Korea – My Authentic Korean Home Cooked Food in Korea

I was in Seoul, Korea for the 1st week of April and I was lucky enough to stay with a wonderful Korean family. This meant that I was able to experience traditional and authentic home made Korean food. It’s nice to have something to compare to since restaurant food is usually different than the food people eat at home.

Here are some examples of home cooked traditional Korean dishes I had during my visit in Seoul, Korea. I also put examples (for some) of the same dishes I ordered at restaurants for comparison’s sake.

On the table:

Home Cooked Traditional Korean Breakfasts

Korean Pumpkin Congee

  • Home cooked Korean breakfast
  • I honestly didn’t know that there was such a thing as “Korean congee”. I always thought it was a Chinese thing.
  • This was home made so I’m not sure what it’s like at restaurants.
  • I’m not sure if pumpkin congee is a popular flavour there because it was the first time I’ve ever heard of it. It was delicious though!
  • It was made with half sticky rice so the texture is thicker, creamier, and sticker than the tradition Chinese congee people are probably more familiar with.

Korean breakfast

  • Home cooked Korean breakfast: sticky rice, home made kimchi, and fried tofu slices dipped in egg.
  • Talk about authentic huh? This almost felt like lunch! This is a traditional Korean breakfast, but it’s also not what they eat every day for breakfast.

Home Cooked Traditional Korean Dinners

Not only was I able to try home cooked Korean breakfast, but I am very appreciative to have tried a traditional Korean dinner as well. This was nothing fancy but something “mom would make at home”…comfort food! Korean comfort food…which means everything is spicy, which I like!

Home Cooked VS Restaurant

Traditional Korean Acorn Jelly Salad (Home made)

  • Acorn jelly, mixed greens and cucumbers with a spicy sesame soy vinaigrette.
  • This is a simple salad that they serve at home. Anything you search on google you probably won’t find this. This is authentic!
  • The acorn jelly is almost like jello but firmer. It’s not sweet or savoury, but it doesn’t have much flavour itself. It almost has no flavour.
  • The dressing is a sweet, tangy and spicy vinaigrette which I loved.
  • I like it more than the other Korean salad I had served with ice cream on top. Korean salad with ice cream.

Traditional Korean Acorn Jelly Salad (Restaurant)

  • From When the Day Comes Restaurant in Seoul, Korea
  • It was saucier/saltier/spicier than the home made version. It also had more vegetables like carrots and onion.

Variations of Home Made Kimchi


Traditional Kimchi (Home made)

  • This is the standard home made kimchi.
  • There’s actually a separate fridge in the house just for kimchi. It helps keep the smell in one area since it’s so strong. Garlic + chili + pickled veggies…it creates quite a strong and pungent smell.

Radish Kimchi (Home made)

  • This is a shredded radish (daikon) and dried mushroom (wood ear mushroom) kimchi. Nice and crunchy good with soup and noodle dishes.

Cucumber Kimchi (Home made)

  • This is a cucumber kimchi with cilantro welsh onion. I could eat it as a salad.

Soy Bean Perilla Leaf Kimchi (Home made)

  • This is probably my least favourite of the bunch. The soy bean leaves are really big and they have a bitter after taste. The bitterness is not as strong in the kimchi since it’s being preserved but I could still taste it.
  • I loves the salty soy beans though! It’s salty and fermented so the taste is strong and acquired…meaning not for everyone.
  • This is a picture of the soy bean leaf raw. In Korea it’s also served as a side dish during Korean BBQ for the purpose of making lettuce wraps.

Korean Pancake – Pajeon (Home Cooked)

  • Lots of green onions, chewy and gummy in texture. Love these!

Korean Pancake – Pajeon (Restaurant)

  • From When the Day Comes Restaurant in Seoul, Korea
  • These were huge! There’s a lot of different type of Pajeon and the ones at home are usually more simple. Definitely comfort food!
  • The ones at the restaurant were served with a spicy chili sauce too.

Bulgolgi (Home cooked)

  • Marinated barbeque beef.
  • It’s definitely a lighter version they make at home. It’s not as greasy, saucy or salty which is expected if it’s home cooked.
  • I don’t think they barbecued it either just because the process is more time-consuming and this was a casual dinner.

