Korean food 101: Top 10 essential dishes

Ready to try Korean? Get started with these hallmarks of the West's "it" cuisine

Kalbi (grilled beef short ribs)

Kalbi (grilled beef short ribs)

Koreans have eaten barbecue for thousands of years, but with meat so precious, it has traditionally been thinly sliced and richly seasoned. Now restaurants turn it into dinner theater. Strips of meat, typically kalbi or bulgogi (marinated rib-eye steak), are laid on grills built in the center of tables, along with garlic cloves, mushrooms, or green peppers. Once cooked, the server cuts them into bite-size pieces. Pick up chopsticks and dig in, perhaps creating a little “taco” using lettuce served stacked on a plate.

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