Korean Cuisine, Why it is What it is

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If you want to know where it comes from and what Korean gastronomy consists of, stay with me for a while reading this blog so that together we can answer these questions.

First, we have to remember that South Korea is located in Northeast Asia and has an agricultural history that goes back more than 5,000 years, a period when a unique language, culture, and cuisine developed.

Picture by Manakin from IStock 

From where is it?

Korean food arose from the need to preserve food during the hot summers and the long winters of the Korean peninsula, characterized by its rocky fronts and rugged mountains. Finally, the isolation and climatic conditions allowed the early Koreans to develop one of the most iconic cultural legacies of Korean cuisine: fermented foods.

Picture by makafood from pexels

On the other hand, much of the food and customs preserved until today in Korean cuisine come from royal cuisine and court customs. Where bowls of rice and soup were served as the main meal, and numerous side dishes were shared and meticulously selected to complement each other.

Picture by bujobclub from Pixabay 

What’s the subject?

Korean cuisine is characterized by fermented grains and vegetables, giving rise to various types of Jang (fermented soybean), gochujang (red bell pepper paste), and many types of kimchi. Another significant pillar is rice, which is essential and is present in almost every meal and is only sometimes replaced by noodles. Seafood is also famous for spices and sauces such as sesame oil, gochujang and Jang, garlic, ginger, and chili flakes. Last and not least, there is kimchi. The spicy Korean cabbage has more than a hundred varieties and is a constant at every meal.

Picture by touchngo from Pixabay

It should be necessary to mention that Korean cuisine places great importance on foods used as medicine, and exotic ingredients are used, for example, dried persimmon, red dates, pine seeds, chestnuts, ginkgo, and ginseng. Just as much as specially brewed teas. Because Koreans believe that food and medicine share a similar origin and food is the best medicine.

In conclusion, Korean cuisine is directly related to geography, climate, and ancient court customs. Turn out is one of the defining elements of Korean culture. 

So, the next question is: do you want to try a Korean dish? Because I do, and I’m looking forward to it so much that I’m thinking of preparing one and telling you how it goes.


Kim, S. H., Kim, M. S., Lee, M. S., Park, Y. S., Lee, H. J., Kang, S., … Kwon, D. Y. (2016). Korean diet: Characteristics and historical background. Journal of Ethnic Foods, 3(1), 26–31. doi:10.1016/j.jef.2016.03.002 

Korea Net. (s.f). Food. https://www.korea.net/AboutKorea/Korean-Life/Food

Hidden Korea. (s.f). Korean Food. https://www.pbs.org/hiddenkorea/food.htm

Written by: Marisol Montiel

Reviewed by: Angie Salavarria


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