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The 4 best Coca-Cola and Korean food pairings!

More and more visitors from across the world are coming to Korea as the time is nearing for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. But, those new to Korea may be concerned about their unfamiliarity with the country and the food. If you happen to be one of them, no worries! Here is some information to help. Coca-Cola Twitter followers picked the top four Korean dishes they would like to recommend to visitors from abroad that make an excellent pairing with Coca-Cola.


▲ A Twitter survey by Coca-Cola Korea 


1. Hollywood favorites: Samgyeopsal and Galbi jjim


"Koreans are genius." "The best taste you can get from meat." "It's a blessing to have tasted this food." These are praises made by visitors from overseas in Korea after trying samgyeopsal for the first time. For sure, samgyeopsal is tasty enough to rightfully deserve such praises. Samgyeopsal is grilled pork belly, a both meaty and fatty cut of the pork. Once bitten, the meat lets off delicious and flavorful juice in the mouth. In fact, Mark Ruffalo, cast of Hollywood movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was partly filmed in Korea, shared in social media how they had an amazingly tasty samgyeopsal experience in 2015. It goes without saying that samgyeopsal pairs greatly with a chill, refreshing glass of Coca-Cola.

It will be also worth trying cooking samgyeopsal with garlic, kimchi and mushroom on the grill, wrap everything on a sheet of fresh leafy vegetable and eat. I remember being surprised to see my foreign friends liking ssamjang so much, a spicy paste that is often served with samgyeopsal. Some of them even requested me later to send ssamjang to their home, saying that they missed it so much. (So, I recommend you now to leave enough room in your luggage to carry ssamjang back home!)


While samgyeopsal is a grilled favorite, galbi jjim is meat cooked in a pot. Galbi jjim is another thumbed-up Korean dish by many foreign visitors, who love its soft meat as well as its sweet and salty taste, which can be addictive. Ingredients like chestnuts, pine nuts and jujube contribute to the deep flavors of galbi jjim, which will make emptying a bowl of rice so easy. Of course, Coca-Cola completes the taste with its refreshing finish when paired with galbi jjim. A spicy version of galbi jjim has become popular in Korea recently. However, for foreigners who are not used to spicy food, I recommend trying classic galbi jjim first.


2. The Korean soul food: Fried chicken + Coke 


You cannot talk about Korean’s favorite food without mentioning fried chicken. Fried chicken is so adored by Koreans that it is even referred to as the ‘soul food’ of Korean people. Especially when there is any sport event, being the Olympics or the World Cup, it has become almost a ritual for friends and family to gather in front of the TV and enjoy fried chicken and Coca-Cola. This combination has become an important part of Korea’s spectating sport culture. One can say that fried chicken and Coca-Cola have in common that they bring people together as one.

Foreign visitors are often surprised to see that there are so many different versions of fried chicken in Korea—from classic to sweet and spicy to rich garlic-infused flavor. What surprises them even more is that they can have it all by ordering it "half-and-half" to enjoy two flavors at the price of one portion. Sweet and spicy-flavored fried chicken is the one foreign visitors in Korea find most interesting and tasty. I have even spotted some foreigners, sweeping bottles of sweet and spicy sauce in Korean supermarkets, fascinated by its taste!


3. Korean’s favorite snack: Tteokbokki


Tteokbokki is one of Korea's most common street foods. It’s spicy and sweet, and has a chewy texture. Tteokbokki is served in very different styles and tastes depending on restaurants. Some restaurants make it so hot that it almost numbs your lips, while others offer a moderately spicy or even sweet tteokbokki. There are many Tteokbokki options people can enjoy, for example, those who do not favor spicy food may try fusion-style tteokbokki featuring carbonara cream sauce, soy sauce or chunjang.  

If you are traveling with a spirit to challenge exotic food, trying the alarmingly hot tteokbokki will be an unforgettable experience. Not only tteokbokki's flavor but also its chewy texture could feel unfamiliar to many foreigners at first. That unfamiliarity, however, can be easily compensated with the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola, which can be found wherever you go.


4. Traditional and healthy: bibimbap


Some countries use bread as a base and top it with various ingredients to make dishes like pizza and hamburger. Koreans mix steamed rice with meat and varied seasoned vegetables. It’s called bibimbap. Bibimbap is one of the most well-known traditional Korean dishes, especially for its nutritiousness. Different ingredients harmonize together to make the both colorful and delicious dish. Bibimbap is a typical Korean food that I can confidently recommend to foreigners trying Korean food first time. Many world-famous celebrities are known to be bibimbap lovers, too. Mixing the ingredients well and then scooping and eating mouthful of bibimbap with a spoon are essential parts of the experience.

Therefore, even if you are not used to eating with a spoon, give it a try.  Koreans usually put gochujang, spicy chili paste, in their bibimbap. However, if spiciness is not your thing, remember that bibimbap tastes just as good with only some soy sauce or no sauce at all. In fact, many prefer those ways for the light taste and emphasis on individual ingredients. So, Taste the Feeling!


* You can read the Korean version of this content here: “어서 와, 한국은 처음이지? 코카-콜라 트친들이 추천하는 코카-콜라 궁합 BEST 한국 음식 4”