Korea is famous for having the highest intake of seafood in the world. In addition to fish, seaweed and shellfish are enjoyed together, so Korea has many dishes using them. The unique feature is that you can see many dishes combined with meat beyond enjoying seafood alone. In addition, there are many unconventional and newly devised recipes, so Koreans also enjoy them as unique delicacies.
If you cook seafood full of the scent of the sea and savory meat together, you can experience a different flavor that you have never experienced before. Here we introduce three dishes that harmonize the taste of seafood and meat, so let's enjoy another attraction of Korean food.
Haesin Tang/Chicken and Seafood Soup with Only Healthy Ingredients
Haesin Tang/Chicken and Seafood Soup is a premium dish with a rich appearance. The name Haesin Tang means 'king of the sea.' As the name implies, this dish uses the most nutritious octopus and abalone among the sea ingredients. In addition, whole chicken, jujube, garlic, and medicinal herbs are added to make it more flavorful. It is boiled thoroughly with rare ingredients, so it is also suitable as a high-quality health food.
Haesin Tang/Chicken and Seafood Soup has a unique taste with a combination of chicken and seafood flavors. Because the savory taste is doubled, it is more flavorful and refreshing than when seafood and meat are cooked separately. White cooked octopus and abalone are perfect for cutting into bite-size pieces and eating by dipping them in a sauce made of red pepper paste and vinegar. It's rich and chewy: the more you chew, the sweeter the taste. The taste of oriental medicine permeates the chicken, making you feel healthy even if you eat only the meat. The true value of Haesin Tang is in the soup in which all these ingredients are boiled, so be sure to finish it.
Jogaekkot Cheonji Mapo Gongdeok branch / Hwanghu Haesin Tang/Empress Chicken and Seafood Soup 119,000 won
B1, 12, Mapo-daero 10-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
11:00-23:00 (closed every Sunday)
A 4-minute walk from Exit 4 of Gongdeok station
Octopus, Small Intestines, and Shrimp at Once, 'Nak Gop Sae'
'Nak Gop Sae/Stir-fried Octopus, Small Intestine, and Shrimp' is a food that started in Busan and spread like a trend across the country. The taste is excellent and unique, so even Koreans go to the original restaurant as if it is a specialty when they go to Busan. The unusual name 'Nak Gop Sae' is an acronym for the first letters of octopus, small intestine, and shrimp. Put these three ingredients in a wide pot, add spicy sauce, and simmer them.
'Nak Gop Sae/Stir-fried Octopus, Small Intestine, and Shrimp' boasts a unique taste with the combination of spicy seasoning, a refreshing taste of seafood, and a unique savory and greasy flavor of beef or pork small intestines. It is a new taste that cannot be experienced by eating only stir-fried octopus or small intestines. While boiling, the marinade boils down, and its redness is appetizing. Nak Gop Sae is great as a bar snack with beer or soju, and it is also good to mix with white rice. All three ingredients are chewy and savory, and the spicy seasoning is harmonized, so you will want it again once you try it.
Gaemijip Jongno branch / Nak Gop Sae/Stir-fried Octopus, Small Intestine, and Shrimp 13,000 won
2F, 23, Jong-ro 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
A 4-minute walk from Exit 4 of Jonggak station
'Jangheung Samhap,' Where Korean beef, Mushrooms, and Pen Shells Meet
‘Jangheung,’ located in Jeollanam-do, South Korea, is a region with many specialties as it encompasses mountains, fields, and the sea. Among them, golden oak mushrooms grown traditionally, healthy Korean beef raised in a clean natural environment, and pen shells grown in the clean sea are famous nationwide for their high quality. People in Jangheung started eating these three specialties at once, and this dish is ‘Jangheung Samhap.’ Although it is unfamiliar to eat the ingredients together, it is surprisingly delicious and has become the best dish representing Jangheung.
