In Korea, there is no end to what people can see and experience, but trying Korean food is on the top of most to-do lists that visitors cannot wait to cross off! The Korea Tourism Organization has chosen the following 14 best dishes that are rated “must-eat” items by locals as well as international visitors. So let’s explore these fourteen bests that are sure to impress you with Korea’s true flavor!
Japchae (glass noodles with sautéed vegetables) is made by boiling glass noodles then draining and mixing them with stir-fried spinach, carrots, mushrooms, beef, and onions. The term japchae is a combination of jap, meaning “mix, gather, or plentiful” and chae, meaning “vegetables.” Thus, it can be translated as “assorted mixed vegetables.”
No Korean festivity is complete without japchae. It has long been perceived as a luxurious and elegant dish, and was always served on birthdays, weddings and 60th birthday celebrations. Japchae was first created in the 17th century when King Gwanghaegun hosted a palace banquet. It is recorded in the Gwanghaegun Ilgi (Daily Records of King Gwanghaegun’s Reign) that Yi Chung, one of the king’s favorites, had the habit of personally presenting unusual dishes to the king. Gwanghaegun relished these dishes so much that he would not start a meal until they arrived. Among these unique dishes was japchae, which the king favored over all the rest.