Korean dramas are an excellent showcase for all the delicious food that forms a part of Korean culture. When combined with the actors’ ability to make anything and everything seem out-of-this-world kind of delicious, it’s no wonder that K-drama foods are utterly irresistible.
Here are five foods that are guaranteed to make you salivate and hunger for food.
Whether it’s eaten straight from the cup while the two leads are at the convenience store, or cooked up in a pot when they’re at someone’s house, ramyeon/ramen always looks amazing. Maybe it's the efforts of the actors, but there's just something in their look of absolute contentment that has me convinced that ramyeon is the key to the universe and the ultimate instant food.
As soon as I hear that tell-tale slurping, my stomach cries out to me in need of those beautifully delicious (but perhaps too salty for my own good) noodles. Simply put, I had to stop watching Cinderella and the Four Knights because the cravings were absolute torture. The main character seemed to eat ramyeon every second episode, and resisting the cries of my stomach became too much to handle.
2. Fried Chicken
Who cares about Kentucky Fried Chicken when there's Korean Fried Chicken? I’m not too sure what it is, but fried chicken in Korean dramas is infinitely more delicious-looking than fried chicken on other shows. Fried chicken on an American show? Not a single rumble from my stomach will be heard. If it’s in a Korean drama though, it’s basically guaranteed that my stomach will begin to resemble a dying whale and I will be in a constant state of semi-hangriness (hungry and angry) until my fried chicken cravings are satisfied.
My best example for this comes from the drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. Had I known that the titular character’s father owned a fried chicken (aptly named Bok Chicken), I would have worked on my mental strength and ability to resist temptation before starting it.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
What resulted was many trying weeks of crying internally whenever the characters ate chicken, and random daydreams about the naughty goodness of fried chicken.
3. Jjajangmyeon (Noodles in black bean sauce)
Oh, the sight of those noodles with black bean sauce on top, just waiting to be mixed, sends flutters to my heart and my stomach. While these noodles may have many affiliations – from being every busy person’s go-to meal, to apparently being the food of choice for single people on Black Day – nothing can detract from the blessed sense of contented fullness and satisfaction that can be achieved by consuming a bowl of this goodness.
The characters’ stomachs transform into black holes, their mouths into vacuums, and it looks like they basically inhale the noodles. This is probably why eating competitions involving jjajangmyeon are so good – stacks of bowls pile up and the result of the contest usually involves at least one person feeling seriously ill.
Let us not forget the classic jjajangmyeon eating contest of 2007’s Coffee Prince. Rest in peace, my man. You tried.
4. Korean Barbeque
I say Korean? You say BARBEQUE. Is there anything more tantalising than watching someone barbequing those juicy and perfectly marinated pieces of meat? When dramas use Korean barbeques in order to get the main couple to have some cute together-time - complete with adorable feeding-each-other moments - they play with both our hearts and our stomachs. What results is a big jumble of emotions and wants – wanting to eat barbeque meat while also wanting to be fed this meat by any male lead in a drama (take your pick).
It would be remiss not to mention Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo when talking about Korean barbeque because when Bok Joo and her friends have meat, they don’t hold back. There’s a couple of funny, sweet moments between the two leads, but the real highlight of the Korean barbeque experience is the "BFN method" developed by Bok Joo and her squad (#goals). Eat grilled meat first, followed up by marinated meat. Next comes fried rice, and then naengmyeon to wash it all down.
Try it out if you dare.
Ah, bibimbap – what a classic. This relatively simple but hearty-looking meal consists of rice mixed with whatever you want, and gochujang sauce to bring it all together. In dramas, bibimbap is typically associated with the main female lead being too lazy to do anything and lounging around in sweatpants (which is honestly the best idea ever, in my opinion). In some cases, K-drama characters do a bibimbap feed when everything is going horribly wrong, drowning their sorrows with each spoonful of delicious bibimbap.
Watching them shovel spoonful after spoonful of gochujang’d rice and who-knows-what out of their big brass bowls and straight into their mouths is oddly satisfying. It feels and looks almost cathartic, and so of course, it makes us want to do the same. It is my very honest opinion that bibimbap is an amazing comfort food, and provides a level of satisfaction that is unrivaled by any other dish. One thing is for sure, I’ll never forget my first fateful encounter with it in the 2004 drama Full House. #blessed.
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