Korean cuisine facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Korean cuisine
Hanjeongsik, a full-course Korean meal with a varied array of banchan (side dishes)
Korean name
Hangul 한국요리 or 한식
Hanja 韓國料理 or 韓食
Revised Romanization Hanguk yori or Hansik
McCune–Reischauer Hankuk yori or Hansik

Korean cuisine came from very old traditions in Korea. It has developed through many environmental, political, and cultural changes. There are special rules for eating meals in Korea.

Korean cuisine is mostly made up of rice, noodles, vegetables, and meats. Most Korean meals have many side dishes (called banchan) along with their steam-cooked rice. Kimchi is usually eaten at every meal. Sesame oil, doenjang, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper and gochujang are ingredients that are often used in the food.

In different provinces of Korea, its ingredients and dishes are different, too. The Korean royal court cuisine used to serve all the best dishes from each province for the royal family. People follow special rules when they eat meals in Korea.


Traditional rice cakes like tteok are eaten as treats during holidays and festivals. Tteok means all rice cakes made from pounded rice (메떡, metteok), pounded glutinous rice (찰떡, chaltteok), or glutinous rice that has not been pounded. It is usually filled or covered with sweet mung bean paste, red bean paste, raisins, or a sweet, creamy filling made with sesame seeds, pumpkin, beans, pine nuts, and honey. Tteok is usually eaten for dessert or as a snack.

Dining manners

The oldest people are usually served first, and it is thought rude to pick up chopsticks or eat before the oldest people do so. In Korea, unlike in China and Japan, the rice bowl is not lifted up from the table. Spoons should not hit bowls while eating. You must not talk about dirty things. Some rules are now not important. For instance, talking used to be discouraged, but today people usually talk together at meals. Also, men usually ate at a different table than women, but now they eat all together. In Korea, they have both spoons and chopsticks, and together they are called sujeou (pronounced soo-juh - 수저). Usually, before they eat, people say, "Jalmukgessemnidah (잘 먹겠습니다)", and after they are finished, they say, "Jalmuggussemnidah (잘 먹었습니다)." Soups and stews must be set on the right side of the person who is eating.

List of Korean dishes

Meat Dishes
  • Bulgogi (불고기): a popular dish of beef cooked on a grill.
  • Galbi (갈비): pork or beef ribs, thicker than bulgogi. It is often called "Korean BBQ."
  • Samgyeopsal (삼겹살): Bacon, served like Galbi. It is often cooked with onions and garlic, and is eaten wrapped in lettuce. When it is wrapped in lettuce it is called ssam. The sauce spread on samgyeopsal when it is wrapped in lettuce is called ssamjang.
Fish dishes
  • Hoe (pronounced 'hweh' - 회): raw seafood dish dipped in sauce and eaten wrapped up in lettuce or sesame leaves.
  • Sannakji (산낙지): Raw octopus. It is usually served alive.
Soups and stews
  • Guk (국): soup
  • Tang (탕): stew
  • Jjigae (찌개): stew
Grain dishes
Usually made with rice, which is the main meal.
  • Bibimbap (비빔밥): rice with vegetables (나물)
  • Boribap (보리밥)
  • Ogokbap (오곡밥): five-grain rice
Snacks or Simple Foods
These simple foods can be bought at shops on the street and are usually thought of as snacks rather than meals.
  • Bindaetteok (빈대떡): Meaning mung-bean pancake
  • Bungeoppang (붕어빵): A popular fish-shaped cake, pastry.
  • Kimbap (김밥)


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Korean cuisine Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.