Asian food has become an all-American culinary trend, and Korean food is no exception. The flavor profiles cover all the bases from sour and savory to sweet and spicy, and menu items range from kimchi and bulgogi to barbecue and even tacos. Here are spots across the country worth trying for great Korean food.
Recommended dish: kimchi stew
Kimchi finds its way into the standout dish for Alabama’s So Gong Dong. A brothy, scallion-topped stew punctuated by the tang of kimchi is just what reporter Connor Sheets raved about on Twitter, saying, “I try not to leave Montgomery without eating Korean food. Home to several of the best places for kimchi stew, bibimbap, or hot pot in Alabama.”
Recommended dish: Korean BBQ platter
Fairbanks is home to Seoul Gate Restaurant, an unpretentious spot where beef bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, traditional BBQ platters, and crispy, fried chicken are served in large portions. A variety of banchan — Korean appetizers — are offered to precede the main courses served with white rice. In addition, the restaurant offers Japanese sushi, some familiar Chinese appetizers, and economical lunch boxes and luncheon specials of their best-selling items.
Recommended dish: Korean fried chicken
Bonchon does chicken right, according to customers. Korean fried chicken is the menu star, and this twice-fried delicacy is served with a choice of soy garlic, spicy, or half-and-half. It comes with a complimentary side of pickled radish or coleslaw. Also,the spicy chicken or marinated ribeye Korean tacos on flour tortillas with lettuce, coleslaw, buttermilk ranch, spicy mayo, and red onions are worth trying.
Recommended dish: pah jeon
There are few Korean options in Arkansas, but the female-owned ArkanSeoul is a rising star and boasts a stylish dining room, large portions, and an addictive standout dish — pah jeon, a scallion pancake traditionally served with a bowl of rice wine. The homemade pah jeon is made with assorted vegetables and is golden on top, crisp on the outer edges, and has a soft and chewy center. Other dishes like modum dosirak, kimchi bokkeum bap, and vegetable mandu are local favorites.
Recommended dish: Prime Combo (for 3-6 people)
Stylish and modern, Chosun Galbee in Los Angeles’ Koreatown district is famous for family-sized meals like the Prime Combo. A platter of prime short rib, prime rib eye, bulgogi, and prime brisket comes with rice, soup, kimchi, doenjang (fermented soybean paste), or cold noodle sides. Cook the meat yourself on a center grill in the middle of the table. Even better, a bottle of soju or beer is part of the deal.
Recommended dish: bee beem bhop
Chef Joe is a Triple D favorite — Guy Fieri raved about his fresh take on Korean food. “Dae Gee” means pig, and the pork is fierce with the unlimited BBQ platter. But the lucky locals order the bee beem bhop, a flavor overload. Steamed rice is topped by your choice of meat, with spinach, bean sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, radish, cabbage, carrot, seaweed, butter, sesame seeds, a fried egg (sunny side up), and sesame oil served in a bowl or hot stone pot with a side of gochujang sauce.
Recommended dish: La Galbi
“Seoul BBQ is one of the best Korean restaurants in Connecticut,” says Melissa Collins, founder of Perfect Brew. “It is located on the island of New Britain and is open for dine-in and takeaway services. The restaurant has a huge following and an unmatched taste when it comes to Korean cuisine. Don’t get fooled by the name, as it not only offers BBQ but loads of other items as well. The standout dish is La Galbi, a marinated short-rib.”
Recommended dish: Ssam Board
Chef Danny Lee’s standout Korean dish from his restaurant, Anju, is the Ssam Board, a dish of seared galbi, seasonal greens, and roasted garlic ssamjang. Lee says, “[It] views Korean BBQ from a different lens. The board features marinated prime short rib (galbi) sharing a platter with butter lettuce, sesame leaves, pickled radish, roasted garlic, and an assortment of herbs and sauces.”
Recommended dish: tteokbokki
This Delaware spot serves up many Korean classics for those looking for authentic Korean food. The standout, tteokbokki, is a sweet and spicy Korean street food with a rich, umami seafood base. It’s a classic snack with many menu protein variations at Kalbi and features a rice cake with vegetables and a boiled egg, all of it served in spicy gochujang sauce. Every entree comes with small side dishes called banchan, which are meant to be eaten with these savory meals.
