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The 12 Most Popular Foods Koreans Eat For Breakfast

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Here are the 12 foods Koreans eat for breakfast.

Korean breakfast varies for everyone. When I first visited Korea, there were many options to choose from. Some studies have shown that the majority of Koreans eat white rice with banchan. It’s plain white rice with side dishes like kimchi and bean sprouts.

This breakfast is very easy to make and fills you up. So, for the last couple of years, I’ve been eating rice with banchan. If you have never tried it before, try making it at home. It’s very easy and fast. You could add other side dishes like cucumber or even fried pork. It’s really up to you what you like. 

Here are the 12 foods Koreans eat for breakfast. 

1. White Rice with Banchan

White rice with banchan is very popular in Korea, and it’s a traditional food people ate back in the days. It’s carrying over from their grandparents to the grandkids. Breakfast in Korea has become more modern, and nowadays, people eat almost everything.

There’s no exact recipe or meal that everyone eats for breakfast since everyone has a different taste. Luckily white rice with banchan is still a very popular Korean breakfast and great to try it yourself. The meal is very easy to make and can also be eaten for lunch or dinner.

Banchan are basically side dishes like beansprouts and kimchi that you eat with plain rice. It’s even better with some sesame oil.

2. Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Diet

Kimchi fried rice is one of those dishes that everyone has heard of and tried before. Kimchi fried rice is very easy to make, and many people love it. Especially the younger generation eats lots of kimchi fried rice since you can make it to your own taste.

What I really like about this breakfast is that you eat a warm meal and it’s very fast to make. It takes less than 10 minutes, plus you can even eat some meat into the fried rice.

Most people that eat kimchi fried rice are often the ones that don’t have much time. A quick 10 to 15-minute breakfast, and they’re going to work.

3. Instant Ramen Noodles

Instant noodles are extremely popular worldwide. Not only Koreans are eating this for breakfast, but many people worldwide too. It’s easy, fast, and delicious. It might not be the healthiest breakfast, and it’s still very good.

Many Koreans often eat instant ramen noodles as a snack at night. You don’t really see many Koreans eat instant ramen noodles as breakfast. It’s not the healthiest, and Koreans are known to eat healthy meals for breakfast.

Almost everyone has eaten instant noodles for breakfast because it’s easy but keep in mind not to always do this. Eating too many packs of noodles can make you gain lots of weight, so avoid trying to track your food intake throughout the day.

4. Samgyeopsal with Lettuce and Kimchi

This Korean breakfast isn’t what you see every day, but still, some people eat samgyeopsal for breakfast. Samgyeopsal is basically small slices of pork that you eat with lettuce, kimchi, and garlic. It’s very popular in Korea because it’s delicious.

These kinds of breakfasts you don’t often see because it’s not the healthiest, but there are few people eating these for breakfast. It’s easy, and you only have to grill the meat to get it done.

Normally people would eat samgyeopsal in the evening after a night of hard work with some soju. This breakfast isn’t a traditional meal since you can literally eat this anywhere in the world.

5. Bulgogi with Rice

Bulgogi is seasoned beef, and it’s often eaten with rice. Bulgogi is great if you don’t have much time in the mornings. It’s easy to make, and these days you can order it from an app. Within 10 minutes, it’s often delivered to your home, and there’s your breakfast.

It’s a very popular Korean dish and popular amongst all generations. If you hadn’t heard about bulgogi before and never tasted it. I highly recommend you do it since it’s very good and easy to make yourself.

Bulgogi is often ordered in Korean barbecue restaurants, but some people eat it for breakfast.

6. Seaweed Soup

Seaweed soup is very popular in Korea, and it’s very easy to make a Korean breakfast. A fact that you might not know, seaweed soup is often eaten when it’s someone’s birthday. What I really like about the seaweed soup as breakfast is that you can mix it with rice.

This is a traditional Korean breakfast, and you can put other ingredients in if you like that. Many of my Korean friends are eating seaweed soup almost every week for breakfast.

The soup is easy, and if you’ve never had seaweed soup in the morning, I highly recommend you trying it because it’s mind-blowing how good it is.

