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Korean Food: Is It Spicy, Vegan, and Halal?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Korean food is becoming more and more popular through the years as the whole music industry has grown in Korea. It has attracted many tourists that became more interested in South Korean food. There are many different kinds of food, from mild to slightly spicy and even extremely spicy food.

Korean Food

Korea has it all, and everything you’re looking for, you can find it. It’s been known that foods like kimchi have many health benefits like better skin and immunity. This is probably the reason why Korean food is popular since it’s delicious and healthy. 

Everyone can cook it at home while watching some good Korean dramas. It’s like cooking mac and cheese. That’s literally how easy it is.

Of course, you have to take the time for it, and many people have been asking us three types of questions. Is Korean Food Spicy, Vegan, and Halal in this article? We’ll give you the answer, so keep reading on.

Is Korean Food Spicy?

Is Korean Food Spicy

Yes, Korean food can be very spicy. However, it can also be mild. It’s up to you which taste you prefer, so there’s no reason to say all Korean food is spicy. The people that say all food is spicy are the ones that have only tasted one dish and immediately concluded their final decision.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit South Korea, we highly recommend you do. Try out every food you can since it’s really good. Makes sure to visit some street markets where you can get spicy Korean food for really cheap.

That’s so beautiful and great about South Korea. It’s accessible for everyone, and many foreigners walk around. So, there’s no need to feel shy since you’re one of the thousands of other foreigners trying out new foods and exploring.

How Spicy Is Korean Food?

Korean spice levels

Korean food can get really spicy, and it’s really up to you what you like. We’ve created a comparison table here below for you to see what kind of eater you are. Some people like extremely spicy foods while others don’t.

If you’ve ever gone to an Asian grocery store, you can see that there are all types of ramen flavors. Those aren’t as spicy as some foods in restaurants that we’ve visited. The amount of spice in a pack of ramen is already pretty strong so imagine going to Korea and eating spicier food.

There are some great dishes that you should try when visiting Korea, like fried chicken, kimchi, fried rice, and spicy dumplings. Those are my favorites and are really delicious. Make sure to try them when visiting Korea; otherwise, you’re really missing out.

At almost every block you can see find restaurants and cafes. There are many places to choose from, and that’s what makes South Korea even more attractive for tourists.

Popular Spicy Korean Foods

Popular Spicy Korean Foods

There are many spicy Korean foods out there, but which one is really spicy? There are too many to list them all, so we’ve picked three dishes that are a bit spicy and delicious. If you haven’t tried these before, we highly recommend you do.


Kimchi is very traditional, and it tastes a bit sour with a taste of spiciness. It’s really good when mixed with rice or noodles. In South Korea, this is very popular and one of the most favorite foods of teenagers. 

Kimchi is available in every grocery store, and if you want to make it yourself, it’s very easy. Buy some cabbage and spices, mix it together, and this will do the job. There are many ways to make kimchi, but the easiest way is by buying it. 


Tteokbboki is very popular among all generations in South Korea. It’s a spicy snack made to tteok and gochujang. The price of tteokbokki is very affordable, so that’s probably one of the reasons why many people love it.

If you want to make this at home, it’s very easy, and you can do this by making the spicy rice cakes yourself or buying them from the grocery store. What I really like doing is buy fresh rice cakes from the market and create the sauce myself.

You can make it very spicy or just a little bit, that’s why I love cooking at home so much. It’s very easy to make these spicy Korean dishes. It doesn’t take much time, and it’s very fun to do it yourself. If you haven’t tried this already, make sure to do so.

Bibim Naengmyeon 

Naengmyeon means cold noodles in Korean, and there are many versions of these noodles. What I like the most is the spicy version.

Eating this in the summer on a hot day will make your day a lot better. This is one of the most underrated dishes in South Korea. 

More people should be eating this since it’s really that good. The majority of the people in South Korea often order fried chicken or tteokbokki since that’s easy to eat and taste very good with alcohol. However, if you’re a bit younger, this is a great option when visiting South Korea.

Is Korean Food Vegan?

Is Korean Food Vegan

Yes, there are many vegan foods in South Korea. Many restaurants offer vegan dishes, and it’s very easy to order. These days you can use a tablet to order or just ask the waitress what is vegan on the menu.

Every time I’ve been to Korea so far, ordering vegan dishes was extremely easy and if you don’t know what to say, use a translates app to make it easier.

Vegan Kimchi

Vegan kimchi is just another version of the normal kimchi, and it’s very easy to make it yourself. It’s also healthy, so there’s no going wrong with eating this. If you’re going to visit South Korea, it will be pretty hard to find vegan kimchi in restaurants.

The best way to find vegan kimchi is to make it yourself or buy it from grocery stores. It won’t be available everywhere so if you can’t find it in stores. Ordering online will also be an option. It’s up to you which one you’re going to choose.

Gamja Jorim

Gamja Jorim is a Korean braised potato and is very delicious. If you’ve never tried it before, I highly recommend you do. It’s made out of potatoes fried with a layer of crunchy flour. This dish is very underrated since most people normally don’t eat this.

You can find Gamja Jorim in street markets or make it yourself at home. There are many tutorials on YouTube or Google. Search it up and give it a try. It can’t go wrong if you follow the instructions and do it slowly.

Tofu Gimbap

Tofu Gimbap is very great to take with you as a snack. It’s 100% vegan and easy to make it yourself. This is just another version of normal gimbap, and gimbap can be made with many different ingredients, and most of the time, people stuff it with whatever they like.

There’s no going wrong when making gimbap yourself since it’s almost all the same. All gimbap rolls are made with seaweed, rice, and vegetables, so making it vegan will be really easy.

Is Korean Food Halal?

Is Korean Food Halal

Yes, Korean food can also be halal. Ask around for some Korean restaurants that serve halal food. It won’t be hard since you’re not the only one eating halal. There are many other foreigners in South Korea looking for the same food. If you are too shy to ask, search it up on Naver or Google.

Stir-Fried Octopus

Stir-fried octopus is pretty popular in Korea, and it’s very easy to make it yourself. It is a bit spicy, but that’s what many people like about the Korean dish. I really like making this at home since it takes less than 30 minutes to finish it.

This is halal, so you can eat it; however, if you’re spice tolerance isn’t high, try to eat it in small bites first to avoid burning your mouth.

Samseon Jajangmyeon 

Samseon Jajangmyeon is Jajangmyeon with shrimps instead of pork. It’s basically black bean sauce mixed with noodles and some vegetables. In South Korea, this is very popular for taking out since it’s easy to eat and it comes with plates.

If you’ve ever watched some Korean TV programs, you see that they order Jajangmyeon all the time since it’s affordable and easy to eat.

Kimchi Jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae is a Korean stew mixed with tofu, meat, or fish. It’s up to you what you’re going to put inside the stew. All Kimchi Jjigae’s are soup-based with a very spicy taste. It’s one of the most delicious spicy stews I’ve ever tried.

This one of the easiest meals to make yourself when being home alone. It tastes very good when coming home from cold weather and eating this with a spoon of plain rice. It’s very popular in Korea, and people order it all the time.


Now that you’ve come to the end of this article, you probably know that not all Korean food is spicy. It’s just a thought many people have because they probably ate Korean food once and think that all food is spicy.

There are spicy dishes in Korea, but there are also many mild dishes. It all comes down to your personal preference since there’s no good or bad. Many Korean restaurants serve these dishes, so if you ever have the opportunity to visit Korea, make sure you do so.

Try as many foods as you can, and as a vegan or halal person, there are many options you can choose from. Ask around, and people will help you happily. There’s no need to be shy since you will probably never see them again.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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