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What do Koreans normally eat for dinner?


Korean cuisine is known for its bold and spicy flavors, and dinner is considered the main meal of the day in Korea. It is a time to gather with family and friends, enjoy a variety of dishes, and share stories about the day. In this article, we will explore the typical Korean dinner, including the most popular dishes, ingredients, and customs.

The Basics of Korean Cuisine

Before diving into the specifics of Korean dinner, it’s important to understand the basics of Korean cuisine. Rice is a staple food in Korea, and it is often served with a variety of side dishes called banchan. These can include kimchi (fermented vegetables), namul (seasoned vegetables), and jeon (pan-fried pancakes). Korean meals also often feature soups and stews, grilled or stir-fried meats, and noodles.

Main Dishes

For the main course of a Korean dinner, there are several popular options. One of the most well-known is bibimbap, which consists of rice topped with vegetables, meat, egg, and gochujang (a spicy red pepper paste). Another popular dish is bulgogi, thinly sliced beef that is marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings before being grilled or stir-fried. Other main dishes might include galbi (beef or pork ribs), samgyetang (chicken soup with ginseng), or jjigae (spicy stew).

Side Dishes

As mentioned earlier, banchan are an essential part of any Korean meal. There are dozens of different types of banchan, but some of the most common include kimchi (of which there are many varieties), japchae (sweet potato noodles with vegetables), and kongnamul (soybean sprouts). Some Korean restaurants will serve as many as a dozen or more banchan with each meal.


Koreans enjoy a variety of drinks with their meals, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. One popular non-alcoholic drink is sikhye, a sweet rice drink that is often served cold. Korean beer and soju (a clear, distilled alcohol) are also popular choices. Soju is often served in small shot glasses and is typically consumed alongside food rather than on its own.

Dining Customs

In Korea, it is customary to remove one’s shoes before entering a home or restaurant. It is also polite to wait for the eldest person at the table to begin eating before starting oneself. Chopsticks and spoons are the primary utensils used in Korean cuisine, and it’s considered impolite to leave chopsticks sticking straight up in a bowl of rice.

Regional Variations

Like many cuisines, Korean food varies depending on the region. For example, in the coastal city of Busan, seafood dishes are particularly popular. In the Jeolla province, which is known for its fertile farmland, rice and vegetable dishes take center stage.

Special Occasions

Korean cuisine plays an important role in traditional celebrations and holidays. For example, during Lunar New Year (Seollal), families will gather to eat tteokguk (rice cake soup), which symbolizes gaining another year of age. During Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), people will often make songpyeon (a type of rice cake) and share it with family and friends.

Vegetarian Options

While Korean cuisine is known for its meat dishes, there are plenty of vegetarian options available as well. Many banchan are vegetarian-friendly, and some restaurants specialize in vegetarian or Buddhist temple cuisine (which is always vegetarian).

Health Benefits

Korean cuisine is often considered a healthy choice, as it features plenty of vegetables and lean meats. Fermented foods like kimchi are also rich in probiotics, which can aid in digestion and support overall health.


In conclusion, Korean dinner offers a wide variety of dishes that are both flavorful and healthy. From bibimbap to bulgogi to banchan, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re dining with family or friends, or simply want to explore the world of Korean cuisine on your own, there’s never been a better time to try some of these delicious dishes.

What is the typical dinner in Korea?

A traditional Korean meal consists of rice, kimchi, and a soup or stew. These three components are considered essential, and are often accompanied by various side dishes called banchan.

What food do Koreans eat daily?

Korean food primarily consists of rice, seafood, and vegetables, with meat also being commonly consumed in South Korea. Unlike many other diets, dairy products are not a significant part of traditional Korean cuisine. The number of side dishes accompanying steamed short-grain rice determines the name of a traditional Korean meal, which is called “banchan.”

How many meals do Koreans eat a day?

In Korean culture, there is no differentiation between breakfast, lunch, or dinner, leading to the consumption of rice three times a day. Along with rice, an individual serving of soup may also be served. Jjigae or jungol, a type of thick and salty hot pot, is placed in the center of the table for communal sharing.

What is Korean No 1 food?

Kimchi is an integral part of Korean cuisine and is believed to be one of the oldest dishes. It consists of fermented vegetables that are spicy and sour in taste.

What is a normal Korean breakfast?

A typical Korean breakfast may consist of boiled rice, soups, fish or meat stews, and small side dishes called banchan. Banchan includes fermented vegetables like the popular kimchi and are also commonly served during lunch and dinner.

What are 3 eating habits in Korea?

The K-diet emphasizes eating a lot of vegetables, a moderate to high amount of legumes and fish, and a small amount of red meat. Banchan, a Korean side dish, is typically seasoned with fermented soy products, medicinal herbs, and sesame or perilla oil.

Korean cuisine has become increasingly popular around the world, with Korean restaurants popping up in major cities across the globe. This has led to a greater appreciation for Korean food and culture, and has helped to introduce new audiences to the bold flavors and unique dishes that make up Korean cuisine.

One trend that has emerged in recent years is the fusion of Korean cuisine with other international flavors. For example, Korean-style tacos or burritos have become a popular street food item in some cities, combining classic Korean ingredients like bulgogi or kimchi with Mexican-style tortillas and toppings. Similarly, Korean fried chicken has become a popular dish in some parts of the world, incorporating Korean-style spices and sauces into a beloved American comfort food.

Overall, Korean dinner offers a rich and diverse culinary experience that is sure to delight anyone who appreciates bold flavors and fresh ingredients. Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant and exciting cuisine. So why not try something new and explore the world of Korean dinner today?

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