별시 종로구 대학로12길 21 (21, Daehak-ro 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea) / 02-742-5161

-서가원 (Seogawon): 서울특별시 서초구 신반포로 38 구반포상가 (38, Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea) / 02-596-7080


[Korean food] Dakgalbi: stir-fried spicy chicken (닭갈비)

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My favorite Korean food, Dakgalbi! It is from Chuncheon which is one of the most popular touristic places in Korea. Dakgalbi has chicken, vegetables (cabbages mainly), and rice cake with spicy sauce. It costs from 8,000 to 10,000 KRW which is a reasonable price.

Even though it is from Chunchon, there are many Dakgalbi restaurants all over Korea.

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You eat the rice cakes and sweet potatoes first because they get cooked first. Then eat the meat. You can eat the meat only or make a wrap with Korean lettuce and sauce (If you want, you can put garlic in it also). Make sure to leave room for fried rice (볶음밥, Bokkeumbap)

The chicken is cut into bite-size pieces. Try to eat chicken and the veggies together. It is awesome. You will love it 🙂 If you do not like spicy food, you can ask them to make it less spicy.

안 맵게 해주세요 (An maep ge hae ju se yo) = Please make it less spicy

After eating the meat, order fried rice. A server will make it for you with the veggies and sauce on the grill, meaning that it is good to save some sauce and veggies left for fried rice. Fried rice usually costs 2,000-3,000 KRW.


닭갈비 (Dakgalbi): Stir-fried spicy chicken

볶음밥 (Bokkeumbap): Fried rice

안 맵게 해주세요 (An map ge hae ju se yo): Please make it less spicy

Information of this place:

춘천명물 닭갈비 (Chuncheon Myeongmul Dakgalbi)

경기도 안산시 상록구 본삼로 17 1층 (1st floor, 17, Bonsam-ro, Sangrok-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)


Kkultarae: Korean dessert made with honey and crushed nuts (꿀타래)

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You might not have heard of Kkultarae which is a Korean traditional dessert. I will start with the explanation about the Kkultarae:

“Ta-rae is a court cake made of ripened honey and malt, which was once presented to the king and valuable guests. It is brewed with the artisan spirit to make 16,384 strands suggesting the prayer for longevity, health, good fortune, and wish-fulfillment. It is not too sweet, not sticky to the teeth, but enjoyable with various tastes according to the garnishings. It tastes better with teas as it is cold and frozen.”

I will show you how to make it. Of course only trained people can make this since it requires high skills. It was taken from the master in Lotte World Mall in Jamsil, Seoul.


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So this is honey plus malt is aged for three days (not exactly sure how long it was aged) and it becomes hard outside but soft inside. Another important ingredient is corn flour. He puts the flour on the honey.


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Then he stretches and twists it, which is the process of making the strands. The number of strands goes like 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128… to 16,384! The strands first are thick slowly becomes thin like a thread.


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Then he puts crushed nuts on the strands and make the shape with a special utensil. There are two kinds of nuts: almonds and peanuts.


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Tada~ Done! Each pack has 10 pieces and it costs 7,000-8,000 KRW. Even though it is a dessert, it is not that sweet or sticky to teeth as the explanation above said. You can find four tastes of Kkultarae: almonds (white), peanuts (white), chocolate (brown), and cactus (pink). My favorite is almonds.



꿀타래 (Kkultarae): Korean dessert made with honey, malt, and crushed nuts.

Information of this place

꿀타래 롯데월드몰점 (Kkultarae in Lotte World mall)

서울 송파구 올림픽로 300 롯데월드몰 6층 (the 6th floor, 300, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, Korea)

korean street food: Korean style Hotdog (핫도그)

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Korean hotdogs look different from ones from the states. While you can see a sausage in an American hotdog, you can’t in a Korean one. (They’re actually more like American corndogs.) In Korea, hotdogs have been a school food for a long time which you eat with your friends after school. When I was in elementary school, it cost only 500 KRW.