The way to eat is simple. You can grill the Korean beef, golden oak mushrooms, and pen shells on a hot plate, then combine them and enjoy. All three ingredients are fresh and delicious, so it's best to grill them lightly to avoid overcooking. When you collect the three ingredients and eat them in a bite, you can enjoy a new taste with the rich juice of the meat, the subtle aroma of the golden oak mushrooms, and the light and chewy texture of the pen shells. Jangheung Samhap is a delicious combination of raw ingredients, so eating it with just a pinch of salt is recommended. Sweet and sour Myeongi Namul/Victory Onion Salad is also a side dish that enhances the taste of Jangheung Samhap. Stack them neatly, put them in your mouth, and savor the taste of the ingredients mixing.
Jangheung Samhap / Jangheung Samhap (1 serving) 45,000 won
A 6-minute walk from Exit 6 of Culture and Arts Center station (Incheon Subway Line 1)
Ssam/Wrapped Cuisine, Taste Going Well in One Bite
Korea has a culture of combining various ingredients and eating them in one bite. Bibimbap is the most representative, and eating wraps is one of the characteristics of Korean food. Many countries have wrapped dishes, such as Vietnamese spring rolls, tacos, burritos, and spring rolls. What these foods have in common is that they use wraps made from flour or rice flour dough.
On the other hand, as Korea is a country that enjoys wraps, you can see that various ingredients are used for wraps, including raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, seaweed, wheat crepe, and meat. Since there is no set recipe for wraps, it is an attractive feature that you can create your own recipe. Wrap the ingredients you want, put them in your mouth, and experience the flavors that mix harmoniously.
‘Ureong Doenjang/Freshwater Snail Soybean Paste and Jeyuk Ssambap/Stir-fried Pork, Leaf Wraps and Rice’ with fresh Ssam/Wrapped Vegetables
Korea's most common wrapped dish is 'Ssambap/Leaf Wraps and Rice.' It is a dish in which rice, meat, side dishes, etc., are topped with fresh ssam/wrapped vegetables. Vegetables with wide leaves, such as lettuce, perilla leaves, and cabbage, are mainly used with ssam vegetables, and vegetables with unique fragrances, such as mustard leaves, crown daisy, chicory, and angelica, are sometimes added to enhance the flavor.
Ssambap usually comes with 'Jeyuk Bokkeum/Spicy Stir-fried Pork' in which pork is fried in red chili paste, or 'Ureong Doenjang/Freshwater Snail Soybean Paste' in which freshwater snails are fried in soybean paste. Both have a salty, savory, and chewy texture, enriching the taste of Ssambap. When you eat it, you can put vegetables in your hand first, add the food you want one by one, wrap it, and enjoy. One thing to be careful of at this time is that you should eat it in one bite, not little by little. If you put Ssambap in your mouth and chew it, you will be able to enjoy the fun of eating due to the harmony of different textures and tastes.
Hongsong Ssambap / Jeyuk Ureon Ssambap Set Menu 17,000 won
11:00-22:00 (Break time 14:30-17:00 / Closed on Mondays)
6 minutes from Exit 3 of Misa station
Delicious Combination of Meat and Kimchi, ‘Bossam/Napa Wraps with Pork’
Bossam/Napa Wraps with Pork is a dish in which cabbage or lettuce is wrapped with boiled pork slices, radish kimchi, and cabbage kimchi. Plain pork and kimchi go very well together, so Koreans always eat Bossam on a kimchi-making day in winter. Boiled pork slices are prepared by boiling pork belly in water with soybean paste for about an hour. At this time, if you add ginger, radish, onion, etc., and boil it, the bad smell disappears, and a deep taste is added, completing the delicious boiled pork.
When you eat Bossam, put a piece of meat on top of a white cabbage leaf and add kimchi, garlic, salted shrimp, etc., and eat it in one bite. The crunchy texture of cabbage, the moist gravy of boiled pork slices, and the spicy and sweet kimchi make a perfect match. In Bossam, you can't leave out 'Makguksu/Buckwheat Noodles.' Makguksu is buckwheat noodles seasoned with red pepper powder, sugar, and perilla oil. Its sweet and sour taste prevents the greasy taste of boiled pork, and the rutin component of buckwheat helps digestion, so it is recommended to try it together.