7. Bibimbap

Bibimbap is great for breakfast, it’s easy to make, and it’s healthy. I’ve been eating it mostly for lunch, but it’s also great to eat as breakfast. Many Koreans eat bibimbap, and it’s very popular in Seoul. You can find bibimbap in almost every street, and you can add other ingredients to your taste which makes it even better.

There are many ways to making bibimbap. The easiest way to do this is to cook some rice. Put it in a bowl with some vegetables on top, and don’t forget to add sesame oil. Sesame oil is great if you mix it with rice.

Other ingredients like spicy sauces can also be added to bibimbap. Spicy Korean food is very popular in Korea, especially bibimbap.

8. Jajangmyeon (Black Bean Noodles)

Jajangmyeon is black bean sauce noodles with some pickles on the side. Most people order jajangmyeon for taking away, and it’s easy, fast, and great for breakfast. It might not be the best breakfast if you’re on a diet or looking to lose weight.

There are many ways to making jajangmyeon at home, and there are even instant jajangmyeon noodles if you don’t want to cook. However, cooking jajangmyeon in the morning for breakfast is very delicious. 

The only ingredients you need are noodles, black bean sauce, cucumber, and some pork if you like that. That’s literally all you need. As you can see, it’s very easy to make, so give it a try if you haven’t already.

9. Kimchi Pancakes

korean pancakes

Kimchi pancakes are pancakes with some kimchi inside. It’s very easy to make if you’ve already made pancakes before. Thousands of households eat kimchi pancakes weekly because it’s healthy and delicious.

Some people even add some meat to the pancakes, but that’s up to you. What’s really good to add as an ingredient in the pancakes are onions or beansprouts. Not many people do this, but it makes it taste even better.

This Korean breakfast is one of the most popular on this list since almost all households have kimchi in-house, and it’s very fast to make.

10. Bean Sprout Soup

Bean sprout is a very underrated breakfast in Korea, and it’s not eaten by many people. However, it is a great breakfast, and it’s great if you add some rice to it. What I really like about bean sprout soup is that you can add some kimchi to make it spicy.

The normal version is mild but making it a bit spicy with kimchi is even more delicious. You can eat this also for lunch and dinner or add bean sprouts as a side dish. 

Try mixing rice in a bowl with bean sprout soup and add some pork slices into the soup.

11. Toast with Fried Eggs

Toast with fried eggs might sound very familiar to you, well you’re correct. It’s nothing special, but still, many Koreans eat toast in the morning with some fried eggs. It’s easy to make and affordable for everyone.

Some people go to bakeries and buy some toast over there because they’re too lazy to make it themselves. There are many french bakeries in Korea, and it’s very affordable to buy bread, toast, and more.

Overseas it’s very normal to eat toast with fried eggs, you don’t see it often in Korea, but still, some people do it.

12. Haejangguk (Korean Hangover Soup)

Haejangguk is made when the person has drunk a lot the previous day. It’s great to get back in shape, and you can see that many people drink Haejangguk or curry in the morning. This helps you recover from the alcohol you drank the previous day.

Lots of people make this every weekend after a Friday night of drinking. It’s very common for people to have some rice and side dishes with Haejjangguk. A couple of months ago, when I was in Korea, I drank this after a night of partying.

It works really well if you have a hangover, you’ll get energized and can get through the day easier. Give it a try if you’ve never tried it before.

What Is The Best Meal for a Korean Breakfast?

The best meal for Korean breakfast is banchan with white rice, and it’s the most popular among all generations. Another plus is that it’s easy to make and fills you so you won’t get hungry. Many people also eat it because it’s very healthy to eat vegetables in the morning.

When I was in Korea, I ate this almost every morning, and I didn’t even get tired of it. The number of side dishes is mind-blowing. Make sure to try it yourself if you ever have the opportunity to visit Korea.


Now that you’ve come to the end of this article, you probably know what breakfast is the best for Koreans. It really depends on how the person lives their lifestyle, and there’s no exact answer on what people eat for breakfast.

Even in other countries, it’s very different for every person. That’s the same in Korea, but we’ve created a list of the 12 most popular Korean breakfasts. There are many traditional Korean breakfast meals like kimchi jjigae or bibimbap.

However, since Korea has become more modern, there’s no exact answer to what people eat for breakfast.

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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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