Koreans are well-known for working intensely during office hours and enjoying drinks and a meal to relax. In this regard, other countries find the company meal culture in Korea to be fun and interesting, and an all-round enjoyable experience. The late host of CNN’s “Parts Unknown”, Anthony Bourdain, had experienced Korea’s dining culture while shooting an episode of his food travel program in Korea. It became a huge topic when he recruited Korean office workers on the streets and drank soju bombs, ate pork belly, and visited a karaoke bar. First rounds are never enough for Korean office workers. Let’s explore the staple dining options for Korean office workers who don’t have to worry about stores closing too early, from the first to the third round.
It’s not a company dinner without this! Pork belly cooking on a grill with a glass of soju.
The company dinner experience officially starts with the sounds of pork belly sizzling on a hot grill resonates and you take a shot of soju after clinking glasses with a colleague sitting across from you. A shot of soju with pork belly is a fantastic combination and a stable menu among Korean office workers.
With its universally appealing taste, pork belly, is a loved menu item that is cherished in social gatherings for bringing people, who enjoy eating and drinking in lively atmospheres, together. Grilled pork belly is also popular overseas. A glass of soju with grilled pork belly wrapped in lettuce has become a scene you can see across the world.
A favorite dish of Koreans that is both delicious and good value! Crispy fried chicken and a glass of beer!
Korean’s have an extraordinary love for fried chicken. Fried chicken has long been a food for the soul and a leading dish in Korea’s dining culture. A Korean food consumer survey was conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in 2021 found that among 8,500 locals in 16 major cities worldwide, Korean-style fried chicken had emerged as the most preferred Korean dish among those who had experienced Korean cuisine. Korean-style fried chicken embraced ingredients like red chili paste and soy sauce which gives it a unique Korean flavor. As consumer preferences and tastes diversify, fried chicken dishes have been evolving across boundaries. In Korea’s specialty restaurant brands, menu items with exciting names have been released like Garlic Soy Fried Chicken, Ttaengcho Mayo Fried Chicken, Carbonara Fried Chicken, Fried Chicken with Shishito Peppers and Anchovy, and Spicy Seasoned Fried Chicken (Gomawo Chicken), attracting much attention and popularity just from the curiosity of their flavors. The Fried Chicken with Shishito Peppers and Anchovy, in particular has received acclaim for its unconventional approach of incorporating dried chili peppers and anchovies into the ingredients which are normally used in side dishes in Korea.
Additionally, a must-try food for visitors to Korea is “Chimaek”. It’s a word created by combining the Korean words for fried chicken and beer. This particular dish represents how fried chicken and beer have become fused in Korean culture. The crispy exterior and juicy chicken meat is a great combination to naturally enhance the flavors and enjoyment of beer. Nothing beats a hot summer night with a crispy piece of fried chicken and a cold beer.
A hip menu leading the hip scene.
The more you chew, the savory it gets!
A glass of beer with a crunchy dried young pollack!
The taste of dried young pollack gets savory the more you chew it. The dish made by drying young pollack boasts as a great pairing with beer. There’s nothing that tastes more delightful than tearing a crispy dried young pollack with your hands and dipping it in gochujang or mayonnaise.
Euljiro is famous for its dried young pollack alley. It has become a frequented hot spot for young people with a nickname “Hipjiro”. This term was created by combining “Hip” and “Euljiro”. If you could pick the hippest menu in Hipjiro, it’d be the dried young pollack. Not too long ago, this dish was enjoyed mostly by the older generation, but with the resurgence of retro trends and beer, it has transformed into an exciting and fresh dish for the younger generation as well. Not only that, this alley leads to Seoul’s unique night market culture which draws in quite the crowd after dark.
Pork backbone stew has captivated the tastebuds of millennials and Generation Z. Have a shot of soju with spicy and hearty broth!
Pork backbone stew contains potatoes, pork backbone, and pork neck bones. You can enjoy eating fluffy potatoes and peeling the meat off of the bones, along with a spicy and savory broth that naturally complements rice. A variety of ingredients go into the stew. Along with the main ingredients, it also contains kimchi cabbages, perilla leaves, perilla powder, enoki mushrooms, scallions, and hand-pulled dough to create a rich broth. The moment the hot and spicy broth enters your mouth, you automatically think of soju. Each ingredient has a distinct taste and they all come together to create harmony. A favorite dish of fathers, pork backbone stew has captivated the palates of millennials and generation z with its familiar and comforting flavors. It has secured its place as a popular choice among these groups.
The flavors of a rich and smooth broth! A shot of soju with hot broth in an earthenware bowl!
Beef tripe and seonji hangover soup is made with the contents of a cow’s stomach and coagulated blood. This stew boasts rich and refreshing flavors, but it’s also abundant in protein and enzymes because it utilizes the stomach of a cow. It makes an excellent dish to boost your stamina that will aid in recovering energy. The coagulated blood, seonji, contains plenty of iron which contributes to preventing anemia and helps with detoxing. There’s no better food to aid in breaking down alcohol with its high minerals and protein content. Other ingredients included in the soup are bean sprouts and scallions. The cow’s stomach has a chewy texture, while the coagulated blood is tender and soft. The dish is designed to relieve hangovers and boost energy, but it also goes well with alcohol as a side dish.
A light broth with no greasiness! A shot of soju with a rich and clear ox bone broth!
The broth of an ox bone soup is made with the head of a cow, intestines, bones, and other ingredients, and is cooked until the broth becomes rich and milky. It’s a major dish of Seoul and an indispensable part of Korean cuisine. It takes long hours of simmering the cow bones to create the broth and turn it into a delicacy. The soups flavors are enhanced by adding thinly sliced green onions and sprinkling salt or pepper to add to the taste. There’s no set way to eat it, but people commonly start by eating the noodles and meat (brisket or flank) first, and then they add rice to the remaining broth. Also, adding diced radish kimchi, kimchi, and kimchi juice to the broth will give it a tangy taste to enhance the flavor. It’s a sought-after dish for those looking for something high in protein while being health-conscious. You can enjoy other variations like offal soup, oxtail soup, ox knee soup, and boiled beef slices along with it.