A Useful Korea Tip: Deciphering Korean Menus at Korean Restaurants

Korean restaurant menus (Korean to English)

8 months ago

Hello, everyone! We are Creatrip, a group of travel experts.

Your daily dose of the latest travel tips and tricks.

Today we're going to be talking about some basic Korean phrases to have in your kit for a smooth sailing Korea trip! More specifically, the Korean you'll see on restaurant menus. 

One of the biggest worries when traveling South Korea is that you won't know what to eat. 

You're surrounded by foods that you've never seen or heard of, no English translation to be found; what the heck are you even eating, right? 

Korean Restaurant Menus:1. Main Food

Here are some of the basic foods that you're probably going to be trying in Korea. These are the more traditional food that people would eat day-to-day. Make sure to try some of these! 

된장찌개Miso soup
김치찌개Kimchi pot
부대찌개Army pot (Spicy ham and sausage)
청국장Fast-fermented bean paste
쫄면Spicy cold chewy noodles
해물탕Seafood soup
덮밥Rice with toppings
냉면Cold noodle soup
짜장면Fried noodles
볶음밥Fried rice
육개장Spicy beef soup
갈비탕Ribs soup
설렁탕White beef broth
곰탕Beef bone soup
갈비찜Stewed ribs
콩국수Bean juice noodles
칼국수Noodle soup
수제비Clear soup with dumplings
삼계탕Chicken soup
제육볶음Spicy fried pork
보쌈/수육Boiled beef or pork slices
순대국밥Blood sausage soup rice
국밥Soup rice (rice in soup)
쭈꾸미Spicy fried octopus
불고기Bulgogi (roast beef)
떡갈비Roast beef patties
육회Raw beef
돈까스Tonkatsu (fried pork chops)
족발Pig's feet
김치Kimchi (pickled cabbage)
오리지널치킨Original fried chicken
양념치킨Sauced fried chicken
간장치킨Soy sauce fried chicken
순살치킨Boneless fried chicken
찜닭Stewed chicken
떡만두Rice cake dumplings
감자탕Potato ribs soup
뼈다귀해장국Pork bone sobering soup

Korean Restaurant Menus:2. Extensions

There are staple foods, of course, but there are so many more dishes that Koreans eat! Here are some of the "extended" menu items: 

김치전Kimchi pancakes
해물파전Seafood pancakes
감자전Potato pancakes
김치찜Stewed kimchi
비빔밀면Cold wheat noodles
모래주머니Fried chicken chop
고등어구이Grilled fish
조개구이Grilled shell fish
(물)회(Water mix) sashimi
빈대떡Mung bean pancakes
잡채Stir-fried glass noodles

Korean Restaurant Menus3. Barbecue

Korean barbecue is something you can't miss out on if you're in Korea! 

But you might not get enough, or have any idea what to order. 

Grilled meat should be one of the most indispensable foods in Korea! But if you don't get enough, you can't read how to order, and what should you do if you get it wrong? Take a look at the translations below.

삼겹살Pork belly
목살Pork neck
항정살Pork shoulder
등심Beef tenderloin
한우Korean beef
곱창Small intestine
돼지막창Pig intestine
소막창Beef intestine
껍데기Pork skin
돼지갈비Pork ribs
닭갈비Chicken ribs
소갈비살Beef ribs
가브리살Pork cheek meat
차돌박이Beef breast
안심Beef tenderloin
살치살Chuck flap tail

Korean Restaurant Menu:4. Traditional Snacks

There are a countless variety of traditional snacks, often seen as street food in Korea. These street food vendors often only have Korean menus. Some don't even have menus. But here is a list of foods you'll find at these joints so you'll have an idea of what you're eating! 

떡볶이Tteokbokki (spicy rice cake)
순대Blood sausage
고구마Sweet potato
김말이Seaweed rolls
오댕(어목)Fish cake
핫도그Hot dog
떡꼬치Rice cake skewers
닭강정Fried chicken
호떡Sugar cake

Korean Restaurant Menus:5. Drinks

카스CASS (beer)
하이트HITE beer)
처음처럼Cheo-eum Cheo-rum, or Like the First Time (soju) 
참이슬/후레쉬Cham Iseul/Fresh (soju)
청하Cheongha (soju)
자몽Grapefruit (soju)
청포도Green grape (soju)
순하리Soonhari (soju)
사과Apple (soju)
막걸리Makgeoli (rice wine)
동동주Dong dong ju, or Winter wine

The above is a small list of Korean restaurant menu items translated into English. Although the dishes may be different depending on the the restaurant or region but if you have a grasp of some of these basic dishes that you'll find in Korea, it'll hopefully make ordering easier. 

I wish you all the best on your trip to South Korea :)

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