Kimchi Hot Pot (Home Cooked)

  • So this is a traditional Korean dish that they make at home and order at restaurants...not bibimbap. =p
  • Slices of Spam (how Asian!), slices of beef, Korea rice cakes (noodles), onions, cabbage, lettuce, green onions, turnips, leeks, and other vegetables.
  • Pretty much anything goes but the kitchen sink when you make it at home.

  • They put ramen in at the end and it’s eaten last. It reminded me of Chinese hot pot except everything is already thrown into one big pot.
  • The white tubes are the Korean rice cakes which are also a type of noodle. They’re chewy and pretty filling. I love them!
  • It was fun to have 2 different kinds of noodles going on at once.

8 Comments

  • Nicole says:

    Okay this is definitely one of my most favourite posts of yours! yes I’m biased because I consider Korean food my comfort food haha but whatever!

    The Korean sticky rice with the dark purple beans is traditional for sure, I used to hate that when I was a kid but as long as I have kimchi, I’ll eat it haha. I LOVE acorn jelly, it does have no flavour but tastes good when you have it with the sauce it usually comes with – it’s a soy-based sauce with green onions, sesame seeds and other good stuff.

    The soy bean leaf kimchi is another one of my favs. It is an acquired taste because of the bitter aftertaste. Ok my mouth is watering now hahaha damnit Mijune!!

    The kimchi hot pot is called “Duk Bok Gi”, esp when it has the cylindrical rice cakes in it. That’s also another one of my fav Korean dishes. OK I LOVE ALL THE DISHES HAHAHA I should just stop saying “oh this one is my fav too!” because let’s face it, there isn’t one dish I don’t love.

    Looking forward to this Sunday!! xo

  • Mijune says:

    LOL!!! Nicole, I love you!! hahahah I’m so glad this is all authentic and has brought back good memories for you…and by memories I mean what you probably had for dinner tonight!

    Yeah I LOVE the dressing they put with that acorn jelly! They don’t serve that at Korean restaurants here either!

    Omg I’m SOOO excited to see you too…I think Korean might be on the food list for us 🙂 xxx

  • The “congee” is actually called ‘juk’.

  • I love your interest in Korean food, but I must offer some corrections.

    There is a lot of Korean comfort food that is not spicy as well. The “white tubes” are called tteok and are not really a noodle.

    Kimchi shouldn’t smell if it is sealed and kept in a clean container. Kimchi fridges are not used for the smell, but because they keep kimchi much crisper and tastier than standard fridges.

    The standard homemade kimchi usually has smaller slices of radish if they are included at all.

    The “soy bean leaf” you are referring to is actually a perilla leaf and is used to make “ssam”, food that is wrapped.

    The pajeon and bulgogi don’t look different from home recipes. Bulgogi made at home can be quite saucy as well, but that is a personal preference.

    There is actually a variety of ingredients that could put in budae jigae (‘kimchi hotpot dish’), but I wouldn’t say that you could put anything in there. There are an established set of ingredients for that dish. It’s definitely not a traditional dish, but more of a Korean/American fusion.

  • Mijune says:

    @Tasting Korea – that’s what it’s called i Chinese too!

  • Mijune says:

    @Tasting Korea – thanks!

  • Michelle says:

    Um… that’s not cilantro in the cucumber kimchi. Koreans never use cilantro, in fact, almost all Koreans despise cilantro. It’s actually 들파 or Welsh onion… it doesn’t even taste like cilantro!

    Also, that’s not a soy leaf. It’s perilla leaf.

    The “white tubes” are cylindrical rice cakes, not noodles.

    Congee just means rice porridge in Chinese, I would imagine that many different cultures have their own various of porridge as it’s simple and satisfying. The Korean term would be “jook” (죽)

    Aren’t you Korean???

  • Mijune says:

    @Michelle – Thanks for your corrections. Sorry for the errors, this post is severely dated and my knowledge was more limited than it is now. I was just using the names my Korean friend gave me. No, I am not Korean. I was learning more about Korean cuisine and there were language barriers.

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