Food Culture and Tradition

Food, People and Culture Resources

Foods Commonly Used in Korea


The foods that are the daily staples reflect the produce of agriculture: rice, barley, and many varieties of beans, cabbages, potatoes, and squash. Pear and persimmon trees are most common, but peaches, chestnuts, and walnuts are also enjoyed. While the Chinese introduced market gardening and irrigation methods, the Japanese influence was greater in increasing the yields of the fishing industry and it is believed that the Japanese introduced the culture of maize and tobacco.

Rice and rice dishes – that is rice mixed with barley, beans and potatoes – head the list of staple Korean foods. Two Korean specialties include the brined, pickled and hotly, even fiery spiced kimchi and the bland tea called sungyung, which is made by throwing cold water on the burned rice or barley at the bottom of the pot. This latter is served as a beverage at the conclusion of the meal.

Koreans enjoy soups immensely and show their appreciation by slurping, which is accepted etiquette. Many Chinese and Japanese dishes find a place together with these distinctly Korean specialties, while barbecued and roasted meats and many intricate dishes add to the great variety. Chinese cuisine is still the richest and most varied, Japanese the sweetest, and Korean tastes include both, yet again with special touches that make it different, like sinsun-lo, the Korean “hot pot”.

Garlic, chili peppers, and sesame seeds are the outstanding seasonings.

Copyright © - All Rights Reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.