Shopping for food in Korea can be quite the adventure. Even though we do have access to American food at the commissary, we try to incorporate local foods into our diet as much as possible – for the economy and for the cultural experience.
We’re an adventurous bunch, always willing to try new things that we find at Emart or the local market.
So for this week’s 10 in 10 post, I am sharing ten local Korean foods (or drinks) that I keep in the fridge:
Did that one surprise you?
I keep various types of kimchi in the fridge to add to our meals. Our favorite so far has been crisp, crunchy cucumber kimchi.
2. Flavored Tofu
We just recently discovered this treat. Tofu is cheap here and they even make firm tofu that is already flavored.
They taste great in stir fry or added to our soups.
Gochujang is a spicy, fermented soy bean paste. That sounds really gross but I can assure you it’s not. It’s like a mix between cocktail sauce and hot sauce.
It’s very different but delicious on grilled meat, burgers, just about anything!
4. Pickled Radishes
You can buy all kinds of different shaped pickled radishes for putting in Kimbap or serving as a side dish. The taste kind of reminds me of bread and butter pickles – kind of sweet with a nice tartness at the back.
I don’t buy these often, but whenever we go out and get fried chicken we end up with 3-4 packages that we snack on through the week.
5. Giant Green Onions
I know you can get green onions in America, but the green onions here are humongous. When I posted a picture of them on Facebook people thought they were leeks.
See? I told you so!
6. Chilsung Soda
We are not huge soda people. And Korea is not huge on soda either. You don’t get refills at Burger King here. Most restaurants carry tiny thin cans of Coke and Pepsi for 500 won (50 cents).
But for some reason Jay and I have fallen in love with Chilsung soda. It tastes a lot like 7-up but it’s made with real sugar. It goes great with cranberry juice.
We don’t drink it often, but every once in a while Jay will bring a bottle home to share.
7. Bulgogi Meat and Seasoning
Bulgogi is the king of comfort food for a lot of Koreans. It’s like mac & cheese for us. And it’s super simple to make – even from scratch.
Basically, it is thinly cut beef, marinated in a ginger bbq sauce, and then sauteed or grilled with onions and served over rice.
You can find bottles of bulgogi seasoning in most Asian markets in the US also.
8. Cherry Tomatoes
Our family is picky about tomatoes – especially Denna.
Local produce vendors are in abundance here, and we have discovered that their cherry tomatoes are ripe, juicy, and divine.
They are delivered fresh from the farm every day and aren’t sprayed with chemicals to make them look ripe when they really aren’t.
9. Yogurt Drinks
These little 2-gulp drinks are not the thick yogurt smoothies you are used to in the States. This is more like watered-down milk that comes in such flavors as apple, grape, and even green tea.
They sell them by the case here and even serve them in restaurants (as if the kimchi wasn’t enough probiotics for your gut!)
Technically this is a freezer food, but I had to include it here because we always have some on hand.
Mandu are dumplings filled with cooked meat and veggies. Sometimes they might have little rice noodles in the filling, or kimchi.
Fresh ones from a restaurant are much better, but the grocery stores stock frozen varieties that are easy to steam or saute at home.
Have you ever tried any of these things? What “international” food do you have in your fridge?