These days you can see many upgraded versions of foods like fried chicken, and hotdog is another one of them. A common Korean hotdog has only one kind which looks the same wherever you get it, but I found a place where you can choose from many types of bread, sauce, and sizes.

It seems cheap; one good-quality hotdog costs only 2,500 KRW. What I got was the fourth from the right. It has corn on the bread.


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Here you see countless sauces. Of course, it is hard to choose. I bet everyone would be bad at making decisions here. The restaurant even has a board recommending good combinations. The good news is that you get to choose sauces you want while the bad news is that there is a possibility of getting a bad combination.


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This is what I got for my friends because they asked me to take it out. I put the third level of spiciness out of ten (the tenth is the hottest), mustard, and little bit of wasabi. Well, the conclusion is that my friends wanted to kill me because their lips and gums hurt from the wasabi and spicy sauces. So, be careful what you choose. 😉


korean street food

The sausage in the hotdog is bigger and the bread is more moist than a common one. The corn and bread went well together. This was the best hotdog I have ever tried. Korean street food!


핫도그(Hot do geu): Hotdog, one of Korean street foods

소스 (So seu): Sauce

Information of this place

대포햇도그 (Daepo Haet do geu)

경기도 안산시 상록구 샘골로 172 (172, Saemgol-ro, Sangrok-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)


Recommended places:

There is none in Seoul even though it is a franchise. There are three in Daejeon. One of them is located in:

대전광역시 유성구 대학로151번길 26 (26, Daehak-ro 151beon-gil, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, Korea)




Korean soup Gamjatang: food for a hangover

Gamjatang, a spicy pork bone soup, is well-known as Korean soup for a hangover. People eat it after drinking or while drinking so a lot of Gamjatang restaurants open for 24/7.

Eat not only the meat stuck to the bones but also one between the bones. Of course you will use your fingers 🙂

After eating the meat, fried rice is mandatory! Remember the crispy rice part.


감자탕 (Gamjatang): a spicy pork bone soup

볶음밥 (Bokkeumbab): fried rice

Recommended: (Gamjatang Eleve)

경기 안산시 단원구 당곡로 11 2층 (2F, 11 Dangok-ro, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)


Weird Korean food: Soy Sauce Marinated Crab (게장 Ganjang Gejang)

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Gejang (게장), Marinated Crab, has two types: Soy sauce (간장;Ganjang) and spicy (양념;Yangnyum). Especially, Soy Sauce Marinated Crab (간장게장; Ganjang Gejang) is one of the hardest dishes that you can make because it takes much time and requires many skills. Rather than making it, people just go out to eat in a Gejang restaurant.

Since it is hard to make, it costs more than the price of an average meal. Usually, it is 20,000-25,000 KRW for one person. There is a restaurant which gives you Gejang unlimited with a cheap price but I don’t recommend getting that one. You get what you pay for. The crabs used for the unlimited one and for the legit one are different in size and quality.


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Yes. They are raw crabs marinated with soy sauce. In the first time, you might think the texture is weird and not like it. However, as you eat, you will fall in love with this. The crab meat is super soft. It is salty so it goes well with rice.

When you eat the leg parts, you bite the leg part so that the meat comes out. Because it is salty, you eat it with rice. When you eat the body part, you need to scrape the meat inside with a spoon or chopsticks and put rice in the shell to mix with the scraped meat. Because the shell is small, you need to put the small amount of rice to mix them well. Then, eat it! It’s a heavenly taste.


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These days, you can find not only marinated crabs but also shrimps (새우장; Saewoojang) and abalones (전복장; Jeonbokjang). I tried them all but I think crabs are the best because it is hard to peel the shrimp and the abalones smell pretty fishy. However, it is good to try all of them 🙂 Be adventurous!


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Some Gejang restaurants give you just white rice while others give you white rice with dried seaweed and an egg. Either of them is fine if the Gejang is good. Why don’t you try this weird Korean food?


