11 Korean Fruits You Must Try: Beginners Guide

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Korea is home to some of the most delicious fruits in the world. Many Korean fruits are exclusive to the area, making them a must-have when visiting.

If you can eat Korean fruits, take it because it will be a dining experience that you will never forget. Many of Korea’s succulent, native fruits are savory, sweet, salty, and citrusy all at once.

Many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in fruits are great for your bodily functions and systems. For instance, fruits are full of antioxidants and are great for the immune and digestive systems.

The ingredients in fruit are fantastic for your health and offer great benefits to the people who eat them regularly.

Korean fruits are must-haves, whether you’re overseas or on the homefront. The intense flavors make Korea one of the best fruit producers for citruses, which is another reason you must try their many delicious fruits.

This article discusses the fruits of Korea and why you should try them. There are many Korean fruits that you can incorporate into your diet to meet your daily nutritional needs.

What Are Korean Fruits?

Korean fruits are native and non-native fruits to South Korea that are a large part of the country’s cuisine. Korea is known for natural flavorings, and fruit is one of the many ways that Koreans naturally flavor their dishes.

Instead of cooking their food with cane sugar, South Koreans flavor their dishes with more natural and healthy ingredients like apples, pears, and melons. These choices make their meals healthier and more flavorful.

As a culinary enthusiast, you can eat these fruits in the heart of South Korea, or you can eat imported fruits available in the United States. Either way, incorporating these fruits into your daily life is a delicious way to try a bite of Korea.

Are Korean Fruits Available In The United States? 

Korean fruits are available in the United States thanks to exportation. However, they are not as fresh as they would be overseas, which is why you should capitalize on the experience while visiting Korea if you have the chance. The opportunity to taste fresh cuisine is one of the best ways to expand your palette.

The Types of Fruits in Korea

If you’re a fruit lover, you must try one of the many Korean fruits that do this country justice. Some of the many native fruits to Korea are the Korean melon, pear, and tangerine. These native fruits are delicious, well-known, and frequently used by chefs and citizens to add flavor to Korean dishes.

To expand your palette, you should give all Korean fruits an opportunity. Fruits from across the world can be intimidating because they appear different than ours (the Korean pear is orange!). However, some fruits cannot be passed up, like the native fruits from Korea. 

You can consume most native fruits raw, without a need for cooking or prepping them whatsoever. It is typically better to give yourself a quick prep and make a meal out of your fruits so you can appreciate the fruits to their fullest.

Non-Native Korean Fruits

Although not every fruit is native to Korea, there are many fruits that you should try while visiting Korea or making Korean-inspired cuisine. Fruits like magnolia berry and even strawberry are non-native to South Korea but still dominate the Asain culinary cuisine. From things as small as a salad to large meal components like marinades and glazes, incorporating non-native berries and fruits is a large part of Korean cooking.

When trying non-native Korean fruits, remember that they have adopted certain evolutionary functions to help them grow in new environments and survive in Korea. As a result, the strawberries have qualities that make them unique to their region. 

Must-Eat Korean Fruits

There are many delicious fruits in Korea, but none of them compare to the following eleven fruits known for their juiciness and sweetness. The flavorful fruits of Korea make this one of the most popular fruit-bearing regions globally.

The following eleven fruits are the most delicious native and non-native fruits in South Korea that you must eat. If you’re observing a menu at a restaurant and happen to see some peculiar fruits mixed with your meat entree, do not be surprised. Take a look at these fruits, and you will get a better understanding of the many flavors that fruits give.

1. Korean Melon

The Korean melon (Chamoe) is a bright yellow melon found in South Korea. It tastes bitter, like cucumber and honeydew, with a mix of fresh pear. The contrasting flavors make it one of the most versatile fruits. People use them because they are great for both savory and sweet dishes.

Although the fruit originated in India, they are still some of the best Korean fruits. If you are an avid cook, incorporate Korean melons into your cuisine. They are versatile and pair nicely with many foods, from meat entrees to dairy-based desserts.

In addition to pairing the Korean melon with food, this fruit is great for a quick snack, providing you with the necessary nutrients and vitamins to support a healthy lifestyle.

2. Asian Pear

The Asian pear (Bae) is a large, crisp fruit that grows in trees. The golden fruit is popular in Korea, often used as a sweetener or sugar replacement when cooking meat entrees, such as Korean bulgogi. Unlike many fruits, people do not usually bake Asian pears because it has high water content, resulting in over-saturation.

The fruit is ready for harvest between spring and summer. Whether you are visiting Korea or eating imported fruit, this is the best time for consuming the delicious Asian pear. When ripe, people often eat pears by themselves because of their crunchiness and portability. The sweet fruits are easy to transport and even easier to eat.

3. Korean Snow Pear

The Korean snow pear is a native fruit that grows between fall and winter. It is perfect for seasoning meat because of its sweet but tangy flavor. The Korean snow pear has a similar taste to the Asian pear, but it is crispier and juicier.

