10 Most Exotic Korean Foods you can try on your next trip to Korea

Korean Food: 10 Most Exotic Dishes to Eat in Korea

Dakbal photo via Willium's Korean Carving Kitchen FB Page

10 Must-Try exotic Korean Foods For your next trip to Korea

Korea has been making noises worldwide for its entertaining K-pop music, cinematic K-drama, and stunningly beautiful celebrities and idols, increasing tourism in the country. If you visit Korea as a K-drama fanatic, trying out Korean cuisine is the best way to enjoy your visit. Grab a bottle of soju and have a bite of the must-try most exotic Korean foods on your next trip to Korea.

Dine like a local with the 10 most exotic Korean foods that you can savor in Korea.

Gaebul (Live Spoon Worms)

Gaebul or Echiura in Korea by J Patrick Fischer via Wikipedia CC
Gaebul or Echiura in Korea By J. Patrick Fischer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

When you visit the Korean fish market, you will see various seafood and unusual-looking seafood such as the Urechis Unicinctus.

The genital-shaped species is a marine spoon worm known as the penis fish, usually eaten by Koreans raw and alive and dips with some sauce just like sashimi.

Beondegi (Silkworm Pupa)

beondegi, street food in Korea photo via Pixabay
beondegi, street food in Korea photo via Pixabay

Another exotic and unusual food that you can try in Korea is the Beondegi, which means “pupa,” a popular Korean street food rich in protein and low in fat.

It is loved by Koreans, especially kids, for its crispy and buttery taste, just like a mashed potato. Often sold in street stalls and can also be purchase at the grocery in canned form.

San-nakji (Live Octopus)

San-nakji by LWY via Wikipedia CC
San-nakji by LWY via Wikipedia CC

If you are brave enough, try Korea’s Sannakji, a small octopus called nakji that is often served in restaurants and bars, freshly sliced and eaten raw. The live octopus sashimi is a popular and recommended dish in Korea for visitors.

Although this dish is well-loved by Koreans, eating this is quite dangerous, so make sure to chew every bite of nakji to avoid its tentacles sucking into your esophagus.

Bokguk (Pufferfish Soup)

Bokguk, a Korean soup made with Takifugu rubripes, vegetables and seasonings by creepyblues via Wikipedia CC
Bokguk, a Korean soup made with Takifugu rubripes, vegetables, and seasonings By creepyblues – flickr.com/photos/creepyblues/1262216745/, CC BY 2.0, CC

Other than the risky dish Sannakji, another exotic Korean food that is similar to the Japanese dish Fugu is Bokguk, a pufferfish soup delicacy that is loved by Koreans and tourists visiting Korea.

The highly toxic pufferfish dish is prepared by an experienced and licensed chef to make sure the dish is properly prepared before consumption and often cooked with soup and vegetables.

Dakbal (Korean Spicy Chicken Feet)

Dakbal photo via Willium's Korean Carving Kitchen FB Page
Dakbal photo via Willium’s Korean Carving Kitchen FB Page

If you are a westerner visiting Korea and loved exotic foods, try Dakbal or Korean Chicken Feet often cooked in Asian countries.

The Korean Chicken feet are cooked as spicy as they could and are often served grilled or stir-fried. Spicy Dakbal is a popular dish in Korea as a form of stress reliever.

Dak-ttongjip (Chicken Gizzard)

Dak-ttongjip by Chun Yip So via Wikipedia CC
Dak-ttongjip By Chun Yip So – https://www.flickr.com/photos/chunso/5565877441/, CC BY 2.0, CC

Koreans are popularly known for their drinking culture and love for soju, and most often, when drinking, they pair it with Toiji Kopdegi (Pig Skin).

Another popular dish paired when drinking soju is Dak-ttongjip or chicken gizzards; cook stir-fry with gochujang, onion, garlic, and bell peppers.

Hongeo (Fermented Skate)

Hongeo-samhap, consisting of hongeo-hoe served with kimchi and bossam by Hong, Yun Seon via Wikipedia CC
Hongeo-samhap, consisting of hongeo-hoe served with kimchi and bossam By egg (Hong, Yun Seon) – originally posted to Flickr CC BY 2.0, CC

Looking like delicious sashimi that makes your mouth watering, the Hongeo or Fermented Skate has a distinctive smell that makes people gag, as well as the locals.

The fish delicacy originated from Jeolla province and services for its health benefits such as reducing hangovers and boosting digestion, despite its smelly odor.

Soondae (Blood Sausage)

Sundae, or Korean blood sausage by Popo le Chien via Wikipedia CC
Sundae, or Korean blood sausage By Popo le Chien – Own work, CC0, CC

A very popular dish in Korea which is quite unusual to tourists is the Soondae or a Blood Sausage that is made out of steamed cow or pig’s intestines stuffed with pig’s blood, glutinous rice and can also come with liver, heart, and tongue, usually dipped in tteokbokki sauce by the locals. The dish is popular street food in North and South Korea.

Gopchang (Intestines)

Gopchang photo via Wikipedia CC
Gopchang photo via Wikipedia CC

Commonly served grill, stir fry, or boiled in soup, Gopchang is another popular dish in Korea made out of small intestines of either beef or pork. It is a nutritious meal that is loved by the locals and a must-try for tourists.

Before serving, the intestines are rinsed multiple times and thoroughly, then turned into an appetizing dish.

Gejang (Fermented Raw Crabs)

Gejang photo by Capsule Blue via Wikipedia CC
Gejang photo By derivative work: Caspian blue (talk)Korean.cuisine-Ganjang_gejang_and_banchan-01.jpg: by LWY at flickr – Korean.cuisine-Ganjang_gejang_and_banchan-01.jpg, CC BY 2.0, CC

Gejang, which directly translates to “crab condiment,” is another must-try exotic Korean food. It is prepared by marinating fresh crabs in soy sauce (Ganjang Gejang) used as a preservation method decades ago.

It can be served as well by seasoning with red chili powder sauce (Yangnyeom Gejang).

References

  • Kaur (2019), 9 Weird and Exotic Korean Food You Didn’t Know Existed in South Korea
  • uBitto (2019), Weird Korean food — Top 19 strange food in Korea & Korean exotic food dare you to try
  • Living Nomads (2017), The most exotic Korean Food, Blacklink

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