Recommended dish: bulgogi pork
Central Florida lucked out with the popular authentic Korean restaurant Shinjung. The succulent bulgogi pork has won hearts since 1993. Bulgogi, which translates to “fire meat,” is a “gui” (grilled dish) made with thin, marinated slices of pork grilled on a barbecue fire and served with a spicy sauce. The sides are classic rice, kimchi, and other banchan, or tasty tidbits to eat with the main meal.
Recommended dish: Korean-style noodles
There are many affordable noodle dishes to be found at Dan Moo Ji. The vast menu has a noodle section that reviewers adore. Order from a wide selection that includes JjolMyun, fishcake udon, Jjahm Pong udon, and fried seafood udon. The latter is a thick-noodle seafood soup loaded with squid, shrimp, and mussels topped with seaweed, sesame, and fried, crunchy batter. There’s the addictive JjolMyun, a cold, chewy noodle dish made with vegetables and sweet, spicy sauce for those sweltering Georgia days.
Recommended dish: Confit Pork Belly Brulee
Aloha to Honolulu’s popular O’Kims, where Confit Pork Belly Brulee is a top seller. Tender confit pork belly is cooked with miso sauce, apple ginger jam, sesame leaves, purple rice, and served with a green salad and house-made kimchi. Need something more portable to take to the beach? Opt for the deep-fried chicken with gochujang sauce or house-made gnocchi nuts served with purple rice, green salad, and kimchi.
Recommended dish: bulgogi burrito
Boise, Idaho is a growing city bustling with Californian newcomers used to great Korean food. An exceptional street food restaurant is Koco Bell, which serves a portable twist on bulgogi in a ready-to-eat, handheld burrito. The wrap is stuffed with a layer of rice covered with freshly-cooked pork chunks, red and green peppers, onions, and bean sprouts. It comes with kimchi and pickled yellow radish, with customers raving about the right amount of spiciness and umami in the sauce.
Recommended dish: Bing Bread
Chicago’s most beloved Korean-American Restaurant is Parachute. Chef Beverly Kim and her husband John use their Korean, American, and midwestern backgrounds to make dishes like a tasty stone-pot bibimbap and a mixed rice bowl with a soft egg on top. Still, diners rave about the addictive bacon, potato, and scallion-filled Bing Bread served with salt and butter. Currently, the restaurant ships food (including Bing Bread) via Goldbelly as they renovate the restaurant.
Recommended dish: beef and vegetable dumplings
Kim & Bab offers a broad menu, all affordably priced, with thirst-quenching boba, inventive bulgogi rolls, and Bimi Bap and sides. Try the crispy and chewy platter of dumplings made with tender beef and vegetables. The restaurant is also very responsive to the happy customers who visit its page on Facebook.
Recommended dish: bibimbap
Pretty to gaze upon and even better to eat is bibimbap, and Onnuri Korean BBQ offers an outstanding version. This dish is a master class in eating your colors with julienned vegetables, rice, and the picked bits and meat served in one convenient bowl. Bibimbap can be served cold in the summer or hot in the winter with the dish’s heat cooking the egg on top, usually served with a side of gochujang for kick and spice.
Recommended dish: pancake sampler
Kansas is solidly beef country, but vegans and vegetarians love Seoul USA Kitchen. This female-owned restaurant gets high marks for value and overall service. It serves up all the Korean home-cooked classics, including the fun pancake sampler. Also offered are mung bean, tofu, lotus root, and zucchini pancakes, a savory, crispy-chewy, and tender way to enjoy your vegetables.
Recommended dish: dae ji bulgogi
At Riverside Korean, Chef Bruce Kim offers an elegant and authentic Korean dining experience with Korean-style floor tables and traditional seating. Dae ji bulgogi is one of many standout dishes showing a flair for meat and vegetable combination dishes. Dae ji is a spicy, marinated, thinly-sliced pork that is stir-fried with vegetables and garnished with toasted sesame.
Recommended dish: hot seafood noodle soup
Little Korea BBQ delivers solid service and low prices in New Orleans. The meal in a bowl to try is the hot seafood noodle soup, which combines the bounty of the Gulf and delicious noodles cooked in a savory, spicy broth. The restaurant claims to be the only authentic Korean restaurant in NOLA. Unfortunately, hurricane Ida has altered the hours of operation, so go online before you go.