Won And One Head Restaurant / Handon Assorted Napa Wraps with Pork 48,000 won, Spicy Buckwheat Noodles 10,000 won
1F, 201, Nangye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
9-minute walk from Exit 2 of Sindang station
'Gimbap,' Meeting of Savory Ingredients
Korean ssam/wrapped dishes use not only vegetables but also seaweeds such as laver. In particular, savory and crispy laver is well known abroad, and ‘Gimbap’ made with laver is also one of the ssam dishes. Gimbap is a dish in which rice, crab sticks, carrots, eggs, spinach, and burdock root are topped with flat laver and rolled into a round shape. All ingredients are fried in oil or seasoned with sesame oil, so you can smell the savory aroma from the making process.
There is no fixed recipe for Gimbap, so you can make a variety depending on the ingredients you put in. If you go to a Gimbap restaurant, there are various menus such as tuna, kimchi, cheese, pork cutlet, and beef Gimbap, so you can order what you want. Rolled Gimbap is cut into bite-sized pieces, and the colorful ingredients inside make you feel better just by looking at it. When you put it in your mouth carefully so that the ingredients do not fall out, you will be amazed in the moment due to the harmonized, strong savory taste. If you want to enjoy a simple ssam dish, order a roll of Gimbap.
Yumsem Gimbap Hanam Misa Jungang Branch / Varies by kind 3,500 won - 5,000 won
A Bountiful Table Setting With Many Side Dishes That Makes Every Food A Main Dish
A bountiful Korean meal presented on a table is one of the most Korean-like cultures that many foreign travellers choose. In foreign countries, it is common to have a course meal in which the food is served one after the other or to have a la carte dishes. However, in Korea, the table setting is finished only when 10 to 20 different side dishes are served, in addition to a bowl of steamed rice and soup. Therefore, first-time visitors to Korea are often surprised to see this generosity of Korean meals.
It is not only how it looks that tourists are surprised by. They are once again amazed by how carefully each of the foods is prepared that they don’t even know which one is the main dish. With various dishes cooked in different ways, such as braised, grilled, stewed, or seasoned, laid right before your eyes, you will be confused about which one to eat first. However, you don't have to think deeply about it. This is because the beauty of Korean food is to pair rice and side dishes at will. If you indulge in tasting the food one by one as you go, you will soon empty all the dishes on the table.
Want to Taste Many Side Dishes? Try ‘Namdo Hanjeongsik (Jeollanamdo-style Korean Table D'hote)
There is a saying in Korea that ‘if you are looking for the best food, go to Jeollanam-do.’ This is because jeollanam-do, located in the southwestern part of Korea, has mountains, fields, and the sea, which makes it a great place for delicious food. For this reason, in Jeolla-do, there are at least 15 to 20 basic side dishes that are served on the table, and this table setting is so impressive that there is a special term to refer to this bountiful table setting, namely ‘Namdo Hanjeongsik’ meaning Jeollanamdo-style Korean Table D'hote.
If you order ‘Namdo Hanjeongsik,’ side dishes made with various ingredients such as grilled galbi patties, marinated crab, salad, salted fish, and kimchi are served. Therefore, if you want to taste many Korean foods at once, it is wise to order Namdo Hanjeongsik. The best way to enjoy Namdo Hanjeongsik is to have steamed rice and side dishes together. If you eat side dishes alone, the seasoning may feel too strong, but if you eat it with steamed rice, the intensity of the seasoning is neutralized, which makes you enjoy the food all the more. It is also fun to pair side dishes of different flavors. For example, if you eat kimchi after eating grilled galbi patties, you would feel refreshed in your mouth, and if you eat roasted laver after marinated crab, the fishy taste is reduced, and you could have a better experience with the marinated crab. Soon enough, you would end up emptying side dishes one after another. In that case, ask them for a refill, and they will provide you withanother bountiful refill of food for free.
