Seafood is a big part of Korean recipes because of the location of Korea. Korea is on a peninsula and seafood is readily available. Meat is also served as well, like beef, pork and chicken. Grilled shellfish and raw fish are often served. Originally in the Korean culture, seafood was eaten by the poor and livestock by the wealthy. Beef ribs are very popular as well and incredibly delicious. Every part of the pig is used in the cooking, even the intestines and head. Everything is cooked in some way or another, nothing goes to waste. Most of the meat is grilled, giving it a unique charcoal flavor.
It is tradition for Koreans to preserve a lot of food and use it in Korean recipes. Pickling foods make them last longer and gives them a strong and interesting taste. Fermenting is another method of preserving foods. Kimchi is an example of a well-known and loved fermented dish. Kimchi is fermented cabbage and is generally served very spicy. There are many other types of Kimchi available though. Other popular Kimchis are made from cucumbers, radishes and scallions.
Korean restaurants are known for serving many side dishes to guests. It is common to be served 6-8 different side dishes before ordering off the menu. They are usually served in small servings bowls, similar to ramekins. Some of the side dishes are Kimchi, sea weed salad, soy bean sprouts and soup. Rice is a big thing in the culture as well, being served at every meal. Rice is even used to make Korean deserts, such as cake.
Korean recipes stand out for their knock out flavor. Garlic is commonly used and it definitely makes the food amazing. Sesame oil and soy sauce are used as well. A big part of the flavor is from all the chili paste, which is why the food tends to be so spicy. Ginger, sesame seeds and scallions find their way in the cuisines. All these strong, rich flavors make the cuisine stand out and become irresistible.
Teas and alcoholic beverages make up an important part of the cuisine. Rice wines are very popular and are served warm or cold, generally warmed up tastes better. Be warned, rice wine does not taste like regular wine, it is something of an acquired taste to many. Barley, ginger, ginseng and corn are used to make different types of teas.