The Fundamental Ingredients of Korean Cuisine

korean cuisine lotte plaza market

Korean cuisine is wonderfully diverse, flavorful, and has a rich history.

Korean cuisine is wonderfully diverse, flavorful, and has a rich history. Even if you don’t come from a Korean immigrant family, you can still stock up on the ingredients you need. After all, nothing says you can’t enjoy the food just because you didn’t grow up in Seoul or Incheon! Here’s a better look at the fundamentals of this delightful style of cooking.

The Condiments You Need 

No meal is complete without some mouthwatering sauces and condiments. As is common elsewhere in Asia, soy sauce is something you can’t go without. Did you know that low-sodium and gluten-free brews of soy sauce exist? They do, and you should track them down if you have certain dietary requirements. Gochujang (spicy pepper paste) and daenjang (soybean paste) are also necessities for many dishes.

Indispensable Spices 

You may have heard the old saying that “variety is the spice of life” – well, this is very much true. Korean food has a reputation for being spicy – and that’s saying something considering it shares a continent with Szechuan peppercorns, wasabi, and many types of curry (both Indian and Thai)! Ginger, garlic, and kochukaru (chili pepper powder) will all kick things up a notch.

Fresh Veggies and Grains 

Every cooking-related tradition in the world incorporates fresh vegetables and staple grains. Scallions, also known as green onions, are an essential part of Korea’s foodways. Sesame seeds, sesame oil, and gim (dried seaweed sheets) impart plenty of bewitching flavors as well! Rice wine, noodles, and the rice itself are also bound to be in many of the most popular dishes you’ll want to mimic. Feel free to substitute white rice for brown rice – if you have any health conditions, such as diabetes, this switch will be much better for your health. That’s because the brown rice is absorbed more slowly and thus, doesn’t spike your blood sugar as quickly or as intensely.

This and That 

Finally, there are a few miscellanies that you should keep in mind as you daydream about opening your very own food truck! Dried anchovies and tofu also count as two major elements of this style of cuisine. Even though you might be able to find many of these ingredients in your local grocery store, it’s probably easier to venture to a nearby Asian supermarket. There, you’ll find a wider variety of selections and better prices on the harder-to-find items that you might not see anywhere else. 

Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market

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

This entry was posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2021 at . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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