To explore South Korea’s current travel trends, Mariam traveled to South Korea and experienced its highlights. Rich in culture and lasting traditions, South Korea’s culture is truly unique and worth experiencing. To make most of a trip to South Korea, Mariam explains the best ways to discover Korean culture.
- It is often said that food is one of the best ways to take a glimpse into local culture. What was your most memorable dining experience throughout the whole trip?
One of my favorite dining experiences was at Boreumsoei, a Michelin Star restaurant, where I had the internationally beloved Korean BBQ. In the restaurant, my favorite dish was the beef tartare, called Yukhoe (literally meaning Meat Sashimi). Many foreigners might have concerns consuming raw meat, but that is why the dish is always prepared with the freshest high-quality meat. The meat bursts out a wide array of flavors from nutty to sweet as soon as you bite into its tender pieces. It’s truly a unique dish to try out.
The restaurant also provides you with different side dishes called banchan. From seasoned herbs to diverse Kimchi dishes, the side dishes not only complements the deliciousness of the entrée but also provides a good look into Korean cuisine.
The beef tartare and side dishes really exemplify the Korea’s high value of every meal. You can really experience a sense of bonding (or Jeong as Koreans call it) through the amount of care and effort put in every dish. Furthermore, the use of the freshest ingredients and provision of endless side dishes shows why Korean cuisine is becoming one of the most beloved cuisines in the world.
- Because of its long history and rich cultures, it might be hard for travelers to truly get a grasp into local culture. Any recommendations for tourists to truly experience South Korean tradition and culture?
My first recommendation is to visit one of the many Hanok Villages in Korea. Hanok Villages are well-preserved villages with traditional architecture and infrastructure dating back more than 600 years. Here, you can discover traditional Korean lifestyle and really learn how much of these practices have either been replaced or still endure.
My second recommendation is to visit one of South Korea’s historical temples. Although Buddhism only takes up 20% of the country’s population, much of South Korea’s history, values and culture were found in Buddhism. This long history still lives on through the preserved temples and practicing monks.
In these temples, visitors can discover unique experiences. One of these experiences is a temple stay, where visitors can stay a night at a temple living like the monks. They will dress in uniforms, eat with the monks and follow their schedules. People of all religions take this opportunity to learn new perspectives, grow in cultural understanding and find a deeper appreciation in life. Lastly, visitors can also learn to make lotus leaves, write traditional calligraphy and bead bracelets.
From countless mouthwatering dishes to memorable cultural experiences, Mariam was able to get an in-depth look into South Korea’s culture. Once visitors experience the country’s lively and rich culture, they will begin to understand why phenomena such as K-pop, K-drama and even its cuisine are becoming an international sensation. To experience this culture, check out our South Korea tours!