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Nov 20, 2006 05:43 PM

Korean food for Non-Koreans

Hello everyone, I really need your help, specifically if you're not korean and do not eat Korean food regularly.

What Korean dishes have you enjoyed?
Obviously, korean shortrib bbq. but have you tried another type of korean bbq (pork, chicken etc) and did you like it. what about appetizers? side dishes? soup? stew?

I'm taking a group of non-Koreans to a Korean bbq restaurant and as some of them have never had Korean food before and are quite apprehensive about trying it, I want to make this as painless as possible. And since I am Korean and do not have the non-Korean, "traditional mainstream American" palette (i know no such thing exists but you know what i mean), I have no idea what would be "safe".


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  1. jap chae, pajun, bulgogi, soon dobu (if they like seafood and spicier food), and mandoo are things that have gone over well with those new to korean food in my experience.

    1. I suggest bibimbop to my less adventurous dining partners.

      1. I'm Korean, but from past experience introducing friends to Korean food, I think everyone likes the BBQ meats unless they don't eat/like meat. The more vegan type folks usually like bibimbop (although they should get the hot paste on the side). Pa-jun and man-doo are pretty user friendly too. mandoo gook is a safe semi-bland soup to try. i dunno about soondooboo, that takes more getting used to unless they like spicy/hearty stuff (which is pretty much the rest of Korean food anyway). Jap chae is ok too as a stirfry type thing for folks and it's sweet-tasting (although I don't like it much).

        You might also want to try one of the semi-Americanized places like Dok Suni or Woo Lae Oak Soho which is a softer intro.

        1. Also, many korean places, of course, also serve japanese dishes like teriyaki...more familiar to some pallets, altho maybe defeating the purpose of taking someone to a korean place in the first place...

          1. I took some friends and their 3 kids to Kum Gang San a couple of years ago. IIRC, we had bulgoki, spicy pork bbq, two kinds of mandoo (meat & veg), pa jun and maybe 1 or 2 other things I'm forgetting. The kids ranged in age from 10-16, and everything was a hit with everybody.

            I love soon dooboo, mae woon tang, yook gae jang, oh-jing-uh chigae and other incendiary stuff, but I wouldn't have tried it on them.


            I can't imagine anybody not liking bulgoki or pa jun.