Korean cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors and diverse range of dishes. While some Korean dishes can be spicy, there are plenty of non-spicy options to enjoy. In this blog post, we'll explore ten non-spicy Korean dishes every traveler should try.
Jokbal is a beloved Korean dish consisting of braised pig's trotters. The meat is cooked until tender, with a gelatinous texture, and seasoned with a flavorful combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices. Jokbal offers a rich, savory taste and is often enjoyed as a popular late-night snack or a special occasion dish.
To enjoy jokbal, start by assembling a wrap. Place a fresh lettuce leaf on your plate and add a portion of jokbal to the center. Add traditional condiments like ssamjang, garlic, green chili peppers, or fermented shrimp sauce for extra flavor. Carefully fold the lettuce leaf around the jokbal and condiments to create a delicious bundle. The combination of tender meat, vibrant flavors, and varied textures is sure to please your palate. Feel free to explore different combinations and try it with side dishes like kimchi and pickled radish. Keep repeating this process, savoring each bite, until you've fully experienced the joy of jokbal. It's an unforgettable taste of Korean cuisine.
Yukjeon is a delightful dish made of batter-fried beef. Thinly sliced beef is coated in a light batter and pan-fried until crispy on the outside, while remaining juicy and tender on the inside. The dish is characterized by its delicate, crispy texture and the savory flavors of the beef, making it a delightful appetizer or side dish.
Yukjeon is often accompanied by a dipping sauce. The most common sauce is soy sauce-based, mixed with ingredients like sesame oil, green onions, garlic, and sometimes a touch of vinegar or sugar. The sauce adds extra flavor to the meat.
Yukhoe is a Korean raw beef dish, often compared to beef tartare. The high-quality beef is finely minced and served with various dipping sauces, pear slices, radish sprouts, and egg yolk. Yukhoe showcases the natural flavors of the beef and offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience that is both indulgent and refreshing. You can also find Mul-hoe which is yukhoe in a sweet and sour cold broth, or yukhoe bibimbap, which is yukhoe rice bowl with a spicy, garlicky sauce, and even yukhoe sushi.
Chuncheon Cheese Dakgalbi is a popular dish from the city of Chuncheon. It features stir-fried chicken with a modern twist—melting cheese! Marinated chicken is cooked with vegetables and a spicy-sweet sauce, and then topped with gooey melted cheese. This dish combines the tender and juicy chicken with the creamy cheese that tones down the heat, resulting in a mouthwatering fusion of flavors. After enjoying the Dakgalbi, it is customary to use the remaining sauce and ingredients on the griddle to make a delicious fried rice.There are usually various heat levels to choose from, so make sure to ask for ‘mild’ before ordering!
Originating from the city of Andong, this hearty dish consists of steamed chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, and glass noodles, all braised in a flavorful soy-based sauce. Andong Jjimdak boasts a harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors, with tender chicken and vegetables that have absorbed the rich sauce, creating a satisfying and comforting meal.
Dakgangjeong is a popular Korean street food dish featuring crispy fried chicken bites. The classic Dakgangjeong is coated in a sticky, sweet, and slightly spicy sauce, offering a delightful balance of flavors. The crunchy exterior and succulent interior of the chicken make it an addictive snack that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. You will often find other flavors to choose from such as honey garlic, soy garlic, cheese, and more.
Jeonbokjuk is a nourishing abalone porridge that has been cherished in Korean cuisine for centuries. Abalone is simmered with rice, resulting in a thick and creamy porridge that showcases the delicate flavor of the sea. This comforting dish is often enjoyed during special occasions or as a restorative meal.
Bajirak Kalguksu is a comforting knife-cut noodle soup that features clams as the star ingredient. The noodles are made from wheat flour and are served in a flavorful broth alongside fresh clams, vegetables, and aromatic seasonings. This dish boasts a light and refreshing taste, with the tender clams adding a touch of brininess to the overall flavor profile.
When enjoying Kalguksu, you are served kimchi as a side dish to complement the flavors of the soup. Kimchi adds a tangy, spicy, and fermented element to the meal, providing a contrast to the rich and comforting flavors of the noodles and broth. The crunchy texture and unique taste of kimchi can enhance the overall dining experience and provide a refreshing palate cleanser between bites of Kalguksu.
Doenjang Jjigae is a classic Korean stew made with fermented soybean paste, known as doenjang. The stew has a rich and savory flavor, with a depth that comes from the fermentation process. It often includes a variety of vegetables, tofu, and sometimes seafood or meat, adding different layers of taste to the dish. Doenjang jjigae has its origins in traditional Korean cuisine, where fermented soybean paste has been used for centuries to create robust and umami-packed dishes that are beloved for their comforting and soulful qualities.
Doenjang Jjigae is typically served in a communal pot or individual bowls, depending on the setting. It is often enjoyed as part of a larger meal with other side dishes and rice.
Han-jeongsik refers to a traditional full-course Korean meal that offers a wide variety of dishes. It typically includes rice, soup, grilled or braised meat, vegetable side dishes (banchan), and other delicacies. Han-jeongsik represents the essence of Korean cuisine, with each dish thoughtfully prepared to create a harmonious balance of flavors, textures, and colors.
These ten delicious Korean dishes are perfect for travelers seeking to explore the country's non-spicy dishes. From fragrant Jokbal to crispy, flavor-packed Dakgangjeong, and balanced Han-jeongsik courses, these dishes showcase the rich heritage and artistry of Korean cooking.
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