How to Make Korean Food

It’s wintertime in Korea, and millions of students and workers are getting finished with their work. Because of the go-go lifestyle in Korea, where everything like school and work is fast-paced, there isn’t much time to eat or cook, but lucky for them there is still fast Korean food that delivers the quality of a home-cooked meal.

Dalgona, or ppopgi, is a popular street food snack in South Korea. From prior experience, and according to my Mom, it is a cheap option for kids to get on the street, amounting to 1000 Korean Won (1 USD). Ajusshi and ajumma (elderly people) sit on the sidewalk, hot or cold, and make this snack for any kid that wants. There is a shape embedded within the inexpensive dish. If you take the shape out of the candy, then you would get another free one. Recently, dalgona has made a resurgence ever since the show Squid Game came out. According to my friend in Korea, street vendors are packed with people wanting to try the candy. Here is a recipe for this simple but sweet dish:

These are the ingredients and utensils that you will need to use:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • Pinch of Baking soda
  • Ladle
  • Parchment paper
  • Tray
  • Stove
  • Cookie-cutter shape
  • Something to flatten it
  • One stick or wooden chopstick

Step one: Setting up

Set up the tray, by putting the parchment paper on top, and then drizzle some sugar onto the parchment paper. This way, the ppopgi won’t stick to the paper and mess up the entire snack. This will also cause it to be a bit sweeter.

Step two: Start cooking

To start, add 2-4 tablespoons of sugar to the ladle and place it above the stovetop. Set the heat to low-medium. Once the heat is on, immediately start mixing the sugar with the stick. If you wait too long, it’ll stick right onto the ladle and it will not work. Make sure to take off the ladle when it gets too hot, to make sure it doesn’t burn into the ladle.

Step three: Add baking soda

After mixing for a little while, the color of the sugar turns into a golden brown thick mixture. At this point, take it off the stove quickly and add a tablespoon or two of baking soda. This recipe does not have set measurements, it’s usually just eyeing mixed with trial and error. Once you add the baking soda, put it back over the heat and mix until it gets to a lighter gold. Once it gets to that color, take it off the heat and turn off the stove.

Step four: Finish

After you take it off the heat, pour it onto the tray with parchment paper. Once you pour the sugar mixture onto the parchment paper, let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute. If you pour the mixture too quickly, it won’t cool off and will be messed up. After you let it sit, use something to flatten it out. I used a dalgona press. Once you flatten it, get the cookie cutter and press it on to give it a shape in the middle. After it’s all done, make sure to try and take the shape out!

Kimchi bokkeumbap (fried rice) has no clear date on when it was first officially made. Ever since the Korean War, kimchi bokkeumbap has been a very popular dish. According to the New York Times, during the Korean War, it was made between Korean and American soldiers along with Budaejjigae, which means army base stew. In both dishes, there are some American influences with a “meat” called spam, which was popular among American GIs. Nowadays it is a popular dish among college students and workers as it’s a very cheap and easy dish to make. 

Ingredients Needed:

  • White rice (use however much you want, usually people use leftovers)
  • Kimchi (again, you decide your amount)
  • Spam or any meat you want
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • If you want to make it spicier, add 1 tablespoon of Gochujang.

Step one: Prepare

Once you get your ingredients, start by cutting the spam or whatever meat you choose into cube/bite-size pieces. Put that aside and cut the kimchi. When you are cutting the kimchi, make sure to use kitchen scissors because if you use a knife on a cutting board, there is a chance that flavor from the kimchi is lost!

Step two: Cook the kimchi and spam

Turn the heat on the stove to medium-high temperature, and start by adding cooking oil, wait for the pan to heat up. Once it heats up, add the kimchi and spam. Then fry it!

Step three: (Optional)

If you are more of a spicy person, and the kimchi isn’t spicy enough for your liking, you can add some gochujang which is Korean pepper paste. After you do add that, mix everything together.

Step four: Add rice

Now, after you see that everything else is almost done being cooked, you should add the rice. You can heat it up before in the microwave, or just cook it as you add it. Once you add the rice, quickly mix everything again. Turn the heat off when everything is a similar color. If you would like, you can add a cooked egg on top of the rice, however, it’s not required to do so. Now, all that’s left to do is plate it and eat it!

Step five: Eat

If you don’t want to learn to cook Korean food, there are a couple of good restaurants like Jong Ka Jib, Seorabeol, Daebak, and Bonchon. If you want to keep exploring more Korean dishes, look up kimchi jjigae, bibimbap, and pajeon!


Image from

History from

Ppopgi game: