What Do Koreans Eat for Breakfast? 7 Delicious Items

Koreans typically have a breakfast that consists of rice, soup, vegetables, and meat. Breakfast is considered an important meal of the day in korean culture, and often includes fermented foods like kimchi.

In korea, breakfast is believed to be the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone for the day and provides energy and nourishment for the body. Traditional korean breakfasts typically consist of rice, soup, vegetables, and meat.

Fermented foods like kimchi are also a common addition to breakfast. Korean breakfast dishes are often savory and feature bold flavors, reflecting the country’s culinary heritage. In recent years, there has also been a growing trend of more western-style breakfast options, including cereal and pastries, but traditional korean breakfast remains a beloved and prominent feature of korean culture.

Significance Of Breakfast In Korean Culture

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day in korean culture. The belief is that starting the day with healthy and nutritious food sets the tone for the rest of the day. Koreans typically consume a variety of rice dishes such as juk, a rice porridge, or bap, a bowl of rice with side dishes such as eggs, fish, and kimchi.

Soups like doenjang-guk, made from soybean paste, and gomguk, made from beef bone broth, are also popular. Western-style breakfast options like toast, cereal and coffee are increasingly available in modern korean cities. A nutritious breakfast is valued greatly in traditional korean culture, as it is believed that it can enhance physical and mental well-being for the rest of the day.

Regional Variations in Korean Breakfast

Korean breakfast can vary across different regions of the country. Popular areas such as jeolla, hwanghae, and gyeongsang all have their unique twists, but some elements remain constant. Kimchi and banchan are often included as sides to the main dish.

In some provinces, soup is usually the mainstay, served with rice and fish. Other regions have rice porridge with meat, commonly enjoyed as a warm, comforting breakfast dish. Toast, eggs, and fruit are also popular breakfast options. Koreans believe that their breakfast is essential in preparing them for their day ahead.

So if you’re looking for a new and exciting breakfast idea, consider trying out some of these korean breakfast dishes.

01. Guk-Ganjang Gejang (Soy Sauce Marinated Crabs)

Korean breakfasts are famously tasty and healthy. One such dish is guk-ganjang gejang, a traditional breakfast of soy sauce marinated crabs. The dish originated in the coastal province of gangwon-do, where fishermen would catch fresh crabs to marinate in soy sauce and serve with rice.

The marination process usually takes several days to allow the flavor to develop properly. The dish has been enjoyed for over 100 years and remains popular today. To make this dish, you will need fresh crabs, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, gochugaru, and onion.

First, clean and prep the crabs, then mix the ingredients for the marinade and let it sit for several days in the refrigerator. After that, you can enjoy the delicious flavor of guk-ganjang gejang, a true korean breakfast delight.

02. Namul Banchan (Seasoned Vegetable Side Dishes)

Namul banchan, or seasoned vegetable side dishes, is one of the most popular korean breakfast choices. Some commonly used vegetables for breakfast include spinach, bean sprouts, and cucumber. To prepare namul banchan, start with fresh vegetables and season them with a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and green onions.

You can add sliced chili pepper for some heat. These vegetable dishes are not only delicious, but also healthy and easy to make. To maintain freshness and flavor, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Enjoy namul banchan as part of a nutritious korean breakfast spread!

03. Kong-Guksu (Chilled Soy Milk Noodle Soup)

Kong-guksu is a traditional korean soup served as breakfast. The main ingredients include chilled soy milk and noodles. There are several types of noodles that can be used in this dish, such as wheat noodles, buckwheat noodles, or even soba noodles.

The toppings can vary too, ranging from sliced cucumbers, sesame seeds, or boiled egg slices. The dish is usually light, healthy and refreshing on a hot summer morning. If you’re looking for a unique and healthy breakfast choice, give kong-guksu a try.

04. Japchae (Stir-Fried Glass Noodles And Vegetables)

Japchae is a beloved korean classic breakfast dish that’s also popular as lunch or dinner. The main ingredients include stir-fried glass noodles, an array of colorful vegetables, and bulgogi beef or mushrooms for a vegan option. The noodles are made from sweet potato starch, providing a uniquely chewy texture that’s irresistible.

The vegetables range from carrots, spinach, onions, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms to bell peppers, cucumber, and other seasonal produce, making for a visually stunning and wholesome meal. To prepare, cook the glass noodles, stir-fry the vegetables and protein, and mix everything together with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar.

You can also customize your japchae by adding in other ingredients such as chili flakes, sesame seeds, or fresh herbs. Japchae is a delightful and healthy option to start your day.