Recommended dish: Budae-Jjigae
This family-owned spot in Maine serves a unique dish: Budae-Jjigae (Army Stew). Post-war impoverishment led to this recipe for a savory, all-in-one, spicy dish made with ham, sausage, bacon, and kimchi. The owners of Korean Dad say this dish was created after the Korean War using surplus foods from U.S. military bases in Korea. Although the dish was born out of necessity, it remains popular.
Recommended dish: Super Seafood Hot Pot
Maryland has an abundance of crabs and seafood, and George’s Hot Pot delivers the beloved “you cook it” feast, Korean style, with loads of seafood options. Add to that all the popular and highly rated and reviewed Korean barbecue that flies out the door and the well-reviewed Peking duck recipe done with a Korean-spice flair.
Recommended dish: scallion pancake
This Cambridge spot has an extensive menu of vegetarian dishes, and tofu options and heartier bibim bob or dupbob are noted in many write-ups. The scallion pancake and the seafood pancake are popular choices in this small, tucked-away restaurant inside the restored hundred-year-old landmark, Art Deco Porter Square Exchange.
Recommended dish: bulgogi
Since 2001, Bewon has become known for its thoughtful and authentic traditional Korean menu. Favorite dishes include bulgogi, a Korean classic made with slices of charbroiled beef rib-eye, marinated in a soy-based sauce and served with an array of colorful vegetables. Diners can also opt for surf and turf and order their famous Hae Mul Tang, a soup made with ocean perch, squid, shrimp, crab, tofu, and fresh vegetables.
Recommended dish: bulgogi bibimbap
Mary Quinn McCallum of Field Guide recommends St. Paul’s Bap and Chicken. “The owner, John Gleason, calls this his standout dish, the bulgogi bibimbap. Tender, marinated steak with house-made kimchi, sesame mushrooms, brie cheese, and a soft egg. This is served over kombu rice and with house-made Korean BBQ sauce. The brie cheese melts wonderfully into the steak and rice, and the spicy, crunchy kimchi contrasts perfectly with the tender steak and mushrooms. A truly delicious dish.”
Recommended dish: Dak Gal Bee
Vegetarian-friendly R&C has gained a reputation for homestyle food, super service, and a comprehensive menu. Dak Gal Bee is a riff on the classic Korean stir-fry chicken dish dak galbi, and it is a tasty, pan-sauteed chicken and steak dish served on top of cabbage and served with assorted banchan sides.
Recommended dish: Beef Bulgogi Box
New to Korean food? Sides of Seoul’s popular boxes are chicken or beef, with the compartments arranging all the fixings for a proper meal. Soy sauce or spicy marinated beef comes with crispy stir-fried vegetables, rice, house-made kimchi, and banchan side dishes. Order the Kimbop as an appetizer. The addictive roll is made with crab, egg, spinach, carrot, and sweet pickled radish rolled on a bed of rice and seaweed.
Recommended dish: bibimbap
In Montana, you have to wait until Wednesday and Thursday for the highly reviewed and rated special bibimbap that is crowned with a perfectly-cooked, soft, sunny-side-up egg. This is a classic Korean one-bowl meal, as the Oaks’ bibimbap is a visually stunning and healthy dish served with the protein of your choice and rice plus stir-fried and pickled vegetables.
Recommended dish: beef rib kalbi
Nan Hui runs the Korean House. She knows that Nebraska is also beef country, and the beef ribs served Korean style at her restaurant come with steamed rice and side dishes (banchan). Nan moved to America from Seoul, South Korea, in 1984. With the help of her friend Ji, their unpretentious Bellevue spot has earned a reputation for flavor, service, and value.
Recommended dish: seolleongtang
Soup (tang) is high art in Korean cooking. Food critic Caleb Chen knows his Korean favorites can be found in Tang Tang Tang. He says, “Seolleongtang is a Korean comfort food classic traditionally eaten for breakfast; this ox bone soup may taste muted at first, but everything comes together once it is seasoned to taste with provided salt, pepper, kimchi, and fresh-cut green scallions. This is bone broth at its best.”
Recommended dish: kimchi pancake
Sue’s has been serving Korean for 30+ years, and the kimchi pancake is a staple menu item and a perennial bestseller. Crispy and savory, the pan-fried exterior yields a chewy, soft interior that is a flavor punch, with kimchi, onion, and scallions mixed. The pancake is served with a dipping sauce for a satisfying light meal or a snack. Make sure to try the hot Korean barley tea too.
