Korean markets offer up a great range of spices, starches, oil and flavorings to create new and exciting meals!

By Amy Barnes
Photo by Chef John

A Korean market is full of interesting spices and vegetables, smells and tastes, sauces and marinades, cookies and fruits. Navigating the aisles may seem overwhelming with a wide range of international foods.

To get started in a Korean market with some simple recipe ingredients, add these nine Korean market staples to your pantry. From kimchi to gojuchang, you'll find everything from new tastes to ways of adapting old favorites like short ribs to new options like kimchi rice or bulgogi. By shopping at your Korean market, you'll find a broad range of authentic options to bring Korean flavor to your dinner table in entrees and sides.

Kicking It With Kimchi

Kimchi (pickled cabbage) is a great Korean market staple. Add it soups and top with the spicy condiment. that brings a special flavor to everything from eggs to casseroles. Add kimchi to this Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap) for a yummy, filling dinner.


Enjoy a Red Letter Red Pepper Flake Day

One of the easiest Korean pantry staples to add is red pepper flakes (Gochugaru). Follow a recipe like this Korean Cucumber Salad as a fun side or create this fire-y Korean Fried Chicken Sauce to dip or coat proteins. See how to make Chef John's Korean fried chicken sauce:

Go Get Some Gochujang

Gochujang or (hot red pepper paste) adds flavor to Kalbi (Korean BBQ Short Ribs) while this Korean Spicy Chicken and Potato (Tak Toritang) combines chicken with veggies plus sugar to balance the heat. Pick up this versatile condiment and spice up dinner!

Photo by Danielle Velic

Take a Trip to Sesame Oil Street

The distinctive taste and smell of sesame oil is another Korean staple for cooking. These Korean Egg Roll Triangles or Yaki-mon-do comes to Allrecipes as a family favorite, mom-created recipe. This Refreshing Korean Cucumber Salad is a light side marinated in versatile sesame oil.


Use Your Noodles

Explore Korean noodle favorites with this Yummy Korean Glass Noodles (Jap Chae) dish that combines sweet potato vermicelli (jap-chae) with soy sauce, sesame seeds and brown sugar sweetness or try Korean Take Take-Out Rice Noodles (Vegan). Add as sides to your favorite protein and you've got a complete meal.

Buckwheat Queen

Rice, Rice Baby

Rice is an important part of many cultures. Korean markets have a wide range of rice options to make dishes like this Vegetarian Bipimbap, a homey side that adds matchstick veggies to rice with Korean staples like sesame oil and bean sprouts to rice -- all topped with a fried egg. See how to make vegetarian bipimbap:

Soy Sauce to the Rescue

Soy sauce is a great ingredient Korean market staple with many options in color and depth of flavor. There are few compliments higher than "just like her Korean mom makes." This highly-ranked Beef Bulgolgi recipe combines soy sauce tang with white sugar, sesame oil and garlic to flavor flank steak.

Beef Bulgogi

To Who? Tofu?

Packaged soon (soft tofu) is a Korean market base for recipes ranging from soups to entrees. This Korean Soft Tofu Stew (Soon du Bu Jigae) combines many market staples (Korean soy bean paste and chili powder) and tofu to create a vibrant soup with interesting textures.

Korean Soft Tofu Stew | Photo by Hungry Gopher

Top With Bonny Bonito

With their kimchi base ingredient, these Kimchi Pancakes also bring in another Korean market staple in an approachable way. Add complimentary Korean market staple, dried fish (bonito flakes) to the top of the pancakes with veggies for a great, quick lunch or appetizer.

Check out our collection of Korean Recipes.