05. Ddeokguk (Rice Cake Soup)

Ddeokguk is a delicious traditional korean rice cake soup and a popular breakfast dish that is commonly served during special occasions such as the lunar new year. This savory soup is made with homemade broth and sliced rice cakes, which are boiled in the broth along with beef or chicken, dumplings, and vegetables such as egg, carrot, and scallion.

The broth base is made by boiling beef bones, anchovies, and kelp, giving it a rich and flavorful taste. If you would like to make this korean breakfast dish from scratch, be sure to use high-quality ingredients to achieve the best results.

Overall, ddeokguk is a satisfying and delicious celebratory dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

06. Kimchi Bokkeumbap (Fried Rice With Kimchi)

Kimchi bokkeumbap is a common korean breakfast dish that’s both savory and spicy. A great recipe tip for making this delicious fried rice is to use day-old rice. This allows the grains to crisp up nicely. The addition of kimchi brings a tangy and slightly sour flavor to the dish.

To make it even more filling, you can add diced vegetables like carrots, onions, and peas. You can also add a fried egg on top for added protein. This dish is perfect for those who love a bit of heat in their breakfast and is a great way to start your day with authentic korean flavors.

07. Haemul Pajeon (Seafood And Green Onion Pancake)

Koreans have a unique way of starting their day, and haemul pajeon is one of the most popular breakfast choices. This savory pancake is loaded with an array of seafood such as squid, shrimp, and oysters, along with sliced green onions.

The batter is made from a mixture of wheat flour, egg, and water, making it crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Haemul pajeon is served hot and sliced into bite-sized pieces, perfect for sharing. To personalize it, you can swap the seafood with your favorite protein or create a vegetarian version by using mushrooms or tofu.

Either way, you’ll have a delicious and healthy breakfast to start your day!

Korean-Style Egg Toast

Korean-style egg toast is a popular western breakfast with a korean twist. It’s a simple yet flavorful sandwich that incorporates classic ingredients such as bread, butter, eggs, and cheese, but also includes korean flavors like gochujang or kimchi. To make it even more authentic, you can use unique korean ingredients like perilla leaves or jumuk-bap (rice balls).

The key to a perfect korean-style egg toast is to use fresh and high-quality ingredients. This breakfast dish is an excellent way to start the day and explore the delicious flavors of korean cuisine.

Convenience Store Breakfast Options

Koreans take their breakfast seriously, and this extends to their convenience stores. Popular options include kimbap, toast, and triangular kimbap. While convenient, they also have their pros and cons. The upside is that they’re readily available and cheap. The downside is that they contain a lot of additives and preservatives that can be unhealthy.

Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance and not make them a habitual breakfast choice. Nonetheless, if you want to try a local breakfast experience, feel free to indulge in the convenience store breakfast options but keep in mind moderation is key.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Common Korean Breakfast Dishes?

Korean breakfast often includes rice, soup, kimchi, and soy dishes. Some popular breakfast dishes are juk and gyeranmari.

Do Koreans Eat Breakfast Every Day?

Yes, traditionally koreans eat three meals a day, including breakfast. Breakfast is considered an important meal to start the day with energy.

What Is Juk?

Juk is a type of rice porridge that is commonly eaten for breakfast in korea. It can be served plain or with various toppings.

Is Kimchi A Common Breakfast Food In Korea?

Yes, kimchi is a staple in the korean diet and is often served at breakfast. It is a traditional side dish made of fermented vegetables.

What Is Gyeranmari And How Is It Made?

Gyeranmari is a korean rolled omelet made with beaten eggs, vegetables, and sometimes meat or seafood. It is cooked in a flat pan and then rolled into a cylindrical shape.

What Is A Typical Korean Breakfast Beverage?

Traditional korean breakfast beverages include tea, coffee, and sikhye, a sweet rice drink made with malt and served cold.


As you can see, breakfast in korea is a complex affair. There are various dishes, both traditional and modern, that korean people like to eat to start their day. Breakfast in korea is not only about taste and indulgence, but also about nutrition and health.

Traditional korean breakfast items like juk, guk, and pancakes are nutritious, high in fiber and protein, and easy on the stomach. Korean breakfast dishes have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their taste, health benefits, and unique presentation.

Although modern korean breakfast dishes like toast, coffee and cereal are becoming popular, traditional dishes are still the heart and soul of the korean breakfast culture. So next time you are in korea, make sure to indulge in some authentic korean breakfast dishes and start your day the korean way!

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