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What meat do Korean eat?


Korean cuisine is well known for being rich and diverse, offering a range of flavors and textures that are unique to the region. One aspect of Korean food that has gained some notoriety is the meat that is commonly consumed. In this article, we will explore the various types of meat that Koreans eat, as well as some of the cultural and historical contexts that surround their consumption.


Beef is one of the most common types of meat consumed in Korea, with various cuts and preparations available. Grilled beef (galbi) is a particular favorite, often marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and other seasonings before being cooked over an open flame. Another popular dish is bulgogi, thinly sliced beef that is similarly marinated before being stir-fried or grilled. Beef ribs (soegogi kalbi) are another popular option, often served alongside rice and a range of side dishes.


Pork is another staple of Korean cuisine, with dishes like samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) and dwaejigogi (spicy pork) being particularly beloved. Pork ribs (dwaeji galbi) are another popular option, often served in a thick, savory sauce. In addition to these more traditional preparations, Korean cuisine also features a range of pork-based soups and stews, such as gamjatang (pork bone soup) and kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew with pork).


Chicken is a relatively recent addition to the Korean diet, but has quickly become one of the most popular meats in the country. Fried chicken (yangnyeom tongdak) is a particular favorite, with crispy batter coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. Chicken skewers (dak-kkochi) and chicken wings (pepperoni chicken) are also popular options. In addition to these more indulgent dishes, Korean cuisine also features a range of chicken-based soups and stews, such as samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup) and dakdoritang (spicy chicken stew).


Given Korea’s location on the coast, it is no surprise that seafood is a prominent part of the local diet. Raw fish (hoe) is a popular delicacy, often served with spicy dipping sauces or wrapped in lettuce leaves. Grilled or stir-fried squid (ojingeo) is another popular option, as is grilled mackerel (godeungeo-gui). Other seafood-based dishes include haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), eomuk (fish cake), and jangeo-gui (grilled eel).


While not as common as some of the other meats on this list, lamb is still consumed in Korea, particularly in the country’s Muslim communities. One popular preparation is lamb skewers (yanggochi), which are seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and other spices before being grilled over an open flame. Lamb chops (yangkkochi) are another option, often served with a side of rice and various banchan (side dishes).


Duck is a less common meat in Korea, but is still enjoyed on occasion. One popular dish is duck bulgogi, thinly sliced duck breast that is marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings before being grilled or stir-fried. Another option is duck soup (orrutang), which features tender chunks of duck meat simmered in a savory broth with vegetables and spices.

Vegetarian Options

While meat is a prominent part of Korean cuisine, there are also plenty of vegetarian options available. One popular dish is bibimbap, a colorful bowl of rice topped with various vegetables, egg, and a spicy chili paste. Other vegetarian options include japchae (stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and gamja jorim (braised potatoes).

Historical and Cultural Context

The consumption of meat in Korea has evolved over time, with different types of meat becoming more or less popular depending on various factors. For example, beef was historically reserved for the upper classes due to its high cost, while pork was more commonly consumed by the general population. Similarly, chicken only became popular in Korea in the 1970s, following the introduction of fast food chains like KFC.

Regional Variations

As with any cuisine, there are also regional variations when it comes to meat consumption in Korea. For example, Jeju Island is known for its black pork, which is raised on a special diet of chestnuts and acorns. In the city of Andong, there is a famous dish called Andong jjimdak, which features braised chicken with vegetables and soy sauce. These regional variations help to add even more diversity to an already rich culinary tradition.

Health Considerations

While meat can be a delicious and satisfying part of any diet, it is important to consider the health implications of consuming too much animal protein. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in plant-based diets in Korea and around the world, as people look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their overall health. There are plenty of delicious vegetarian options available in Korean cuisine that can help to balance out any meat-heavy meals.


In conclusion, meat is a prominent part of Korean cuisine, with a range of options available to suit any taste. Whether you prefer beef, pork, chicken, seafood, lamb, or duck, there are plenty of delicious dishes to explore. By understanding the historical and cultural context surrounding meat consumption in Korea, as well as the health implications of a meat-heavy diet, we can make more informed choices about what we eat and how it affects our bodies.

What is the most popular meat in Korea?

In the traditional Korean barbecue industry, domestic beef with a high degree of marbling is the preferred option, with US beef coming in second and Australian grain-fed products trailing behind.

What is Korea’s main meat?

Korean food is most famous for beef dishes like Bulgogi and Kalbi, but there are also many other dishes that combine beef with different vegetables. Some examples include Bulgogi Rice Bowls, Bibimbap, and Gungjung Tteokbokki, among others.

Do Koreans eat more pork or beef?

Research suggests that pork is the most consumed meat in South Korea. Samgyeopsal and dwaeji galbi are the two most popular pork dishes in the country, but there are many other Korean pork dishes to try.

What is Korean No 1 food?

Kimchi is a traditional and fundamental dish in Korean cuisine that has been around for a long time. It is made by fermenting vegetables, resulting in a spicy and sour flavor.

What is Korean beef called?

Bulgogi, a Korean dish, is a classic example of Korean cuisine that features thin slices of ribeye, tenderloin, or sirloin marinated in a savory-sweet sauce and quickly cooked over flame.

Which animal is Korean beef?

Hanwoo, also known as Korean cattle, is a breed of cattle that is native to Korea and has a history of being used as a draft animal for farming and transportation for over 5000 years. As time has passed, Hanwoo has evolved into a breed that is primarily used for meat production.

In addition to the various types of meat, Korean cuisine is also known for its unique preparation and cooking methods. For example, Korean barbecue (galbi) is often cooked at the table, with diners grilling their own meat over a small charcoal grill. This interactive dining experience is a popular way to enjoy meat dishes with friends and family.

Another unique aspect of Korean cuisine is the emphasis on banchan, or side dishes. These small plates of vegetables, pickles, and other accompaniments are served alongside the main dishes, adding a range of flavors and textures to the meal. Banchan can include everything from kimchi (spicy fermented vegetables) to stir-fried anchovies to acorn jelly.

Meat consumption in Korea has also been shaped by the country’s religious traditions. Buddhism, for example, encourages vegetarianism, and many Korean monks follow a strict vegetarian diet. In contrast, Islamic dietary laws prohibit the consumption of pork, which has led to the development of halal restaurants and markets in some parts of Korea.

Finally, it is worth noting that meat consumption in Korea has also been influenced by globalization and international culinary trends. Korean-style fried chicken has become a popular dish around the world in recent years, while Korean barbecue restaurants can be found in major cities around the globe. This cross-cultural exchange helps to keep Korean cuisine fresh and dynamic, while also introducing new audiences to its rich culinary traditions.

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