Have you noticed how Korean culture is everywhere right now? From K-Pop to skincare, it seems like everyone is obsessed with all things Korean. So, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and try some popular Korean food to see if the hype is real.

Now, let me tell you, Korean food is not for the faint of heart. Koreans love their spice, and that was definitely evident in the dishes I tried. But, I want to be clear that my opinions are my own, and just because I didn’t love everything I tried, doesn’t mean you won’t either. It’s always exciting to try new things, even if they don’t end up being your cup of tea (or bowl of ramen).

So, what did I eat?

1. Buldak Carbonara ramen

I tried out the super trendy Buldak Carbonara ramen, and let me tell you, it was an experience. For those who don’t know, ramen is a type of noodle dish that’s super easy to make – just boil the noodles in water for 5-6 minutes, add the sauce and spices, and stir it all up.

Now, I have to warn you – this ramen was SPICY. I took one sip, and my mouth was on fire! I had to keep sipping on a cooldrink every time I took a bite. But, despite the spiciness, the texture of the noodles was seriously amazing. I really enjoyed it.

So, all things considered, I give the Buldak Carbonara ramen a solid 4 out of 5 rating. If you’re up for a little spice and love trying out new things, I definitely recommend giving this dish a try!

Rating: 4/5 

2. Cheesy Corn Dog

Koreans LOVE their corn dogs, and let me tell you, I totally get the hype! I recently tried one, and it was so yummy I can’t stop thinking about it.

The corn dog I had was filled with gooey cheese and Vienna sausages, and I topped it off with some delicious tomato sauce. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the instructions at the store even showed me how to prepare it perfectly. I chose to air fry it for 5-6 minutes, but you can also fry it in a pan without any oil for 5 minutes.

And get this, it wasn’t even spicy at all! So you don’t have to worry about your taste buds being overwhelmed. The only thing you need to worry about is eating it without looking silly, haha.

Overall, I give this corn dog a solid 5 out of 5 rating. So, if you’re looking for a delicious and trendy snack, I highly recommend giving a South Korean corn dog a try! You just have to find a way to eat it properly without looking a little silly.

Rating: 5/5

3. Five Berries Tea

This was quite the experience!  At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the flavour – was it a cool drink or a juice? But after reading the label, I discovered that it was actually a tea made from five different Korean berries. Talk about exotic!

Honestly, it was a little odd tasting at first, but I couldn’t deny that it was fruity and refreshing. I mean, how often do you get to try something made from Korean berries? The packaging was also super cute, and definitely worth mentioning.

Overall, I think this drink is worth a try. It might take a few sips to get used to, but I think once you do, you’ll really enjoy it. Who knows, it might even become your new go-to drink!

Rating: 3.5/5

4. Kimchi

Let’s talk about one of the most iconic Korean dishes out there – Kimchi! If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s basically a fermented side dish made with cabbage or radish and a mix of yummy spices. But I’ve got to be real with you; it can be pretty spicy at first, so you might need to work up to it.

Personally, I give Kimchi a solid 3/5 rating. It’s not my absolute favourite dish, but it’s definitely worth trying if you’re looking to expand your taste buds. Once you get past the initial shock of cold cabbage and heat, you might find yourself falling in love with this staple of Korean cuisine. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

5. Seaweed Chips/ Snack

The seaweed snack..what does one say? Let me tell you, I was not prepared for the fishy flavour. Like, whoa. It was pretty intense. And honestly, I wasn’t really feeling it. The texture was really thin and kind of reminded me of paper. Not exactly my idea of a satisfying snack!

Overall, I’m giving these seaweed chips a 2 out of 5 rating. But hey, maybe you’re more into that salty sea taste than I am. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

6. Bubble Milk Tea

I can’t wrap my head around why anyone would like it. It’s basically cold tea with these weird bubbles made from tapioca balls, which are basically just starch from the cassava root.

And let me tell you, the bubbles weren’t even that good! So, I’m a little confused as to why people are so obsessed with this drink. I should mention that bubble tea actually originated in Taiwan, but it’s super popular in Korea too.

Have any of you guys tried bubble tea before? What do you think of it? Personally, I don’t think I’ll be trying it again anytime soon. It gets a lacklustre 2 out of 5 from me. 

Rating: 2/5

7. Secret Jelly Sweets

Let me tell you, these sweets were absolutely delicious.

At first glance, they looked a bit like cola-flavoured gummies, with their dark colour and unique shapes like half-moons and stars. But once I took a bite, I knew I had found something special. These sweets were sweet but not overpowering and had a delightful jelly-like texture that just melted in my mouth.

Overall, I give these secret jelly sweets a solid 5/5 rating. They’re the perfect snack for satisfying your sweet tooth, and their unique shape and texture make them even more fun to eat. Trust me, once you try them, you won’t be able to get enough!

Rating: 5/5

So, is Korean food worth the hype?

As someone who recently tried Korean food for the first time, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the unique flavours and textures of these items. While some of the spicier options took some getting used to, overall, I definitely think that the hype around Korean cuisine is justified. 

So, if you’re curious about trying Korean food for yourself, I would definitely encourage you to give it a go! And if you’re lucky enough to have a local Korean market, be sure to check it out and stock up on some authentic ingredients to enhance your Korean cooking experience.

PS. I bought all the products that I mentioned at a small Korean Market store in Observatory, Cape Town.


Tell us: What has been your experience with Korean cuisine, and what are some of your favourite dishes? If you haven’t tried Korean food before, what piques your interest and what dishes are you curious to try? Share your thoughts and cravings with us in the comments below!

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