Korean cooks use the sweetness of the pear juice to extract important meat flavors. It is great for preparing sweeter meats like Korean bulgogi and others. Like the Asian pear, they refrain from baking the pear or doing anything that will introduce extra moisture.

4. Tangerines

Tangerines (Gyul) are a must-eat Korean fruit full of Vitamin D and other vitamins critical to your daily supplement intake. Korean tangerines are typically sold in markets or on the roadside. People may use tangerines in bulk or individually. They typically cost less in bulk but are less convenient to carry if you are on foot, so use discretion when purchasing your fruit.

These fruits are native to Korea and one of the most important fruits too. If you want the best Korean tangerine, try the tangerines from Jeju Island.

5. Hallabong

The hallabong is a Korean fruit native to the esteemed Jeju Island. Hallabong is among the best fruits in Korea and is a must-have for anyone who desires a taste of the Korean lifestyle. Hallabong is a citrus blend, tasting similar to the tangerine or mandarin orange.

Fruits like the hallabong are recognizable worldwide and appreciated for their decadent flavor and culinary versatility. Korean cuisine uses hallabong in many desserts. The sweet flavor gives simple desserts a burst of flavor.

Hallabong is versatile, used in many dishes like meat entrees. It is great for a range of foods primarily because of its citrus kick. Additionally, this sweet and savory fruit can be eaten plainly from the tree where it is harvested.

6. Yuzu

The yuzu is winter citrus with a similar taste to grapefruit and mandarin orange. It is a subspecies of the mandarin orange and a great asset of Korean cuisine. Since it is a citrus fruit, you can use it in any meal and even eat the tree-grown fruit as a snack.

The main way to determine the ripeness of the yuzu is by observing its color. The less green and instead, the oranger the fruit becomes, the riper it is. Allow the yuzu to ripen before eating it.

7. Persimmon

Persimmon is an orange-yellow, tomato-shaped fruit that is a local favorite in Korea. It dominates fruit markets during its harvest season. Many people love this fruit because it is so versatile.

The human body can benefit extraordinarily from cooking with persimmon. There are twice as many dietary fibers in persimmon as there are in apples, making it one of the most nutritious Korean fruits. It is also readily accessible, affordable, and tasty. In addition to being great assets to the diet, persimmon is a versatile cooking ingredient.

You can use persimmon in many different foods to extract various flavors like sweetness, savory, and more. 

8. Honey Apple (사과)

Delicious honey apples (sagwa) are an underrated Korean fruit. They are sweet and crunchy when ripe, with a red and yellow hue. Apples are ready to pick at the beginning of September and end in February because of the cold.

Farmers sell sweet honey apples on roadsides, making it uncommon to eat them. In addition to the roadside, you can also find them in markets. However, fresh-picked honey apples from roadsides are better because they are the most flavorful.

9. Dangyuja

This citrus fruit is a specialty of Jeju Island. It is a rare fruit, with a similar taste the yuzu. Dangyuja is a pomelo that becomes dark yellow as it ripens and is citrusy to the taste. The citrusy taste makes it perfect for seasoning food or adding a dash of flavor while cooking poultry or other meats.

Dangyuja is a reliable ingredient many people use in home remedies like syrups and teas. People use these remedies to cure basic illnesses like sore throats and the common cold. Historical texts claim these delicious descendants of the mandarin orange have been growing on Jeju Island for centuries.

10. Strawberry

Strawberries are a sweet, red fruit ready to harvest at the end of winter. They have a rather long season, beginning at the end of December and stopping in June. Culinary enthusiasts and ordinary people love strawberries because of their sweetness and intense flavor. In Korea, strawberries are a common ingredient in sweets.

Since they are so sweet, many Korean people give these fruits as gifts. To touch the heart of a friend who has recently moved from South Korea (or a friend in South Korea), give them strawberries. The gesture is likely to bring them joy.

11. Magnolia Berry

Magnolia berries (Omija) is a small black and red berry known for its salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and savory flavors. The many contrasting flavors give this fruit the name the five flavor fruit. Magnolia berries are popular because of their versatility. If you are looking for a fruit that can accommodate any type of food, then the magnolia berry is perfect.

It is popular for making omija cha tea, a detoxification drink that promotes positive immune health. The magnolia berry is native to China but still a major part of Korean cuisine. In addition to being great for the immune system, people use it in various Korean dishes.

Conclusion

Korean fruits are delicious, and you can incorporate them into any cuisine. Many vitamins and minerals in fruit make them worth eating regularly. They can boost your immune health and flush the digestive tract naturally.

South Korea produces some of the most delicious citrus fruits globally. They export tangerines and hallabongs, which are cherished worldwide for their juiciness and sweet flavor.

This article explained eleven must-try Korean fruits, including native and several non-native fruits. 

Just because a fruit is not native to Korea does not mean it will not have the same nutritional value as the other native fruits. Native and non-native fruits have significant value in Korea, impacting the culinary realm extensively. All fruits make a major impact on Korean cuisine, whether they are native or not. 

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul over 4 years and during that time, he has experienced a lot of the city's quirks and charms. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others who are interested in learning more about South Korea.

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