What do Koreans eat for breakfast

Homestyle Korean breakfast

  • 01 of 05

    Korean cuisine

    Korean cuisine has developed over the past centuries. Korean cuisine, which stems from ancient agricultural and nomadic traditions in the Korean peninsula and southern Manchuria, has evolved through a complex interplay of the natural environment and various cultural trends. Ingredients and dishes vary by province, but many regional dishes have become national, and dishes that were once local have spread across the country in different variations.

    Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables and meat. Traditional Korean dishes are known for the number of side dishes made with steam cooked short grain rice. Commonly used ingredients are sesame oil, Doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, Gochujang (fermented red chili paste) and cabbage.

    Kimchi (hot pickled cabbage) is almost always served with every meal. There are endless flavors of kimchi, with regional variations, and it's served as a side dish or cooked in soups and rice dishes. Koreans traditionally make enough kimchi for the entire winter season, since fermented foods can be kept for several years.

  • 02 of 05

    Traditional Korean breakfast

    A typical Korean breakfast isn't much different from the other meals of the day, except maybe a bit on the lighter side (or with less banchan or side dishes). So rice, a small bowl of soup or stew, and loads of banchan would usually make up the first meal of the day.

    As a traditional Korean breakfast includes rice, soup, meat and a wide variety of side dishes, this breakfast includes grilled short ribs (galbi), spicy seafood salad, bean sprout rice (kongnamul bab), spicy fish, cold cucumber soup (oi naengguk), ripened seaweed and Radish kimchi (moo saengchae).

  • 03 of 05

    Korean breakfast with eggs and tofu

    This Korean breakfast includes a vegetable omelet, tofu with spiced soy sauce, rice with red and black beans, radish kimchi (kaktugi), and Korean coleslaw.

  • 04 of 05

    Korean Breakfast Egg Toast Sandwich

    This Korean breakfast sandwich sold by street vendors in the cities is commonly known as Toast-To (toast) or Gaeran Tost-U (egg toast). It's not that different from an American egg sandwich, but the addition of cabbage and a generous cloud of brown sugar dust make it uniquely Korean.

  • 05 of 05

    Korean breakfast with fruits, bread and eggs

    Koreans love eggs and can be served with any meal of the day. This Western-style Korean breakfast includes fried eggs, fruit, Japanese white bread from a Korean bakery, and local strawberry butter.

    Although traditionally there is no separate category of "breakfast food", as is the case in America, it is quite common for Koreans to have Western foods such as cereal, bread, or pastries for breakfast.