It’s that time of year again! The days are getting longer (and hotter!), which means you have more time to stay awake and take advantage of the extra sunlight. My personal recommendation is to use the extra time to chow down on some delicious Korean summertime cuisine, because there will be no shortage of it in the months to come.
Whether you’re in the mood for a chilled, savory entrée or a refreshing frozen dessert, there’s something for everybody. Read on for some of our favorite summer Korean food and enjoy snacking the season away!
Summer Korean Food #1: Samgyetang
Samgyetang is a dish that features a whole chicken (yes, you read that correctly) marinated in hot broth and stuffed with various nuts, vegetables, and herbs. Although it seems counterintuitive to start a list of summer Korean dishes with a hot and heavy meal like samgyetang, Korean diners enjoy this savory dish to offset the effects that heavy sweating have on the body. It’s no secret that hot summers mean a ton of sweat, and the process of sweating depletes the body of electrolytes that keep us feeling alert and ready to tackle the day. That’s where samgyetang comes in! The next time you’ve had a long, hot day, treat yourself to a bowl of samgyetang to reset your internal thermostat and start feeling like yourself again.
Summer Korean Food #2: Mulhui (물회)
What’s better than sashimi, you ask? A chilled soup full of spicy sashimi! The recipe will vary from restaurant to restaurant because all different types of seafood can be used to give this dish flavor, but it’ll always be cold, a delight for your tastebuds, and perfect for a scorching summer day. If you’re a fan of spice and seafood, order a bowl of mulhui and get some relief from the summer heat!
Summer Korean Food #3: Patbingsu (팥빙수)
Looking for something on the sweeter side? Try a bowl of patbingsu! Patbingsu, a dish consisting of shaved ice topped with berries, sweet red beans, and ice cream, is one of the most popular ways to cool down during the hot Korean summer.
Patbingsu is on most Korean menus, and you’ll see a bunch of interesting variations featuring different flavors like mango and coffee. Give patbingsu a try the next time your sweet tooth is acting up, and be sure to let us know what your favorite variation is in the comments below!
Summer Korean Food #4: Naengmyeon (냉면)
Naengmyeon literally translates to “cold noodles,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like! This popular summer Korean food is made of thin, long noodles made from buckwheat and vegetables like potato and sweet potato. Naengmyeon is served with a zesty stock, and sliced cucumber, pear, and radish are often added for additional flavor and crunch. Don’t let the chilled part fool you — the broth is made from chilled beef or chicken stock, so it’s a hearty dish that will fill you up. The next time you’re out for a fun summertime lunch with friends, give naengmyeon and see why it’s such a classic!
Summer Korean Food #5: Jjolmyeon (쫄면)
If you’re a fan of spice, look no further! Jjolmyeon is light, spicy dish that consists of chilled noodles, an optional hardboiled egg, and julienned vegetables like carrot and cucumber. This dish is perfect as a light summertime snack, as it’s much lighter than naengmyeon due to the absence of a thick meat broth. The noodles in this dish are notorious for being chewy and a bit tricky to eat, so be sure to cut them before enjoying this spicy snack or you’ll be in for a surprise!
Summer Korean Food #6: DalkKalguksu (닭칼국수)
DalkKalguksu is a classic Korean take on chicken noodle soup. Similar to samgyetang, dalkkalguksu features chicken that has been seasoned to perfection in a hot, savory broth, served with hearty noodles. Most variations of dalkkalguksu feature zucchini and green onions tossed with vinegar, brightening up the dish and making it a summertime favorite.
Although dalkkalguksu isn’t a chilled dish, it’s popular for the same reason that samgyetang is popular: dalkkalguksu is meant to help relieve the negative effects of sweating and summer fatigue. Order this crowd pleaser after your next day in the sun and you’ll see why Korean diners say this dish helps them survive the summer!
Summer Korean Food #7: Jangeo Gui (장어구이)
If you’re an adventurous eater, jangeo gui is the dish for you! Jangeo gui, or grilled eel, is a popular summertime snack rich in vitamins and minerals that will keep your body in tip top condition this summer. Although the idea of eating eel is a little intimidating, the flavor is intensely delicious and can’t be found elsewhere! Put your fears aside and try some jangeo gui the next time your friends are grilling it up for dinner this summer. You won’t regret it!
Summer Korean Food #8: Korean Ice Cream (아이스크림)
We’ve been saving the best for last! Korean ice cream is both similar and different to the ice cream in Western countries. It’s found in convenience stores and grocery stores alike, so you should have no problem locating some frozen tasty treats this summer. However, some types of Korean ice cream are like nothing you’ve ever seen before! Take Samanco, for example – Samanco is a fish-shaped waffle treat with vanilla ice cream and red bean paste sandwiched in the middle (yes, you read that right). Step outside of your comfort zone and give some of the more unique Korean ice cream desserts a try! They’re super inexpensive at most shops, so your ice cream adventure won’t break the bank.
Hopefully you feel more prepared for the scorching months ahead of us after reading this list! Be sure to try all of these delicious dishes before they become a bit harder to find as we get into the fall and winter months. Did we forget your favorite summer Korean food? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
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