게장 (Gejang): Marinated Crabs

간장게장 (Ganjang Gejang): Soy sauce marinated crabs

양념게장 (Yangnyum Gejang): Spicy marinated crabs

새우장 (Saewoojang): Soy sauce marinated shrimps

전복장 (Jeonbokjang): Soy sauce marinated abalones

Information of this place

골목게장 (Golmok Gejang)

부산광역시 중구 중앙동 4가 80-11 (80-11, Jungang-dong 4-ga, Jung-gu, Busan, Korea)



Spicy Korean food: Dakdoritang or Dakbokkeumtang (닭도리탕 or 닭볶음탕)

korean chicken dish

Koreans love spiciness and chicken. Dakdoritang is the combination of the two that Koreans love. It is a spicy braised chicken soup. If you like spiciness, you need to try this spicy Korean food 🙂

By the way, the National Institute of the Korean Language suggests people to use the term Dakbokkeumtang instead of Dakdoritang because they believe that the word “dori” comes from the Japanese language. However, there are many opinions against it but nobody knows which is right. Therefore, Koreans use both of them but tend to use Dakbokkeumtang more than Dakdoritang these days.

korean chicken dish

Mostly, Dakbokkeumtang is a shared dish. You order one which is one chicken and it is for 4 people. You need to boil it on the burner first, even though the chicken is cooked. The reason is to warm up the soup so that the the soup can soak into the chicken.

korean chicken dish

Once it boils, serve yourself 🙂 Potatoes are well-cooked and the chicken is soft. The soup is spicy and rich. Awesome!

If you eat the chicken with rice and kimchi, the sourness of Kimchi makes the taste even better. You can also mix the soup and the rice together and eat them. The soup soaks into the rice and tastes great 🙂

korean chicken dish

Not every Dakbokkeumtang restaurant has healthy side dishes but the one that I went to had good ones. Great kimchi and chili peppers from their garden. These side dishes make the meal perfect!


닭볶음탕 (Dakbokkeumtang) or 닭도리탕 (Dakdoritang): spicy braised chicken

Information of this place

감나무골 (GamNaMooGol)

경기도 안성시 금광면 삼흥로 137 (137, Samheung-ro, Geumgwang-myeon, Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)


Yukgaejang: spicy Korean soup (육개장)

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As I blog about food, I found out that a lot of Korean foods have soup, like A LOT. I love spicy food so my favorites are Kimchi jjigae and Yukgaejang. Well, any spicy Korean soup. Since many people already know about Kimchi jjigae, which is one of the most famous Korean foods, I would like to introduce you to Yukgaejang.

It has shredded beef, eggs, spring onions, and lots of soup. The interesting fact is that Yukgaejang is served at Korean funerals. There are many opinions about the reason. One of them is that it is easy to cook and serve. A funeral lasts for 3 days and many people come and go. Since Yukgajang itself is a great meal with white rice, it makes the meal very simple. It also leads to saving money and time.


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Not only for funerals, but also for workers it is a great, simple meal. Yukdaejang is the first and the most popular Yukgaejang franchise in Korea. I heard many good reviews about it. It takes 12 hours of boiling broth with lots of Korean herbs. It costs 8,000 KRW for one bowl of Yukgaejang.

Korean soup

When you eat, you can either put rice in the soup and eat together or eat them separately. Most of Koreans eat the rice and soup together. When you eat the soup, you feel and know their effort in boiling the broth for 12 hours.  It tastes super rich!

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Many Yukgaejang places sell dumplings also. I guess the reason is that the spicy soup and not spicy dumplings go together well. Dumplings balance out the spiciness. You should try them both, Yukgaejang and dumplings!


육개장(Yukgaejang): Korean spicy soup with shredded beef and beef broth.

만두 (Mandu): Korean dumplings

Information of this place

육대장 (Yukdaejang)

It is a franchise so you will find it everywhere. There is one in Gyodae station (line 2 and 3).

서울특별시 서초구 서초대로50길 18 유성빌딩 (18, Seocho-daero 50-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea)


Interesting Korean food Kodari Jjim: Braised Pollack (코다리찜)

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There are three kinds of pollack which Koreans use for cooking: fresh, half-dried, and fully-dried. Each has a different name.

