We can’t all experience the joy of traveling to Seoul and eating all the food we can stomach. But, if you live in the US, there are plenty of ways to get your hands on great Korean dishes.
These three are my all-time favorite Korean comfort foods, and they’re easy to get or make if you live in the States. Just head over to your local H-Mart or another Asian grocer for the ingredients.
Complete list of Koreatowns in North America
1. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
Ttekbokki is my favorite Korean food. Imagine bite-sized rice cakes smothered in a slightly sweet and fiercely spicy sauce. Then add fish cakes, ramen noodles, and a boiled egg—if you want.
But beware. Tteokbokki is considered junk food in Korea (after all, it’s mostly processed carbs), so eat in moderation.
If you want to try the best and most authentic tteokbokki in the US, then you’ll need to head over LA’s Yup Dduk, where even the extra mild will make you sweat.
2. Jajangmyeon (Black Bean Noodles)
Jajangmyeon is a Korean twist on a Chinese favorite created by Chinese ex-pats living in Korea—and it’s as popular in Seoul as pizza is in New York.
My favorite jajangmyeon is Chapagetti. It’s as if a Korean Chef Boyardee formulated a special packet of ramyun—except they omitted the broth and added a thick, savory, black bean sauce.
Chapagetti is ready in five minutes on the stove, so it’s the best late-night snack after a long night or a quick lunch between meetings.
3. Bulgogi (Barbecue Beef)
If you’re a fan of beef, you need to try some bulgogi. This Korean dish is made with thinly sliced beef—traditionally, sirloin steak is used, but I always make mine with ribeye.
Marinated overnight in a luxurious blend of soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, gochujang, and a few secret ingredients (secret family recipes are always the best ones), fresh bulgogi meets a hot pan for a few short minutes before it’s ready to serve over white rice.
Final Thoughts: Where to Get the Best Korean Food
My favorite part about the best Korean food you can eat is that it’s so easy to make. Some of the ingredients might be hard to come by if you live in the Midwest, but H Marts exist almost everywhere else.
And if you’re wondering why kimchi isn’t on this list—it’s because I don’t think it’s one of the best Korean foods out there.
Sure, it is iconic. But if I were forced to choose, I’d eat tteokbokki and bulgogi over kimchi every day.