Namdo Hansang. Namdo-style Special Set Menu KRW24,000
13-minute walk from Exit 6 of Bongcheon Station
Bus no. 500 at Exit 5 of Bongcheon Station (Bongcheon Station -> Shinbong Elementary School) / 8 minutes
‘Steamed Barley Rice With Seasoned Vegetables Set Menu,’ Anything You Want It To Be
If you want to taste a healthy Korean meal mainly with vegetables, the ‘Steamed Barley Rice With Seasoned Vegetables Set Menu’ is recommendable. Barley is a grain larger than rice and has a chewy texture. It is known as a healthy food because of its high content of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The side dishes that come with it are all healthy, which include savory dishes such as seasoned vegetables, rich soybean paste jjigae made with fermented soybeans, and seasoned soybean paste made from soybean paste stewed with meat or tofu.
The best way to eat Steamed Barley Rice With Salad Set Menu is to enjoy it as ‘bibimbap.’ Put your favorite seasoned vegetables and young summer radish kimchi in a bowl with steamed rice, and then add red pepper paste or seasoned soybean paste little by little to season to suit your taste. Sesame oil is a must that cannot be missed at this time. Sesame oil has an excellent flavor and aroma, making the ingredients even more savory. Suppose you have a mouthful of bibimbap and chew it. In that case, you can enjoy the perfectly balanced combination of the barley's bursting texture, the seasoned vegetables' softness, and the kimchi's crunchiness. If the unique fermented smell of rich soybean paste jjigae is fine with you, it would be a good idea to add a spoonful of the stew to your bibimbap. The savory and deep taste of rich soybean paste jjigae will further enhance the appeal of one of the most famous Korean food choices.
Boritgogae Siheung Baegot Branch / Steamed Barley Rice Set Menu (for 2 servings) KRW 26,000
Center Plaza 1-cha, 80, Baegot 3-ro, Siheung-si, Gyeonggi-do
11:00-21:00 (Break time 15:00-17:00 / Closed on Wednesdays
Bus no. 99-2 or 62 at Exit 2 of Oido Station (Oido Station – Baegot Hansin The Hue·Hoban The Prime) / 10 minutes
Evolution of Korean Side Dish Culture, ‘Seafood Hansangcharim’
‘Hansangcharim’ is found in Korean raw fish restaurants as well. If you visit one, you will see a full spread of Korean food, with so many dishes that they cannot even be presented on a single table but piled in layers in some cases. If you order Sliced Raw Flatfish or Sliced Raw Rockfish, it comes with other seasonal seafood such as steamed shrimps, sea cucumbers, sea pineapples, and oysters, in addition to kimchi, seasoned vegetables, and more.
In fact, it is difficult to imagine eating only sliced raw fish at a Korean raw fish restaurant. Since there is competition among raw fish restaurants for the number of side dishes, you can experience a generous table setting at any of them. However, please refrain from eating a lot of complimentary side dishes before the main dish. If so, you may not be able to get the best taste of your main dish because you would already be so full. Another tip is to avoid leaving the restaurant immediately after finishing the main menu. The owner or chef may feel sorry to see their customer leave so soon while they are preparing spicy fish stew for the last menu. Be sure to enjoy it, the true end of the Korean ‘seafood hansangcharim’.
Yeonanbudu Mokpo Sinan 18-ho Hoetjib / Sliced Raw Fish + 60 Side Dishes Course KRW 180,000
119,Yeonanbudu-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
Bus no. 12or 24at Exit 2 of Dongincheon Station (Dongincheon Station -> Yeonanbudu-ro Samgeori) / 30 minutes
Bus no. 23 at Exit 1 of Jemulpo Station (Jemulpo Station -> Yeonanbudu-ro Samgeori) / 30 minutes