Recommended dish: japchae
While Bonchon is a chain, the flagship restaurant is found in New Jersey. Flynn Dekker, CEO of Bonchon says: “Our signature fried chicken is not just my favorite item on the menu, but it is nationally recognized and is our number one selling menu item. It’s no secret that our unique process of double-frying the chicken and hand-brushing our signature soy garlic and spicy sauces is what makes this chicken so amazing.” Another top seller is japchae. “Japchae is another best-seller, a savory mix of marinated rib-eye, glass noodles, and sauteed vegetables with our soy garlic sauce and sesame oil,” he adds.
Recommended dish: bulgogi tostada
In New Mexico, Korean restaurant Asian Pear fuses some local flavors that are simpatico to the Korean palate and cuisine ethos. As a result, Korean and Mexican fusion menu items are a colorful explosion of flavor. For example, the bulgogi tostadas come with shredded cabbage, diced spicy peppers, scallions, and marinated beef on top of a traditional, crispy tostada. Again, this shows how complementary the two cuisines are sitting together on the plate.
New York City
Recommended dish: Busan Neighborhood Pancake
Yoon Haeundae Galbi is owned by third-generation restaurateur Bobby Yoon, whose Busan-born grandfather created the Diamond Cut technique for short ribs (galbi) called the Haeundae Cut. “My grandfather created this cut. Historically, the short rib (galbi) was very chewy and too fibrous to eat, the least wanted part of the BBQ. The Haeundae Cut revolutionized prep, netting a tender, flavorful cut with more surface area that helps in the marinating and dry-aging processes.” Bobby’s bestseller is the Busan Neighborhood Pancake. “It represents my hometown’s style of food in South Korea, with scallion and egg mixture topped with galbi and shrimp.”
Recommended dish: classic Korean BBQ
Classic Korean BBQ is a savory beef entrée garnished with scallions, top seller at Choi’s, This family-owned spot has earned repeat business for serving this popular dish. The reviews note the friendly service, excellent food, and convenience of the restaurant’s well-stocked fresh food market.
Recommended dish: Korean beef noodles
Noodles and more noodles are the standouts for Bismarck’s Korean-food spot. Unfortunately, North Dakota is not a Korean-food-rich environment, so Noodlezip is an Asian fusion spot with a mosh of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean elements. The Asian noodle dishes have some Korean broth elements, but if you love Korean, head to South Dakota.
Recommended dish: tableside bulgogi
Korea House tops many food reviewer lists and is consistently voted the best Korean restaurant in Cleveland. A hub for the city’s AsiaTown neighborhood. Their banchan, bibimbap, and family-style specials, including the popular tableside bulgogi, are made by chef Heejung Gumbs. The chef also worked with Cleveland Kitchen to develop the new Cleveland Classic Kimchi. Thanks to his entrepreneurial effort, the Korea House restaurant specialty is available to order anywhere across the country.
Recommended dish: udon
Seoul Bistro is an unpretentious, modern, and bright Korean kitchen-style eatery offering the go-to BBQ meat dishes and Korean classics in this highly rated and well-reviewed spot. The standout dish includes a Korean twist on udon, a popular, chewier noodle is a proper meal in a bowl, with a choice of protein and Korean-style vegetables. Also, make sure to order the famous veggie pancake, which comes to the table sliced pizza-style for sharing.
Recommended dish: galbitang
One Korean Restaurant is a casual and modern spot where old-school Korean cooking is served up for eager patrons. The outstanding galbitang is a savory go-to soup and meal for a chilly Pacific Northwest day made with glass noodles, a rich beef broth, and Korean vegetables.
Recommended dish: galbi tang
Wellness chef Lori Bogedin recommends Philadelphia’s Seorabol Center City for Korean food. “Chef Cho’s popular restaurant in Philadelphia’s small-town Olney is known for having a diverse range of contemporary and modern dishes. The most popular dish is the galbi tang, which is the signature beef short rib soup. The meat is soft and tender, and the soup has a little sweetness to complement the salty meat. It is a must-try for any Korean lover.”
