Do you celebrate Christmas? Whether you do or not, there’s no doubt that it’s a holiday season. You get to spend time with your family and friends, which means there will be lots of food!!! It’s the most important reason why people gather. To EAT! ?
OK…I will correct my priorities just in case my family and friends are reading this post. “Family and friends get together to spend quality time and catch up with each other.”?
Anyway, it is my favourite time of the year. Not because I might be getting a present that I’ve been wanting to buy for a year, but because of the excitement and anticipation Christmas brings each year. I don’t know how else to describe this feeling, but my body, mind and soul seem to know. Starting from around late November, I get all cheery and happy and start to relax a bit. Do you do that too? (Normally, I’m a very focused person.)
So as we’re in the middle of this feasting season, I decided to share 12 Korean foods that will impress your party guests. (Well, technically there are more than 12, but if you group them into a certain category, there are 12. ?)
I hope this list will provide you some ideas if you want to plan your party to be Korean themed. I’ve served them before on different occasions for my guests and they all raved about these dishes. So give them a try! ?
1. Korean BBQ – There’s no doubt that Korean BBQ will be popular at your party. Seriously, who can refuse these delicious yummies!? There are different types of Korean BBQ options so you pick and choose.
- Bulgogi (Marinated Korean BBQ Beef, 불고기) -This is probably be the most popular Korean BBQ meat kind. Typically the meat is thinly sliced and marinated with soy sauce and nashi pear infused sauce among other things. Though nashi pear can be hard to get so I normally use red apples (e.g pink lady, royal gala, red delicious) and it works like a charm! Its sweet and savoury flavour is really irresistible. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Bulgogi!
- Bulgogi Taco Bar (불고기 타코 바) – This is more of an applied version of Bulgogi. DIY Bulgogi Taco bar using Korean ingredients will be always a hit as your guests can pick and choose what they want to add as a filing. It’s also easier on the host as all they need to do is provide the ingredients on the table. I have served Bulgogi Taco on many occasions already and I’m about to serve it to 75+ guests at a community event soon too!
- LA Galbi (Marinated Korean BBQ Short Ribs, 엘에이 갈비) – This is another popular marinated Korean BBQ using beef short ribs. It can be cooked in an oven in a short time as well. Licking through the ribs as you bite off the meat is another bonus for those who have a child like mind. ?
- Spicy Korean Pork (Jeyuk Bokkeum, 제육볶음) – it’s perfect for anyone who loves spicy pork. It’s marinated with gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) and gochujang (Korean chili paste) based sauce and it tastes like heaven when cooked over the charcoal BBQ. It’s my husband’s favourite Korean food!
- Apple infused Korean pork wraps (BoSsam, 보쌈) – Technically this one is not really BBQ per se, but I think it presents really nicely for a party. The meat is boiled for just over 1 hour so it’s quite tender and you make a lettuce wrap with this meat, some fresh oyster, fresh Kimchi salad and homemade dipping sauce. With just one bite, you will feel like you are in heaven! Yeah, it’s that good. ? So try it!
- Korean BBQ Dipping sauce (Ssamjang, 쌈장) – When you serve Korean BBQ meat, the BBQ dipping sauce always accompanies it. Largely, there are three different ways of making this sauce and the most common one is spicy dipping sauce. This sauce can be purchased at a Korean grocery store, but of course, the homemade version is always tastier! So be sure to check it out and don’t forget to serve it with your BBQ!
- Spicy Green Onion Salad (Pajeori, 파절이) – You will be surprised to hear that you can make salad with just green onion only. (Well, you do need to make some sauce to go with it to make it tastier, but it’s very easy!) Spicy green onion salad is also a popular Korean BBQ companion. The only downside of it is, you can’t kiss anyone after eating this. ? But you will be surprised how many of my readers said they love this salad despite having a strong after taste. So don’t fret and give it a go!
2. Bibimbap (비빔밥) – Bibimbap would be the most popular rice based Korean dish. Agree? It has everything. Meat, rice, vegetables and of course, the irresistible Bibimbap sauce. Because there are many colourful vegetables that go in, it presents really nicely. It will be sure to impress your guests. (Note: If you’re having a cocktail party, you can serve this in a mid tall cup so that people can walk around with it.)
