Korean Food Culture: A Short History


It’s not just about the cuisine but the overall experience. Korean cuisine is clearly having a moment. The globe has fallen in love with the distinct textures and delectable flavours. One of the best ways to learn about Korean food is to dig into its history. In this blog post, we discuss Korean culinary culture so that the next time you dine at a Korean restaurant or prepare a Korean meal in your kitchen, you’ll be familiar with the etiquette and traditions to make the most of your experience.

Traditions Of Korean Food

Spicy And Hot Food

Korean food is recognized for being spicy and hot, So you’d assume the chilli pepper has been around a long time, but it was introduced to Korea by Portuguese traders in the 17th century. Cheongyang is the hottest chilli pepper in Korea. Cheongyang pepper is believed to have a Scoville value of 10,000. Cheongyang chilli peppers contain more capsaicin compared to other chilli peppers. It is high in vitamin C and it’s supposed to increase metabolism. But a word of caution: don’t overeat, or you’ll get a stomach ache. Top tip: if you don’t like a lot of spice, remove the seeds to reduce the intensity.

This hot pepper is commonly used in Korean recipes as a powder or to make gochujang. Tteokbokki (rice cakes in chilli sauce), jjambbong (hot seafood noodle soup), and buldak (heavily spiced BBQ chicken) are all spicy Korean meals. In Korea, there are also many non-spicy meals. Bulgogi, Kimbap, (grilled and marinated meat), japchae (sweet potato starch noodles), and pajeon (Korean spring onions and pancakes) are among them. Check out the korean restaurant Cheltenham.

Meals Are Shared

Sharing food is very important in Korean culture. Sharing banchan (Korean side dishes) is a staple on the table at mealtimes in Korea, and therefore meals are inherently more communal. Banchan are small side dishes that are scattered over the table. Every Korean dining table appears like it’s hosting a party, with lots of variety and colour. It’s impolite to return to the dishes during community meals continually. Take only what you need each time, don’t double-dip, and avoid eating directly from the serving plates.

In a Korean restaurant, you don’t even have to order banchan; they’ll bring it out for you and it’ll always include kimchi. Banchan consists of vegetable dishes, seasoned eggs, shellfish, and occasionally meat. Furthermore, banchan is frequently complimentary in restaurants, and you can often simply ask for a refill! There is occasionally a community grill in the middle of the table where you can grill your meat. Check out food places cheltenham.

Food Is Medicine

Koreans recognize that food is important not only for nutrition but also for mental and emotional health. Koreans regard a nutritious diet not only as a remedy for certain illnesses and disorders but also as a prevention measure. Koreans think eating should be harmonious to gain comprehensive health advantages from traditional Korean meals. There is a belief in the five elements (fire, water, earth, wood and air) and yin and yang, which all contribute to the presentation and flavour of food, similar to Japanese culture. These five elements can be found in five different tastes (salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and spicy) and five colours (blue, white, black, yellow, and red).


It is apparent that Koreans love food for more than just survival; it is also about the experience and the emotional connection. With the emergence of K-culture, there is an increased interest in all things Korean worldwide, and Korean food is a big part of that. If you haven’t tried much Korean food yet, start tasting — you’re in for a sensory overload. Alternatively, choose one of our Asian cuisine gift bundles.

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