Recommended dish: beef juk
Rhode Island has a seafood abundance, and Wok & Pot takes advantage of it. But meat lovers will appreciate the standout hot pot dish, beef juk. This rich, creamy, Korean porridge is an unusual dish with seasoned beef, onions, carrots, and mushrooms. Make sure to order their popular japchae, stir-fried glass noodles, and vegetables seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil.
Recommended dish: spicy fried chicken
Bulgogi Korean Grill does classic Korean meals and appetizers to rave for the restaurant’s friendly, homestyle cooking and service. Noted frequently is the Korean spicy fried chicken, served with assorted banchan.
Recommended dish: beef udon
The Dakotas are pretty sparse for Asian restaurants, but Kang San is rocking great reviews thanks to the chef’s beef udon and other classics like spicy shrimp and noodles. Kang San fans rave about the homestyle Korean food served in generous portions with friendly and attentive service. Make sure to check the daily specials, too.
Recommended dish: dolsotbap
Seoul Garden’s standout is the dolsotbap, which is made of mixed vegetables, beef, and rice served in hot stoneware to cook the ingredients to your order. All dishes are served with a colorful array of banchan, including kimchi and other tasty Korean sides, plus rice and soup. Make sure to order the Korean barley tea or sake. Some other favorite dishes are bibimbop, jibjab, and riblets, and all meals end with a sliced orange for dessert.
Recommended dish: kimchi pancake
San Antonio’s Seoul Asian Market is a one-stop-shop for Korean culture and community. This is a full-service Asian market along with an attached cafe serving Korean dishes. The standout kimchi pancake is a bestseller for its crispy and chewy texture with savory and sour notes. Combine the trip for a sit-down meal and an Asian pantry stock-up at the same time.
Recommended dish: Mandoo Bop
Cupbop is authentic Korean BBQ created by three Korean immigrants who came to Utah, and their chain is proliferating out West. Mandoo Bop is a blend of everything crispy, fried, slurpy, and spicy, and the dumplings have an addictive ginger note. All the bowls come with fluffy white rice, a layer of crisp lettuce, delicate sweet potato noodles, and your choice of beef, pork, chicken, mandoo, or their house tofu kimchi.
Recommended dish: Kim Chee soup
Asiana House is a proper fusion spot boasting Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai dishes. Their menu is dotted with Korean staples like bulgogi, bibimbap, and the creatively-spelled Kim Chee soup. Korean hot and sour with kimchi, tofu, mushroom, and scallion is just what the doctor ordered after a snowy day or night out when the temperature plummets. This soup is served with rice or noodles.
Recommended dish: fried dumplings
Melissa Collinsof the PerfectBrew says, “Yechon is one of the most renowned Korean restaurants in the state. The menu is full of various Korean dishes, including pork belly, different types of soups, BBQ, and more. If you’re planning to go, we recommend you get a reservation first because sometimes you have to wait for hours, as the place can be fully occupied. The standout dish is their version of fried dumplings.”
Recommended dish: bibimbap
This place has the best bibimbap around, say fans of YunGaNe. There are four kinds to choose from, all cooked in a traditional stone pot cooked and served with pickled appetizers. Bibimbap is bulgogi with seasoned bean sprouts, carrots, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, gochujang, and a fried egg. Make sure to order the house tea, too.
Recommended dish: kimchi grilled cheese with pork belly
At The Green Pineapple, unctuous and decadent pork belly is paired with kimchi and melty cheese tang in a sandwich that melds American standards with Korean flavors. The entire menu in this Korean restaurant tweaks the old country classics and adds a familiar framework — either in sandwiches or tacos — to deliver authentic Korean flavors.
Recommended dish: spiny pork
Asiana Korean serves all the Korean-food greatest hits, but the dish everyone seems to know about is spiny pork. Spiny pork is marinated spicy pork, which is stir-fried with onion, scallion, carrot, snow peas, and pepper sauce. The restaurant gets high marks for friendly service, an extensive and creative cocktail bar, and many appetizers to accompany.
Recommended dish: spicy pork plate
Bapp serves fresh and savory food in an area where people work up an appetite from skiing, hiking, and exploring the nearby Teton Mountains. The standouts include the spicy pork plate, which is savory, smokey and served on purple rice with a side of orange slices and cucumber kimchi for a citrusy, sweet and vinegary tang to complement the rich meat.