Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering

The fact that there are 40 different types of kimchi should tell you something about Korean cuisine. As time changes, and Korean’s culture, has evolved greatly. Nevertheless, tradition cuisine, with a touch of other cuisines, plays an integral role in the national identity. There is no way to address every dishes, and certainly, this is cannot be exhaustive, but a list of some of the most served Korean dishes in Korea and worldwide.

Korean cuisine originates from agricultural and nomadic traditions in Southern Manchuria, when people in the region migrated down the peninsula and assimilated with the local people. The cuisine based largely on rice, vegetables and seafood. Traditional Korean dishes are served with banchan (side dishes), with steam-cooked rice. Kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish, is served on every meals. Here are the list of Korean dishes you should try.

1. Kimchi

Nothing spells Korean culture better than kimchi. A staple food, eaten in every meals, kimchi is basically fermented napa cabbage and Korean radish, seasoned by salt, Korean chilly powder, spring onions, garlic and other seasonings depend on the region.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Image by@National Institute of Korean Language

As it is regionally based, there are over 180 varieties of kimchi recognised, with many more circulating in rural areas in both North and South Korea. Spicy, not spicy, watery, not watery, even not made from napa cabbage, nevertheless, they all share the same highly nutritious and flavourful characteristics, as well as being a quintessential of every Korean meals.

2. Kimchi stew

As well-known as kimchi is, few knows that kimchi is so versatile that kimchi-derived dishes were designated a category of their own. And the most famous among them is kimchi-jiggae (kimchi stew). To make this dish, kimchi is finely chopped, sauteed in oil, and cooked with tofu and meat such as seafood, pork or beef, but most commonly known is with pork. And, interesting fact is, this dish will still be served with uncooked kimchi as a side dish.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Photographed by @Chloe Lim | Flickr

3. Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a meal-in-a-bowl mixed together, consists of rice, mixed vegetables, beef, egg, sesame oil and chilli paste or soy sauce (or both!) to taste, and mixed well. Interesting enough, bibimbap was once served to Korean kings as lunch; and ordinary Korean back in the day would eat the dish before new year, as a way to rid of all leftovers. The dish is highly customisable, and nowadays, it is a cheap and quickly made dish that appear everywhere.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Photographed by @UriTours

4. Gimbab

A dish made of dried seaweed rolled up with steamed rice, vegetables such as radish, fish or meat into cylindrical shape, then served by cutting in small, bite-size pieces. The origin of this dish is debatable, but the dish is now a distinct dish of Korea. Gimbab is a highly customisable dish, but must have gim (dried seaweed wrapping) and bab (rice). The filling can be tuna, beef, pork, or only vegetables, or even only rice wrapped in seaweed Chungmu-gimbap.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Image by @cutekirin

5. Tteokbokki

A type of rice cake made from small-sized Garaetteok, a long, cylindrical rice cake. Tteokbokki is commonly served with eomuk (Korean fish cakes), boiled eggs and scallions, all together in a thick, hot and spicy chilli paste sauce, or non-spicy soy sauce.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Image by @Korean Tourism Organization

6. Japchae

Literally translated to “noodles mixed with vegetables”, japchae is stir-fried glass noodles with carrots, spinach, cabbage,…any sort of vegetables. What is iconic about japchae is dangmyeon, a transparent noodles made from starch of sweet potatoes. Once a royal dish, jabchae is commonly served on special occasions, such as weddings and birthdays. It is served mostly as a banchan (side dish), but sometimes it can standalone as a main dish.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Photographed by @AhmadElq

7. Naengmyeon

Naengmyeon is translated to cold noodles, originated from Joseon era. There are two distinct variants, mul naengmyeon and bibim naengmyeon. The former is more commonly known, and is served cold in broth; the latter is served with a spicy chilli paste dressing and eaten mixed. Originally a Northern delicacy, the dish is now widely enjoyed throughout the peninsula. The cold, refreshing taste of mul naengmyeon, served with cucumber, pickled radish, and half a boiled egg on top makes us think that this is a summer dish, but actually it was made to serve in winter.

8. Samgyeopsal

Most of us must have been to a Korean grill restaurant once. The server would bring a slab of pork, unmarinated, unsalted, and start grilling it. The sizzling sound of the meat being cooked and the smell would definitely beg its eater to dig in, and to order another piece. It is served with lettuce, perilla leaves, sliced onions and raw garlic kimchi to make a type of wrap.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Image by @abex

9. Korean fried chicken

Should not be mistaken due to the familiar possible acronym, the dish was created in South Korea as a fusion dish, it is commonly considered a street food and eaten as snack. Korean fried chicken is unique due to its use of sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce. It is commonly eaten while drinking beer and considered an anju (food serves with drinks).

