Everyone knows that there is a difference between Korean food and American food. Even if they use the same ingredients, we can still catch their difference because they use different recipes and sauces.
Yet, despite this distinction, we’ve strived to make it as easy as possible to show how Korean food and flavors can best be integrated into American foods, and where the similarities best represent themselves. While most of us may not regularly consume the perfect savory and spicy combo that Koreans crave in their everyday meals, there’s certainly a place for these flavors in our favorite American dishes.
Below, we’ve outlined 5 different Korean dishes that look similar to classic American favorites. Our logic behind these pairings is the frequency and occasion of how these foods are consumed, and the overall vibe of the meal.
Jjigae vs. Chili
Jjigae is typically made with meat, seafood, or vegetables in a broth that is seasoned with different pastes, such as gochujang (fermented Korean chili paste) and doenjang (fermented soybean paste). These Korean dishes are usually served hot and in a communal pot or bowl. Like chili, jjigae warms the soul and can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner, by yourself or with friends and family.
Jjajangmyeon vs. Spaghetti
Jjajangmyeon is basically the Korean version of spaghetti using black bean sauce instead of marinara sauce. The widely popular Korean dish is actually an adaptation of a Chinese noodle dish made from fermented black bean paste sauce, diced pork, vegetables, and occasionally seafood.
Sam Gye Tang vs. Chicken Noodle Soup
Back when you were a kid and you’re sick, what did your mom make for you? Chicken noodle soup! Koreans do the same thing, except we stick the whole chicken into the soup along with rice, ginseng, garlic and jujube. Korean dishes like Sam Gye Tang (ginseng chicken soup) are eaten to promote health and replenish energy.
Miyeokguk vs. Cake
For Koreans, miyeokguk, or seaweed soup, is traditionally the first meal you eat on your birthday. Why, you ask? It all starts with your mom. Miyeokguk is the #1 meal given to postpartum moms due to the high iron and vitamin content in the seaweed. As such, Koreans eat miyeokguk on their birthdays as a reminder of all the hard work mothers put in raising them. When we were younger, we all looked forward to eating cake on our birthdays.
Bingsu vs. Ice Cream
Bingsu is a popular Korean dessert that is both refreshing and delicious. Bingsu is shaved ice served with toppings such as sweet red beans, fruits, mochi, and condensed milk. Ice cream and bingsu are just as tasty on scorching summer days as freezing winter nights.