3. Korean Rice Rolls (Kimbap, 김밥) – Kimbap is Korean rice rolls and it’s often compared to sushi rolls. Kimbap has typically more fillings than sushi rolls and it’s served in a bite size. It’s great for serving at a cocktail party as it’s easy to pick up and nibble on. There are many varieties of Kimbap depending on the fillings that go into the rolls. My two favourite types are Deep fried tofu sushi rolls (Yubu Kimbap) and Bulgogi sushi rolls (Bulgogi Kimbap). These are not just an average Kimbap. They are extraordinary! ? Give them a try! Since they are so colourful, they also present well for your party!
4. Sweet Glass Noodles Stir Fry (Japchae, 잡채) – This is probably the most famous Korean noodle dish. It’s made with bouncy textured glass noodles. This is the food that will make a
good great impression! In Korea, it’s commonly served during Korean festive holidays such as Seollal (설날, Korean New Year’s day) or Chuseok (추석, Korean harvest festival day)! It’s savoury and moreish.
5. Sweet and Spicy Korean Dumplings (Bibim Mandu, 비빔만두) – This is my favourite way of eating Korean dumplings. It’s served with fresh salad, so you won’t feel guilty about having fried dumplings (as much). ? The spicy, tangy and sweet dressing is quite addictive and it will invigorate anyone’s appetite.
6. Korean pancakes
- Kimchi Pancakes (김치부침개) – Kimchi pancake is a great appetiser you can introduce to your guests if they are new to Kimchi. Maybe because it’s disguised among other ingredients, people don’t seem to notice it much. ? It’s also a great way to use up some of your ageing Kimchi you don’t know what to do with.
- Seafood Pancakes (Haemul Pajeon, 해물파전) – This is a great appetiser for a seafood lovers! It’s savoury and crunchy. Seriously even people who know nothing about Korean food will enjoy this one.
- Sweet Tangy Dipping Sauce (Ganjang sauce, 간장 소스) – This is my magic sauce I use to pair with my Korean pancakes and Korean dumplings. It is really delicious! A lot of my reader’s have raved about this sauce. It’s so simple to make as well! (Under 5 mins)
7. Korean Fish Cake Balls (Eomuk, 어묵) – I don’t know what you think of fish cakes in general, but this one is a keeper! It’s full of protein and it’s savoury and delicious. Kids love this one too! It will be sure to please your guests.
8. Fresh Kimchi Salad (Baechu Geotjeori, 김치 겉절이) – I know a lot of people are scared to try Kimchi when they see it for the first time. Let them try this fresh Kimchi salad. Literally it’s fresh so you won’t notice any pungent smell that typically comes out from ageing Kimchi. It’s crunchy and delicious! Goes well with Korean BBQ.
9. Spicy Cucumber Salad (오이 샐러드) – If your guests likes spicy food, this spicy cucumber salad is a must to serve. It’s spicy and has a very subtle sweet and tanginess to it. It’s crunchy and of course delicious. A lot of my readers told me that they serve this cucumber salad whenever they do a BBQ whether it’s a Korean BBQ or not.
10. Korean Style Pink Radish Pickles (Ssam-mu,쌈무) – Korean style radish pickles are sweet, tangy and crunchy. They particularly go very well with Korean BBQ. It’s normally made with Korean white radish but you can use pink radish as well. (I have to say these pink radishes look really pretty in a jar! Don’t you think so?) Also it can be a good alternative to Kimchi if your guests are too afraid of trying Kimchi out.
11. Korean Cinnamon Punch (Sujeonggwa, 수정과) – Korean cinnamon punch is a popular dessert drink in Korea. It’s infused with ginger, cinnamon and some sugar, so it’s sweet and has a mild gingery bitter taste. It’s particularly served during Korean festive holidays. It’s known to help with digestion.
12. Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha, 매실차) – This is a popular fruit based tea in Korea. It is very simple to make once you have the plum extract (which can be made at home or purchased). All you need to do is just mix the extract in some water and/or ice. (It can be drunk cold or hot. I prefer mine icy cold.) It has a sweet, tangy and fruity flavour. It’s particularly great in summer to invigorate your guest’s lost appetite! Also known to help with digestion.