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Photographed by @korea.net

10. Bulogi

A dish famously associated with Lotteria, a South Korean fast-food chain, as bulogi flavoured burgers are part of its menu, it is originally made of thin slices of beef or pork, marinated in soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and ground black pepper. At home, it can be stir-fried, but it is commonly seen in restaurants, cooked at the table on a barbeque.

Korean cuisine: 10 of the most mouth-watering | Wanderlust Tips

Image by @FutureDish

Interview with Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul - Tourism Authority of Thailand | Wanderlust Tips

Thailand is ready to welcome international visitors

Exclusive Interview: Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul – Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific region, Tourism Authority of Thailand to hear about the plans to reopen and attract tourists after their official opening on June 1st.

Interview with Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul - Tourism Authority of Thailand | Wanderlust Tips

Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul

Hello Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul, as the world is slowly turning towards the new normal, people have started travelling again. Could you please update us on the preparation Thailand has undergone to readily welcome tourists in this post-pandemic time?

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has prepared for public health safety standards with the project “Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration” (SHA), jointly implemented by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Ministry of Health, government agencies and the private sector have endeavoured to strengthen hygiene and safety measures to bring peace of mind and confidence to visitors travelling to Thailand.

SHA is a standard for agencies, organisations and businesses within the tourism industry operating a management system for tourism products and services to ensure safety and hygiene standards are met to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all aspects of tourism, including:

(1) Restaurants / diners

(2) Hotels & accommodation

(3) Tourist areas

(4) Public/private transport

(5) Travel agency

(6) Health and beauty businesses

(7) Shopping malls

(8) Sports activities for tourism purposes

(9) Activities/meetings/cinemas/theatres

(10) Souvenir shops and other shops

In addition, Thailand is also implementing a new immigration policy that  focuses on the safety and accessibility of foreign tourists, meaning they must:

(1) Have a certificate of vaccination with a full dose of a Covid-19 vaccine

(2) Register for Thailand Pass

Interview with Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul - Tourism Authority of Thailand | Wanderlust Tips

Image by @Wason Wanichakorn | AP

Does the Tourism Authority of Thailand have any predictions on the change of tourist behaviour after 2 years of travel restriction? 

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourists put public health and safety first, leading to people travelling in small groups, mainly with family members, friends or acquaintances and opting to visit more serene, natural attractions free from crowds.

In the past 2-3 years, technology has played an increasingly important role in discovering in-depth information, influencing the behaviour of tourists, especially younger tourists. Therefore, the marketing segment in tourism needs to focus on tourists’ interests through mass media and high-tech applications.

One effective method to communicate and promote tourism is to use the actual experience stories of KOLs / Influencers / Travel Bloggers to inspire and motivate tourists, especially young tourists who wish to experience and promote the beauty of the country through images and video. In addition, the application of technology makes it easier for tourists to plan their trip, find information about places to visit, compare prices, book hotels, arrange transport and scout out all the best  shopping locations.

Working from home is likely to continue well beyond COVID-19, as most people have adapted to working outside the office, thus more time can be allocated to travelling. For tourism this sees the growing trend of a ‘Workation’ meaning that you can both travel and work, especially popular among young people who often thrive in this environment. Tourist attractions including workspaces equipped with office equipment and highspeed WIFI are gradually becoming more and more popular and are favoured by many tourists.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made tourists more aware of the importance of nature and the environment, helping to increase tourists’ interest in conservation, restoration, and regeneration of nature, bringing benefits to tourist attractions, as well as neighbouring communities. The model of sustainable tourism, also known as Responsible Tourism, will also become a trend favoured by the younger generation of tourists for years to come.

Interview with Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul - Tourism Authority of Thailand | Wanderlust Tips

Photograph by @Sermiagin Nikolai | Shutterstock

What are the new and outstanding features of destinations in Thailand that the Tourism Authority of Thailand wants to introduce to tourists?

In general, Thai businesses, including the tourism sector, always strive to develop and improve products and the quality of services. With the addition of new technologies, standards are also being raised, especially in terms of health and safety. All are expected to meet the demand and satisfy tourists in this new normal.

