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A List of Marvelous Modern Korean Dishes and Drinks

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Korea has a wealth of traditional foods and recipes, but it's also a goldmine of modern dishes. Some of the "new" dishes are modernized takes on traditional dishes, others are fusion cuisine, and this list even includes some old favorites livened up with some global ingredients.

1. Yuja Champagne Cocktail

Yuja, the Korean citron fruit, has a zingy tart flavor that combines elements of mandarin oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. Although yuja chung, the Korean yuzu marmalade, is traditionally used for making hot tea, it can add vitality and contemporary glamour to mixed drink cocktails.

2. Green Tea Ice Cream

Green tea ice cream is popular all over Korea and you can also find it in Korean restaurants and grocery stores all over the world. It's an easy and addictive ice cream to make if you have natural green tea powder, which you can find in Asian grocery stores and online. The Korean label might say: “Nokcha Karu” and Japanese brands will say “Matcha”.

3. Shrimp and Linguine Salad with Spicy Korean Dressing

Bright and fresh, this shrimp salad is packed with vegetables and topped with a spicy-sweet dressing. You can increase the amount of pasta and shrimp if you want to serve this as a full meal.

4. Korean Tuna Croquettes Recipe (Chamchi Jun)

Canned tuna fish is popular in Korea for the same reasons it is popular in many other parts of the world: it's convenient, tasty and a good source of healthy protein. These tuna croquettes (or tuna pancakes or patties) are delicious when eaten hot, but they are also a popular snack or lunchbox food and can be eaten room temperature.

5. Recipe for Budaechigae (Korean Army Base Stew)

Korean Army Base Stew (Budae Chigae)
Naomi Imatome
Budae Chigae was invented during the famine years of the Korean war and post-war period. Koreans managed to use leftover meat discarded or handed-out from the U.S. army bases to make this dish ("Budae" means military base and "Chigae" means stew in Korean). It's a recent invention with a thousand variations, but it's mostly a lip-smacking mixture of Western meat, ramen noodles, vegetables, and spices.

6. Fresh Salad with Garlic and Yogurt Dressing

This vegetable salad has a lot of peppery notes and crunch and is perfect topped with a smooth yogurt and garlic dressing.

7. Spicy Korean Coleslaw Recipe

This is an easy Korean 'salad' that my mother would always make with Western cabbage (yang baechu). While we ate it, she'd usually reminisce about how she used to make this as a replacement for kimchi when she first moved to America. She couldn't always find Korean cabbage or didn't have the storage space, time or materials necessary to make large batches of kimchi.

8. Fresh Spring Rolls with Spicy Korean Dipping Sauce

Spring Rolls with Tofu, Shrimp, Perilla Leaves and a Spicy Korean Chili Sauce
This is not a traditional Korean recipe, but these spring rolls are made with perilla leaves and kochujang (spicy Korean chili pepper paste), two common Korean ingredients.

9. Korean Potato Salad Recipe

Korean Potato Salad
Naomi Imatome
Potato salad is popular in Korea, which surprises many non-Asians, and it's either included in meals as a side dish or makes a meal as a sandwich filling. Unlike Western versions it includes fruit, vegetables, and sometimes ham, and it doesn't have a vinegary component. I usually omit the ham if I'm using it as banchan (side dish) but include it if I'm expecting to use the salad for lunch or picnic sandwiches.

10. Korean-Style Spicy Linguine with Clam Sauce Recipe

This pasta recipe is not authentic Italian since the spices are those found in the Korean kitchen. Koreans love spice and the freshest seafood possible, so the kochukaru and small, sweet clams are a nod to the Korean palate. But like Mediterranean cooking, this dish is light, fresh and highlights the flavors of the ocean.

11. Yogurt Soju Cocktail

Yogurt Soju
Naomi Imatome Yun
A yogurt cocktail might sound crazy if you're new to soju, but yogurt soju is popular in Korea and all over Asia. Both yogurt and soju go well with the fiery aspects of Korean cuisine, so it makes sense that they'd be mixed by Koreans. But be careful, as the most common complaint about yogurt soju is that it's so easy to drink that you're drunk before you know it.

12. Sparkling Ginger Cocktail

Although this is not a traditional Korean drink, both soju and ginger are important and essential parts of Korean cuisine.

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