Korean Food & Cooking Terms

By Gayot Editors

Don’t know your banchan from doenjang? Need help navigating Korean menus? Whether you’re having dukkbogki or all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, GAYOT’s guide to Korean food terms will arm you with the culinary vocabulary necessary to comfortably order at any Korean food restaurant.

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Bibimbap literally means "mixed rice"

Banchan: side dishes
Bibimbap: rice mixed with vegetables and beef
Bokbunjaju: raspberry wine
Bulgogi: grilled marinated beef

Cha: tea


Dak: chicken
Doenjang: soybean paste
Doenjang jjigae: soybean paste stew
Dukkbogki: spicy rice cakes


Galbi (kalbi): short ribs
Ganjang: soy sauce
Gejang: shelled crabs salted in soy sauce
Gochujang: red pepper paste
Guk: soup

Hanjeongsik: a full-course Korean meal with an array of savory side dishes
Hobakjuk: pumpkin porridge
Hoe: raw fish sliced and served with soy sauce or Korean chili paste mixed with vinegar and sugar

Insam: ginseng


Jang-eo gui: broiled eel
Japchae: glass noodles with sautéed vegetables
Jogaetang: clam soup


Kimchi (kimchee): the most common side dish in Korea, typically made of fermented napa cabbage or radishes and spiced with chiles and garlic

Naengmyeon: cold noodles, typically made of buckwheat

Pajeon: green onion pancakes

Ramyeon: ramen noodles

Samgyeopsal: pork belly
Seolleongtang: ox bone soup
Sikhye: sweet rice punch
Sinseollo: royal casserole
Soju: clear, distilled potato spirit, like vodka, but weaker

Topokki: stir-fried rice cake
Twigim: fried dishes