In the coming months, Thailand will aim to promote the diverse beauty of different tourist destinations in all regions of the country. By focusing on word of mouth marketing, and promoting the domestic tourism experience model all whilst focusing on traditional customs, celebrating the Thai way of life – its kindness, friendly community, and unique products iconic to each region, all so Thailand is ready to welcome guests to come and experience all it has to offer.

TAT will continue to introduce and promote tourist destinations that attract many Vietnamese tourists such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. The mentioned cities have a full range of tourism products and services to meet the needs of Vietnamese tourists, from entertainment, nightlife, religious tourism, culture tourism, to nature tourism and traditional customs.

In the past, the Ho Chi Minh Office for TAT, has been making continual effort to increase awareness through online and offline communication channels. Most recently, the success of ‘Fam Trip’, a program that allowed KOLs to experience tourism in the Phuket province. The trip focused on introducing attractive beach destinations and Michelin-starred cuisine, and received a wealth of positive feedback from Vietnamese tourists and the FIT group (self-sufficient travel). Currently, tour packages for the Bangkok – Pattaya / Bangkok – Ayutthaya routes are officially on sale by Tour Operator Vietnam and bookings are warmly welcomed.

Interview with Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul - Tourism Authority of Thailand | Wanderlust Tips

Phuket, Thailand

Sustainable development has asserted its importance especially after the outbreak of the pandemic. Could you please share with us Thailand’s development plan to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability in destinations?

The economic development policy using the “BCG Model” of the Government of Thailand is one of the mechanisms to promote the economy according to a six-year plan (2021-2026), including Bio Economy, Circular Economy, and Green Economy, in which tourism plays a vital role.

Therefore, TAT has built an operating strategy according to the BCG Model, contributing to the increase of revenue in tourism, from both domestic and inbound tourists. In particular, this policy aims at tourists with financial capability, especially those who have awareness of common responsibility, and are willing to spend on quality products and services. Additionally, products that come from innovation or through environmentally friendly production will have added value to maintain balance and create sustainability.

In addition, TAT also focuses on promoting responsible tourism, which is a tourism model that does not cause any impact on the environment or the community. One of the goals is carbon neutral tourism.

In order to lead Thailand to pollution-free tourism, TAT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with government agencies and private sector organisations with the aim of improving capacity in event organisation, calling for cooperation from government, private sector, tourists, and destinations to minimise the negative impacts of climate change and reduce global warming.

Interview with Ms. Sukanya Sirikanjanakul - Tourism Authority of Thailand | Wanderlust Tips

Image by @Amazing Thailand

Does the Tourism Authority of Thailand have any strategies to attract more Vietnamese tourists visiting or returning to Thailand? 

TAT Ho Chi Minh proposed an action plan to focus on Millennials – the main target group with potential and purchasing power. TAT will introduce and promote new destinations with high safety standards to raise awareness and inspire confidence in tourists. To increase awareness about Thailand, TAT focuses on promoting cooperation with important partners including tour operators, airlines, as well as Thai businesses operating in Vietnam. At the same time, TAT utilises influential KOLs / Influencers / Travel Bloggers in reaching the targeted groups, to communicate and promote destinations.

TAT is also focusing on LGBTQ groups by proactively organising activities to promote love and form an attachment to Thailand through different mediums such as movies, TV series, music, Thai language and culture, actively encouraging travel to Thailand to participate in real experiences.

In the next few months, various campaigns and promotions, including Special Offers, suitable to the wishes of each target group, will be co-organised with travel companies, airlines and online shopping outlets, to promote tourism in Thailand.

Could you share some useful travel tips for Thailand with Wanderlust Tips Magazine readers?

After the Covid-19 pandemic, TAT cooperated with tourism industry agencies to establish public health and safety standards across the board.

Infrastructure, tourism products and services have all been upgraded and developed to bring the best experiences to visitors. For example, in Bangkok, the tram system has been upgraded and expanded with more lines, covering almost every corner of the city. Vietnamese tourists when coming to Bangkok can easily use the modern, world-class tram system to reach destinations or experience local life conveniently.

Thailand’s famous natural attractions such as Maya Bay, Phuket, have been restored to their idyllic natural state, providing exciting experiences and beautiful landscapes like never before.

Thailand has always been value for money for every tourist. The experiences that visitors have here are of endless quality and value. Thailand is always ready to welcome Vietnamese tourists with sincerity and friendship.