Korean food, many times known as K-Food have been making the headlines all over the world. Following the popularity of K-Pop, K-Food has become many people’s favorite delicacies to get with their friends and families. Other than the already popular food like Samgyupsal, Bulgogi, and Korean Fried Chicken, there are also many unique foods that are hard to find anywhere else but in Korea. This list will talk about all the unique but nevertheless yummy food you should definitely get when you’re in Korea. Note that some of these food will definitely have some similarities with foods from other countries, but many of these delicacies have a unique Korean touch to it.
1. Spicy Chicken Feet or Dakbal (닭발)
Chicken Feet is a delicacy not unfamiliar to many Asian countries. However to many other people, Chicken Feet may be a unique food that you cannot find nearby. The Korean version of Chicken feet is special due to the sauce. Like many other Korean foods, the spiciness of Gochujang (Korean Chili Paste) is what makes Dakbal a food you should never miss out from trying in Korea. More interestingly, for those of you who finds eating Dakbal bothersome, most places that serve Dakbal in Korea also provides a boneless version of it.
This food is especially perfect as a side dish when you go out to drink SoMaek (a mixture of Soju and Beer). You can get Dakbal in various places in Korea, but here is the #1 rated Dakbal spot by Mangoplate.com.
Name: Yeopki Kkom Dakbal (엽기꼼닭발)
Address: 서울특별시 성동구 왕십리로22길 3
3 Wangsimniro 22(isibi)-gil, Wangsimnidoseon-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Price: 20,000 KRW~ for two
Business Hours: Monday – Saturday 16.00 – 12.30 (Sunday off)
2. Pig Trotters or Jokbal (족발)
Eating pork is not exactly an unfamiliar dish to many people, however, eating Pork Trotter, or Pig Feet can bring confusion to many who are not used to this. Korea’s version of the Pork Trotter is unique as it is braised for a long time so that the flavor can be tasted. Pork Trotter is rich with collagen which makes it a popular dish for women who wants to retain their youth.
Although Jokbal can be find in many places across the country, one particular restaurant have had years long experience in making the perfect Jokbal. Manjok Ohyang is very popular in the country for its delicate but flavorful Jokbal, even getting a Michelin Guide.
Name: Manjok Ohyang Jokbal (만족오향족발)
Address: 서울특별시 중구 서소문로 134-7
134-7 Seosomun-ro, Taepyeongno 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Price: 30,000 KRW~ for two
Business Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30 – 22:20, Saturday- Sunday 12:00 – 21:50
3. Small Intestines and Abomasum/Rectum or Gopchang and Makchang (곱창/막창)
Small intestine and rectum is a meal that is loved by the Korean population for its texture and ability to retain the juiciness. Gopchang, or small intestines and Makchang or abomasum for cattle and rectum for pork is usually eaten while drinking due to its oiliness. However, this should not discourage anyone from trying this dish out. It is salty and the texture is very unique, I am sure that you won’t stop reaching out for another piece while eating. It is usually served as a barbecue, similar to other K-BBQs.
This dish can either be Pork or Beef. This recommended place however serves the small intestines and abomasum from Hanwoo, Korean premium beef so the quality is guaranteed. The price might be on the pricier side but this is definitely a must-try!
Name: Jinmi Hanwoo Gopchang (진미한우곱창)
Address: 서울특별시 강동구 천중로40길 50
50 Cheonjung-ro 40-gil, Gil-dong, Gangdong-gu, Seoul
Price: 30,000-40,000 KRW for two
Business Hours: Monday – Saturday 17.00 – 23.00 (Sundays Off)
4. Live Octopus or Sannakji (산낙지)
Octopus, definitely a food that does not seem to unique or exotic. But Live Octopus, or at least seemingly alive octopus, now, have you ever heard about this? The live octopus is cut into pieces, but due to a mechanism that octopus can still move its nerves even after being cut, it makes it seem like it is still alive. This delicacy is unique enough for those of you who likes challenges and wants to try new things. Warning that this should be eaten carefully and maybe not at home.
There are not that many restaurants that solely sells Sannakji or Sannakji Tang Tang I (산낙지 탕탕이), so most of the time, it is together with Yukhoe (육회) or Beef Tartare. Check out the information for one of the most popular Sannakji Tang Tang I place.
Name: Yukhoe Jamae (육회자매)
Address: 서울특별시 종로구 종로 200-4 제우빌딩
200-4 Jong-ro, Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Price: 25,000 KRW~ for two
Business Hours: Monday – Satuday 09.00 – 22.00 (Sundays Off)
Break TIme: 14.00 – 15.00
5. Raw Crab Marinated with Soy Sauce or Ganjang Gejang (간장게장)
For Seafood lovers, this is a must try. Koreans like their seafoods raw most of the time, and this includes this crab dish that is just as unique as the other few dishes already mentioned. If you’ve ever tried Soy Sauce marinated Salmon sashimi or Raw Shrimp, this will taste pretty familiar. Sweet with a little bit of sourness and saltiness, this is what Koreans would say is a Bap Doduk (밥도둑) or a rice stealer, basically a food that makes you feel like eating with rice without stopping.
Ganjang Gejang is one of the few dishes that may seem unfamiliar or unique, but it is almost impossible to not like. It might be quite difficult to find the best place to eat this food, but this restaurant have been famous for serving mouth-watering Ganjang Gejangs.
Name: Jinmi Sikdang (진미식당)
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 마포대로 186-6 선화의원
186-6 Mapo-daero, Gongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Price: 30,000 – 40,000 KRW for two
Business Hours: Monday – Friday 12:00 – 20:00, Saturday 12:00 – 21:00 (Sundays Off)
Break Time: 14.30 – 17.00
How spicy is Dakbal?
This depends on the restaurant that sells them. But even the most non-spicy Dakbal is still considerably spicy, especially for those who does not have a high spice tolerance.
Is Jokbal clean?
Yes, maybe eating Pork Trotters might be questionable for some, but this meal have been there in Korea for a very long time so cooking and methods of cleaning is not worrisome.
Is Gopchang or Makchang clean?
Eating gopchang/makchang might be worrying for some, but this should also not be a worry. It is usually cleaned beforehand.
Is it dangerous to eat Sannakji?
No it is not. However eating them after cutting it into very small pieces is recommended just to prevent possibility of choking. And chewing them thoroughly too.
Does Ganjang Gejang smell fishy?
Not at all. At least when you go to the right place, it should not be smelling fishy. This is because it has been marinated with the soy sauce for a long period of time. And usually the good places will definitely know how to handle them well.