The best Korean dishes may be known for being hot and spicy, but there is no over-arching rule stating that anything Korean should include heaping spoonfuls of hot chili pepper flakes. In fact, many Koreans are not fond of overly spicy food and would rather spare their mouths and stomachs from a fiery ordeal. Fortunately, the selection of non-spicy foods is far-reaching and encompasses all categories of food including meat, vegetables, soups and appetizers. Here are the best non-spicy Korean dishes that can be found in your local Korean restaurant.
Duk Mandoo Gook
Every year, Koreans celebrate the new year with a steaming bowl of duk mandoo gook. Its appearance is white and immaculate, and its aroma is warm and inviting. Its basic contents are white oval-shaped rice cakes and dumplings densely suspended in a delicious beef-based broth created with garlic and sesame oil. The dish additionally includes chopped green onions, eggs and slices of beef. Once a bowl of duk mandoo gook is prepared, it may be topped off with flakes of dried seaweed (lavers) which provide added texture and flavor. A nice bowl of duk mandoo guk is the perfect meal to warm up with on a cold winter day.
Korean short ribs are not only experienced on the grill. It can also be enjoyed in the context of a warm, delicious soup in a dish known as galbi tang. The name of this dish is easy to put together, whereby “galbi” refers to short ribs and “tang” means soup. As the name infers, large pieces of short ribs on the bone are used to make a beef broth. Traditional ingredients like garlic and sesame oil are incorporated into the broth. The short ribs are accompanied by the addition of green onions, eggs and oftentimes dried dates, which enhance the flavor of the soup. The combination of these ingredients and more result in a beefy, hearty goodness that provide sustenance and warmth. Galbi tang is served with rice and an assortment of side dishes.
Jeon is typically served as a precursor to an entree, which includes the two food items listed above. The appearance of jeon is that of a flat pancake or pizza, in which the toppings are directly incorporated into the dough. The base ingredient in jeon is a flour batter and a variety of ingredients can be added to the batter to give the jeon its defining characteristic. These ingredients include fish, shrimp, oysters, green onions, potatoes or beef among numerous other ingredients. In short, the batter is cooked on a heated pan in a manner similar to cooking a pancake. The jeon is immediately served, usually with soy sauce to enhance flavor.