South Korea: Food                                                       

Check out what South Korean citizens eat and how it has changed from 1961-2011 by finding the "pie" chart for South Korea on the right side!

  • Traditional South Korean cuisine often includes rice, vegetables and meat.


  • Common ingredients are: sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, cabbage, doenjang (fermented bean paste) and gochujang (fermented red chili paste)


  • South Korean meals often have many small side dishes.

  • Bibimbap means “mixed rice.” The dish consists of a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (edible grass or leaves) and gochujang, soy sauce, or doenjang.

  • South Korea’s national dish is kimchi, which is a combination of vegetables and spices that are fermented underground for months. The first written description of kimchi dates to about 1250 AD. Today there are many variations on the dish.


  • When taking a photo, South Koreans say “kimchi” instead of “cheese.”


  • Many restaurants, including McDonald’s, deliver food to homes in South Korea.


  • Only 3.2% of South Koreans are overweight. South Korea ties Japan as the two countries with the lowest percentage of obesity.


  • Etiquette tip: It is polite to avoid speaking while eating in public.