Most of our love for Korean food is defined by our expensive relationship with KBBQ, but there is much more to Korean cuisine than grilling loads of beef brisket. If you look past the BBQ section on the menu, there are hidden gems with Korean names that may generate “wtf” reactions from foreigners. The names can be intimidating, but the taste will make you perfect the pronunciation so you don’t butcher it the next time you order the dish. Here are 4 underrated Korean dishes that could just be your next favorite food.
1. Galbitang (갈비탕)
Many flavor-packed Korean dishes take hours to make, and a good galbitang is definitely in this category. Galbitang is a part of Korean royal court cuisine, and is made from simmering beef short ribs and vegetables. The dish is usually served with a soy sauce and mustard sauce for dipping the tender pieces of beef. You are bound to fall in love with this meaty soup.
2. Jjolmyun (쫄면)
The name sounds unique, just like the dish itself. Jjolmyun is noodles mixed with a sweet, sour, and spicy hot pepper paste-based sauce. It sounds generic, but the secret is in its noodles. The noodles are made out of wheat and starch, hence the noodle’s extremely chewy texture. You will not encounter these noodles in any other dish, so give it a try if you want something new.
3. Seolleongtang (설렁탕)
This is another “takes too long, but tastes too good” dish. The broth is made from simmering ox bones for hours, giving the broth a milky appearance. The soup isn’t seasoned so that customers can add salt and pepper to their taste. If you want to experience an entirely new taste, try out this flavorful soup.
4. Yukgaejang (육개장)
Yukgaejang, along with seollongtang and galbitang, is an authentic Korean soup. A large chunk of beef is boiled with vegetables to create the broth, and the broth is later seasoned with soy sauce, hot pepper oil, and sesame. The soup is then topped with shredded meat and vegetables such as taro roots and bean sprouts. The spicy yet rich flavor of the soup has been popular in Korea for centuries, so check out what the fuss is all about.
Trying new dishes when we want to get an authentic taste of a specific cuisine can be intimidating, but don’t worry — it’s all delicious. Keep these 4 dishes in mind the next time you go to a Korean restaurant so you don’t have to order KBBQ for the third time in a row.