> Korean Traditional Food > Kinds of Korean Food > Main meals/Side dishes
  • Characteristics of Traditional Food
  • Traditional Meal Table
  • Table Manners
  • Kinds of Korean Food

Table Manners



Korean foods are largely categorized into main meal, side dish and dessert. Rice, porridge and noodle are normally taken as main meal, while side dishes include soup, stew, fried food, steamed dish, Seon, raw vegetable, wild greens, hard-boiled food, Cho, fried fish, roasted meat, Jeok, raw fish, Ssam, sliced boiled meat, Jokpyeon, fried kelp, jerky, slices of dried radish or cucumber, kimchi and salted fish. Dessert includes rice cake, cookie and pastry as well as tea, juice and punch.


Main meals


Cooked rice


Dumpling, rice-cake soup



 Bap(Cooked rice)

Boiled white rice has long been the staple food for the Koreans. We also eat mixed grains meal cooked with such ingredients as barley, millet, Indian millet, bean and red-bean. The cooking method of rice is to mix it with other grains and water, boil them and allow sufficient time for settling by its own heat. Sometimes vegetables, fish, clam and meat are put into rice cooking to produce special meal. Bibimbap is a food made with wild greens and meat laid above rice, and taken after all the contents are mixed together.



Side dishes


Soup, stew


Jeongol, Bokkeum

Jjim, Seon



Jorim, Cho


GuEe, Jeok

Hoe, Ssam

Pyeonyuk, Jokpyeon

Twigak, Bugak




Pickled fish


 Soup, stew

In Korea where rice is the main staple, soup is a basic side dish indispensable to daily meals. Clean soy soup, bean paste soup, thick beef soup and cold soup are the most popular ones. Soups can be cooked with nearly all ingredients available, such as meat, fish, clam, vegetable and aquatic plants. In particular, brisket and shank of beef, rib, tail, leg bones of cattle, their internals such as tripe and intestines, and even their clotted blood are used as ingredients of soup. Clean soy soup is seasoned with salt or soybean sauce, while bean paste soup uses soybean paste and hot pepper paste. 'Gomtang' and 'seolleongtang' (ox-bone stews that are cooked through boiling for a long time) are seasoned with salt or soybean sauce. In the hot summer, cold soup made with cucumber, seaweed, kelp, vegetable gelatin, etc is often enjoyed.