Myeong Tae (명태): fresh pollack / Kodari (코다리): half-dried pollack / Boogeo (북어): fully-dried pollack

Fresh pollack is mostly used for stew (jjigae), Kodari for braised dishes, and Boogeo for soup. My favorite among the three is Kodari because it is chewy and moist at the same time. Fresh pollack is moist but not chewy and Boogeo is chewy but not moist at all.

The dish in the picture is Braised Pollack made with Kodari. The seasoning is a little spicy and sweet. I like the rice cake in it which adds chewiness.


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The server will give you bean sprouts and you put it in the dish and then cover it with the sauce. The good thing is that the server takes the big bones out of Kodari so that you can eat it easily.


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interesting korean food

This interesting Korean food does not have a specific way to eat it, but I like the way this restaurant has it. On the top of dried seaweed (김), put rice, a piece of Kodari, sauced bean sprouts, and super spicy chili pepper. Roll it and eat it. If you can’t handle the spiciness, you can take out the chili pepper.

It tastes awesome. You will taste many tastes at once: spicy, sweet, salty, super savory! If you don’t like fish, you might not like it though.



명태 (MyeongTae): Fresh pollack

코다리 (Kodari): Half-dried pollack

북어 (Boogeo): Fully-dried pollack

김 (Kim): Dried seaweed

Information of this place:

자성화맛집 코다리네 (JaSeongHwa MahtJip Kodarine)

경기도 광명시 한내로 13번길 6-4 (6-4, Hannae-ro 13beon-gil, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea)


Jeonju food: Bean Sprout Soup with rice (콩나물국밥)

You might have heard of Jeonju, a touristic city in Korea. It is well known for Korean traditional style houses and great food. People even go for a food trip to Jeonju. It has several famous Jeonju food and one of them is 콩나물국밥 (Bean Sprout Soup with Rice).

콩나물국밥 is considered to be a light meal for a the cheap price. It takes a short time to cook and eat so people who have a short lunch or dinner break like a truck driver or a bus driver seem to like it. Also, many eat it to get over a hangover.


Jeonju food

Jeonju food

콩나물국밥, a famous Jeonju food, comes in a special pot called 뚝배기 (Dook-bae-gi), a Korean earthen pot which keeps the food warm. As you see in the picture, it is boiling without a burner.

It basically has bean sprouts and rice. The soup itself is not spicy but Koreans like to put chopped spicy chili peppers or red chili powder in it to manage the spiciness. Since I love spicy food, I added both of them.

Also you can mange the saltiness with salted small shrimp. Don’t put too much in at once or you will regret it. Like.. it is super salty.


Jeonju food

Jeonju food

Jeonju food

This egg dish is called Sooran (수란). How is it made? Crack the eggs in a bowl and put the bowl in hot water so that the eggs in the bowl get cooked gradually. When the white part of the eggs are cooked, take the bowl out of the hot water. Done!

How to eat it: put 2-3 spoons of the soup and dried seaweed in Sooran and mix them all together. It is soft and soupy. You eat this before the Bean sprout soup.

You need to know that only legit Jeonju bean sprout soup restaurants give you this. So if you want to try a nice bean sprout soup, look for one which has Sooran.



콩나물국밥 (Kong-na-mul gookbab): Bean sprout soup with rice

수란 (Sooran): Jeonju style egg bowl dish

뚝배기 (Dook-bae-gi): earthen pot which keeps your food warm

Information of this place:

남문전주콩나물국밥 (Nam-moon Jeonju Kongnamul Gookbab)

경기도 화성시 향남읍 발안리 413-102 (413-102 Baran-ri, Hyangnam-eup, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do)


Recommended Restaurants:

  • 현대옥 (HyunDaiOk) in 남부시장 (Nambu market)

63, Pungnammun 2-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do, Korea


6:00 am – till out of order (normally 1:00 pm)

  • 삼백집 (SamBaekJip)

57, Omokdae-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do, Korea


08:00 am – 09:00 pm

**Both of them are famous, popular Bean sprout soup restaurants so I suggest you to go in the morning.