Korean Dishes From K-Dramas© Hospital Playlist/TvN

12 Mouth-Watering Korean Dishes From Your Favourite K-Dramas That You Need To Try Now

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

With the ever-increasing popularity of Korean TV shows and culture around the world, it’s no surprise that many people have started gravitating towards Korean cuisine too. According to a report, import of Korean noodles in India jumped 162 percent in 2020. A survey conducted for the same report revealed that 88 percent of the respondents were interested in trying out Korean food after watching K-dramas, despite half of them having never tried it before.

The popularity and acceptance of Korean cuisine in our country can also be attributed to the fact that most of the base ingredients found in the dishes are common with traditional Indian cuisine too. It’s also easy to adapt Korean dishes to be vegetarian, which makes them even more accessible for a majority of Indians. While ramyeon, or ramen, is omnipresent throughout any given Korean TV show or movie and has always been popular, there are many more dishes that you might be missing out on.

Korean Dishes From K-Dramas

If you’ve sat through a K-drama with your mouth watering at the number of delicious-looking dishes on screen and wondered how you could get them without flying all the way to Seoul (or Uber-ing to your nearest Korean restaurant), then here’s a list of some of the most popular Korean dishes featured in your favourite K-dramas, and how you can make them at home...

Bibimbap

One of the easiest dishes to whip up with leftovers in your fridge, this one could be spotted in shows like Full House, Reply 1988, Descendants of the Sun, and Strong Woman Do Bong-soon. ‘Bibim’ means ‘mixing’ or ‘to mix’ in Korean and ‘bap’ translates to ‘rice’, so it literally means ‘to mix with rice’. All you need is rice, assorted vegetables, kimchi, some form of meat (Bulgogi beef is popular in the ones shown in K-dramas), sesame oil, and some gochujang (spicy red pepper paste). If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add doenjang, a paste made with fermented soybeans.

Here’s how you can make it:

Mandu

Mandu translates to ‘dumplings’. These dumplings can be fried, steamed, or boiled, the style usually varies across the different regions of the Korean peninsula. If you recall, the gigantic dumplings that Jang Man-wol (IU) in Hotel Del Luna were of the steamed kind. The dumplings are usually filled with meat or vegetables and it’s said that there are as many variations of mandu as there are cooks in Korea. The Mandu also made an appearance in the underrated romance show When the Camellia Blooms, where they were used as a metaphor for a relationship.

Here’s how you can make it:

Kimbap

Quick and easy to make, this rice and seaweed roll is perfect for a lazy breakfast or brunch. The roll consists of sticky rice with vegetables and meat of your choice, wrapped in nori or sheet of dried seaweed. The ever helpful ahjumma from Healer could be seen with one in her hand at all times while she was hacking into computer systems and guiding Healer through tricky situations. It could also be seen in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Welcome to Waikiki, and Hospital Playlist. You can either eat it as a roll or cut it into smaller sushi-like pieces if you want to make it fancy.

Here’s how you can make it:

Tteokbokki

This spicy street food dish features almost as much as ramyeon in K-dramas. Made of rice cakes, stir-fried with scallions, fish cakes, a spicy sauce, and copious amounts of cheese (adjustable to your preference), this dish is the perfect cheat-day food. In Romance is a Bonus Book, Kang Dan-i (Lee Na-young) and Cha Eun-ho (Lee Jong-suk) use tteokbokki to demonstrate how anything can be sexy if you’re in love.

Here’s how you can make it:

Jjajangmyeon

Originally, jjajangmyeon is part of Chinese cuisine but it’s one of the most popular dishes in Korea. So much so that April 14 is referred to as ‘Black Day’ to celebrate the black bean noodle dish. While it can be spotted in many TV shows, the most memorable sighting is from Coffee Prince, where Eun-chan establishes supremacy over one of her sister’s suitors by consuming inhuman proportions of jjajangmyeon in front of him.

Here’s how you can make it:

Japchae

This simple sweet and savoury dish of seasoned glass noodles mixed with assorted vegetables and meat is one of the most popular dishes in Korea, especially during the festival seasons. You can either shorten the process by cooking the noodles, veggies, and meat together or invest time in cooking all the elements separately to get a dish with a better flavour. The Reply series is filled with memorable food moments, one of them being the huge portions of japchae in Reply 1994.

Here’s how you can make it:

Miyeok Guk

Seaweed soup, or miyeok-guk, is most popularly served on birthdays. It’s hearty in consistency and is considered to be a good source of strength, and is used as a recovery food for nursing mothers, so it’s technically a baby’s first food, hence its significance on birthdays. It can be seen on shows like Her Private Life, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Reply 1988, and Because This is My First Life. It’s made out of seaweed, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and if you like, lightly seasoned beef.

Here’s how you can make it:

Korean Fried Chicken

This one is as much a staple of K-dramas as is the presence of unfairly beautiful actors with unfairly beautiful skin. The Korean version of this universally-loved dish is prepared in a way that renders the skin extra crispy and a mix of sweet and spicy. In Korea, it’s very common to pair it with beer, so much so that the dish is usually referred to as ‘Chimaek’, a combination of ‘chicken’ and ‘maekju’, the Korean word for beer. Can you recall how much your mouth watered as you saw Yoon Seri and her gang of North Korean soldier friends demolish huge piles of fried chicken in Crash Landing on You? Use it as a motivation to prepare a batch of Korean style fried chicken yourself and pair it with beer to enjoy it the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

Here’s how you can make it:

Bungeoppang

Vincenzo (Song Joong-ki), from the eponymous show, is transported back to his childhood when he bites into a hot piece of bungeoppang after Hong Cha-young (Jeon Yeo-been) buys him some from a street food cart. The warm dessert is usually served in winter and is popularly known as ‘fish bread’ as it is shaped like a fish. The filling can vary from red bean paste to custard, depending on your preference.

Here’s how you can make it:

Banana Milk

Created by a decades old company called Binggrae in association with the government, the drink was originally introduced to the Korean public as a way to ensure that more people drank milk. It can be easily spotted, mainly because of the iconic design of the bottle. In Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, when Ji Eun-tak (Kim Ge-eun) is not grappling with the sudden knowledge that she is the destined bride of the Goblin, she can be seen drinking banana milk from the tiny bottle in many scenes.

Here’s how you can make it:

Egg Drop Sandwich

Though not necessarily Korean in its roots, the unique egg sandwich has been popularised by a Korean food chain called Egg Drop. The Instagram-worthy dish was made popular by the show Hospital Playlist, where Lee Ik-jun (Jo Jung-seok) and his precocious son U-ju catch up on U-ju’s surprisingly thriving social life over these sandwiches. It’s made of a thick slice of buttered toast that has been sliced at the top and filled with fluffy scrambled eggs, melted cheese, and other accompaniments of your choice like crispy bacon or avocado. The indulgent snack will definitely find a place on your gym trainer’s no-no list but is perfect for a cheat day snack.

Here’s how you can make it:

Sundubu Jiggae

This popular dish is omnipresent through many K-dramas but it featured prominently in Park Sae-joon’s Itaewon Class, where many important plot points were accentuated by the presence of a hot, steaming bowl of stew. The soft tofu stew, or sundubu jiggae, is made up of a thick soup with soft tofu and anchovy stock. You can add pork depending on your preferences. The dish is usually eaten with rice and banchan (side dishes) like kimchi, spicy cucumber salads, seasoned spinach, and stir fried zucchini.

Here’s how you can make it:

So, which one of these dishes are you most excited to recreate?