The Best Korean Food Staple

korean food staples

Korean food is so delicious! A typical Korean meal typically has something for everyone. With its spicy kimchi, beef, rice, vegetables, and Korean kteo, there are tons of items to choose from. I’ll give you some tips on picking the right ones for your family.

The first thing to know about Korean food staples is that they are rarely spicy. Spicy food just isn’t found in Korea. Most of their dishes are moderately spicier than the average western dish. This is probably a good thing because much of the food is quite temperamental. The vegetables are rarely spiced as well, although I have noticed that with some of the more “street” Korean dishes, the veggies and the Korean bibimbap have been infused with strong flavors.

Korean Food Staple

A hand holding an apple

Spicy food can be introduced into the Korean diet, but not all the time. Soybean soup is a great example of how spicy a typical meal can be when Korean staples are added. Banchan, or the basic food staple of Korean cuisine, comes in many forms. Traditionally, banchan was always soup, but over the years, it’s also come to mean things like grilled meat and seafood as well.

Soybean Soup

A bowl of food on a table

Soybean soup is one of the most common Korean food staples and definitely the easiest to make. All you need is some gummy vegetable, preferably carrot, celery, onion, radish, and potato. Combine these four ingredients in a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Then, add a teaspoon of white pepper flakes and mix again. Add in a cup of water and mix everything together until smooth and spreadable. You can refrigerate the dish or serve right out if desired.

Cooking vegetables is very common in Korea, and one of the most traditional ways to prepare vegetables is to make a flavored rice starch stock. This stock is used to flavor the other ingredients in the dish. A popular recipe uses leftover vegetables from the Chinese restaurant I once ate there. The leftovers were cut up into small pieces and mixed with some Chinese soy sauce. The resulting sauce is a wonderful combination of sweet and sour that my husband loved. A similar dish could also use leftover noodles from a Chinese restaurant; just increase the amount of soy sauce for the thickness, and it will still be delicious.


Banchan is always served together with two kinds of rice: white and red. Typically, Korean foods are served with either white or red beans, although green beans are also becoming more common in Korean dishes. Other common Korean foods also come in pairs. These pairs can include a variety of vegetables and spices:

Probably the best-known Korean food staples are the three types of food trucks that have become worldwide favorites: the beef gourmet, the seafood gourmet, and the pop-up truck. The beef gourmet is very popular all over the world because it is very easy to make. All you need is beef giblets, soybean oil, minced beef, a few vegetables (such as radishes or carrots), and a couple of cups of water. Many restaurants specializing in gourmet beef bulgogi use beef shirataki, a type of Japanese tendon, for their noodles.

One of my favorites among the many Korean food items that I’ve tried is the spicy rice cake. The cakes are very well-known in Korea, where they are frequently seen all over the country. Spicy rice cake has an excellent taste, which is enhanced by the fact that it is typically topped with Mandarin oranges, which impart a wonderful citrus flavor to the entire dessert.

Seafood Gjokgae

The next most popular Korean food staple is the seafood gjokgae. If you go to any Korean restaurant, you will likely notice at least one seafood gjokgae on the menu. This dish is relatively simple to make, which is why many Korean chefs choose to use boneless white fish for this preparation. All you need for this dish is a seafood product (usually a fish such as white tuna, salmon, or white shrimp), boneless, thinly sliced white fish, a cup of sugar, and some Mandarin oranges. Once you mix up all the ingredients, pour enough of the sugar into the fish to cover it. You then flip the fish over so that it is side down and gently roll the bottom side of the fish over the ingredients to seal the ingredients into the fish.

My favorite Korean dishes like the above are created using gi cha or bok gi. The name itself describes the filling, which is a mixture of soy sauce, pickled ginger, and garlic. Other popular fillings are gi soo, which translates to “meat soup” but can also be spiced with onions or spicy hot pepper sauce. The meat in this soup often has been cooked in a pig’s stomach before being added to the soup for maximum flavor.

Bottom Line

Although there are many different types of Korean food, the above are some of the most popular. I hope you have learned a little bit about this popular culture and their favorite dishes. By taking a little bit of time to explore the different flavors of Korean cuisine, you can enjoy some of the best food in the world!

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter