How Unique is Korean Cuisine?

Major Differences Between Korean and Western Food

Westerners have learned to love Korean food, but do not have much knowledge on the cuisine apart from kimchi and BBQ. A few tidbits might clear up certain aspects of this unique Asian cooking style.

Firstly, do you know that they treat food as medicine? Food is essential to one’s physical and emotional well-being. They keep the yin-yang balance in their foods by harmonizing the different ingredients. Korean cuisine is one of the world’s healthiest because of the wide use of natural and seasonal components of their food sources, like tofu, beans, garlic, and their all-natural kimchi.

Rice is a precious staple in the Korean diet, preferring the starchier short grain rice with its stickier texture. No Korean meal is complete without a bowl of steamed rice, and to waste even a single grain is anathema to their beliefs. Ever wondered why you are always served with almost an endless array of banchan (side dishes) when you eat at Korean restaurants? This is to make sure you do not waste your rice, or have rice leftovers. It means you didn’t like their food so that you left your rice unfinished.

Koreans go for the “all-in-one” meal, not the separate, multiple courses favored by Westerners. All their different dishes are served at once. You will have your own bowl of rice and soup. And for families, it’s customary to have 5 to 12 dishes of banchan with the main dishes served all together.

Another unique feature is that Korean food does not have any gravy component. They do serve soups and stews; they also serve porridge which is smooth and thick; even their stews have very little liquid in them. No gravy. Just lots of banchan.

Dessert? Ii’s alien to Koreans. There is no sweet conclusion to dining Korean. It is customary to finish with green tea or refreshing beverages such as sikhye (rice punch), hwachae (honeyed fruit punch) and ohmija (a mildly tangy five-flavor raspberry tea with pine nuts).

Korean Classics in a Western Setting in Lynnwood

Now you have a little more background on Korean food. The next best thing, of course, is to enjoy. When craving Korean, come to Arirang, your Lynnwood Korean BBQ restaurant.