Traditional Korean banquets are mainly held with a large buffet table consisting of platters of food, a lot of which are finger foods constructed in order that party attendees have little difficulty picking up the food with their hands or a utensil. Some of these foods are so tasty and easy to eat, that they are sold in certain Korean grocery stores in single-serve packages for hungry customers who desire a quick bite to eat. This list of best Korean dishes highlights quick and easy bite-sized foods having the soul of a sit down Korean meal.
Some people may call gimbap ‘Korean sushi’ due to its resemblance to Japanese sushi rolls. Gimbap does not contain raw fish however, but the construction is basically the same. Gimbap is created with various different ingredients but it is always rolled with a sheet of dried seaweed with a layer of white sticky rice. Gimbap usually contains a mix of different meats and vegetables. A conventional style of gimbap contains shredded pieces of beef sirloin, cucumbers, carrots, pickled radish and egg. There are numerous variations to this combination which include the use of imitation crab, kimchi and spinach. Unlike Japanese sushi, gimbap is not normally dipped in soy sauce before consumption, but is rather served with an extra portion of pickled radish or kimchi. When gimbap is plated well, it appears to be a true work of art.
Korean style dumplings, or mandu, come in a variety of forms stuffed with different vegetables and meats. Mandu can be pan-fried, steamed or boiled, each style contrasting significantly in taste and texture. Generally, the finger food ready-made version of mandu is pan-fried and is served with a sauce containing soy sauce and vinegar. The core of the dumplings may consist of beef or pork with an assortment of different vegetables. Some varieties of mandu may additionally contain cellphane noodles. One special variety of mandu is made of kimchi, which is a popular Korean side dish. Mandu can be enjoyed with relative ease and remains to be one of the most popular finger foods Korea has ever known.
If you are inclined to try something a bit more out of this world, give your tastebuds a chance at soondae, which resemble thick sausages and are based on the same concept. The main difference between soondae and sausages is the meat content, which is usually omitted in soondae. Instead, cow or pig intestines are stuffed with cow or pork blood, cellophane noodles and sweet rice accompanied with small amounts of vegetables. Then the soondae is boiled in water and sliced in the manner of a sausage, resulting in a simple yet fine dining experience. A salt and pepper mixture serves as a dipping condiment for soondae.