Essential Ingredients for Korean Cooking

These are the absolute must-have Korean cooking ingredients. Any lover of Korean food worth their salt has these ingredients on hand. With these, you can always be prepared to make a number of delicious Korean dishes.

Don't forget these essential ingredients when cooking Korean food.

Don’t forget these essential ingredients when preparing Korean food.

Short Grain Rice (Saal)

This sticky short grain rice is also often referred to as sushi rice. It is a major Korean staple and the base of a diverse number of delicious Korean cooking favorites.

Soy Sauce (Jinganjang)

Soy sauce has a delicious and unique flavor and is a major part of most Asian cuisines. Whether Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese dishes are being served, soy sauce is often incorporated into the food itself or on the side. In Korean markets, there are generally two kinds of soy sauce: the salty and sweet dark soy sauce (jianganjang) and the lighter salty soup soy sauce (gukgangjang). Jinganjang is more commonly used in Korean cooking staples such as bibimbap, seafood, seasoned vegetables, and as a seasoning sauce for fried fish or tofu.

Fermented Soybean Paste (Doenjang)

High-quality doenjang should smell earthy, but never stinky, and should not be too dark in color. It is important to store your fermented soybean paste in the fridge after opening it.  

Hot Pepper Paste (Gochujang)

This paste is spicy, sweet, salty, and earthy. It is a Korean cooking staple that’s gaining popularity outside of traditional Korean cooking for its unique and addictive flavor. While the main ingredient in gochujang is hot pepper powder, the actual taste of it is not entirely spicy, but complex. It is used to make a wide variety of sauces and is often added to fish, meat, vegetables, bibimbap, spicy rice cakes, and a number of side dishes.  

Toasted Sesame Oil (Chamkireum)

This oil has a strong and nutty flavor that not everyone loves, but it is incredibly important in authentic Korean cooking. It is used in soups, side dishes, porridges, and even a number of desserts. It’s common to dip grilled beef, pork, mushrooms, or other vegetables in a mixture of toasted sesame oil and salt.  

Lotte Plaza Markets In Maryland

Lotte Plaza Market is your one stop shop for all of your Asian groceries. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to better serve our customers. Opened since 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at

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Lotte Plaza
5821 Riverdale Rd. Riverdale, MD 20737
Phone: 301-699-7508