Korean dishes are popular and enjoyed around the world. There are many to try, but what if you have gluten sensitivity? Can you still eat some of the popular Korean dishes? The answer is yes!
If you’re anything like me then you love Korean food. I lived in Korea for three years (my last year in Korea is coming to an end) and truly enjoyed eating the food. It is one of my favorite things about Korea. During my third year in Korea, I was mainly gluten-free so I ate mostly gluten free foods.
A lot of Korean desserts, Korean side dishes, and main dishes contain gluten so what am I eating during my last year in Korea? Well, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite gluten free Korean dishes!
This post will help you whether you are moving to Korea to teach, visiting for vacation, or just wanting to try out the Korean restaurant in your city. Of course, you don’t have to be gluten-free to find this post helpful.
This post is about Korean dishes that are gluten-free.
Korean Dishes that are gluten-free
Korean Dishes With Beef
It seems like most of us know and love Korean barbeque. I wasn’t always a fan of Korean barbeque, mainly because during my first two years in Korea I didn’t eat meat. But now that I am eating meat, I’ve grown to love Korean barbeque specifically the one made with beef. This is one of the most popular Korean dishes in the US and it’s definitely loved in Korea.
Barbeque is delicious and gluten free! This meal is made up of barbequed meat, lettuce, perilla leaves, and rice if you request some. This dish also comes with Korean side dishes known as banchan. The beef, lettuce, and rice are of course gluten-free, but depending on what banchan you get they may or may not be gluten-free. Because I don’t have a gluten allergy (there’s a difference between allergy and sensitivity) I’m able to eat most of the side dishes with no problems.
Bibimbap is a Korean rice bowl and it is one of my favorite dishes. I also listed it in my post about what to eat in Jeonju. It is made up of rice, various vegetables, and egg. The standard bibimbap usually comes with beef but there are some that don’t. It’s one of the best Korean dishes in my opinion!
You’ve probably come across many Korean noodles dishes only to be disappointed that there weren’t any gluten-free options. But, I’m here to tell you that there are noodle dishes in Korea that are gluten free. Just take this dish for example. This dish is a beef stew with vegetables. The noodles that are used are the same noodles that are used to make japchae which is also gluten free. Those noodles are made from sweet potato starch.
The restaurant near my apartment in Yeosu makes the best I’ve ever tasted. I cannot express the amount of flavor this dish has. It’s so good!
Spicy Korean Dishes
If you love spicy food, then you’ll probably love kimchi jjigae. This is a kimchi stew.
A word of caution. Your kimchi jjigae may or may not be gluten free. It depends on how the restaurant prepared the kimchi that is used in the jjigae. One of the key ingredients in kimchi is fish sauce and most fish sauces tend to contain gluten. I personally haven’t had any problems eating this dish, but if you are highly sensitive to gluten it’s probably best to skip this one.
Another popular chicken dish in Korea is dak galbi which is spicy stir-fried chicken. OK my spice tolerance has come a long way after living in Korea. I can eat kimchi jjigae without batting an eye, I can finish a bowl of tteokbokki in an instant, and eat kimchi like its chips. I’m slightly exaggerating, but all that is to say dak galbi makes my eyes water a bit and will have me coughing a bit too. But the spiciness isn’t as noticeable if you eat it with rice.
Aside from being spicy, dak galbi is delicious and pairs well with rice. You can get it with or without cheese.
Dishes In Korea That Can Be Vegetarian
Gimbap is another great Korean food you should try. It usually contains ham which may or may not contain gluten, but you can easily pick it out or ask the restaurant to not add it. I always do one of the two because I don’t like ham.
Bean sprout rice soup
Bean sprout rice soup or kongnamulgukbap is gluten free with some of its main ingredients being rice, bean sprouts, egg, and scallions. It’s a great dish to have when it’s cold outside. But, if you’re anything like me, then you love having soups even in the summertime!
Korean Dishes With Chicken
This ginseng chicken soup is one of my favorite Korean dishes with chicken. It’s so nourishing, comforting, and filling. It contains a whole chicken which is stuffed with rice. It also contains some veggies, ginseng, and daechu (a red dried fruit). This dish will cost you about 13 to 15 thousand won in Korea ($10-$12).
This dish is oh-so-good and it’s called juk, a Korean rice porridge. This particular juk is called samgyejuk, a samgyetang-inspired rice porridge. Its main ingredient is……drum roll please…and you’ve guessed right, it’s rice. This juk contains all of the ingredients that samgyetang is made with including ginseng, daechu, etc. Try it, you won’t regret it.
I’m going to finish off this post with one of my favorite Korean desserts- patbingsu. This dessert is a milked-based shaved ice that is topped with red beans and other toppings. There are many different toppings that can be added to patbingsu which might not be gluten-free, but if you stick to the more traditional patbingsu then you shouldn’t have any problems.
This post was about Korean dishes.
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