> Korean Traditional Food > Kinds of Korean Food > Condiments / Garnishes
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Table Manners



In cooking are used some materials which can generate special taste of the food while preserving original flavor of each ingredient. The materials can be roughly grouped into 'Yangnyeom' (condiments), 'Jomiryo' (seasonings) and 'Hyangsinryo' (spices). Condiment of Korean food writes in Chinese character as 'Yaknyeom' which means 'bearing in mind to benefit human body like medicine.'
Seasoning in Korean cooking include materials that help produce such basic tastes as salty, sweet, sour, hot and bitter taste. Salt, soybean sauce, hot pepper paste, soybean paste, vinegar and sugar are included in the seasonings.
Spice in Korean cooking indicates material that retains good aroma or hot, bitter savory taste in itself. Spice reduces odor of food and helps produce better taste with its own good aroma. Ginger, mustard, pepper, sesame oil, and powdered sesame mixed with salt, leek, garlic, ginger and Cheoncho are included in spices. In cooking food for royal court, most of the seasonings available in Korea were used except that hot pepper and its powder were rarely used. The basic seasoning in royal court was soy sauce.

The role of garnishes in Korean food is to decorate and embellish the food, thereby arousing appetite for the eaters. Therefore, they are more focused on shape and color than on taste. The garnishes are also called 'Utgi' or 'Kkumi.' The basic colors of Korean foods are red, green, yellow, white and black. These five colors are based on the 'Five elements theory' of the old Korea and can be found in daily meals and banquet cuisines.






Yeot, Jocheong



Hot pepper

Black pepper


Edible oil

Powdered sesame mixed with salt



At the end of Joseon dynasty, 'Horyeom' (crude salt) and 'Jaejeyeom' (refined salt) were used in royal court and ordinary houses. Horyeom involved many impurities and tastes bitter, thus it was mainly used in preparing pickled vegetable or soy, while Jaejeyeom was used as seasoning for food.





Egg garnish



Minari chodae



Red pepper

Pine nuts


Walnut, ginkgo


 Egg garnish

Separate the egg white and yolk and, without causing foam, dissolve them on a pan. Next, stir-fry them thinly and then shred them into meatball type (diamond form) or domino type (rectangular form) for use as garnish.