Homestyle Korean Breakfasts

Korean cuisine has developed over the past many centuries. Originating from ancient agricultural and nomadic traditions in the Korean peninsula and southern Manchuria, Korean cuisine has evolved through a complex interaction of the natural environment and different cultural trends. Ingredients and dishes vary by province, but many regional dishes have become national, and dishes that were once local have proliferated in different variations across the country.

  • 01 of 05

    Korean Cuisine

    Korean traditional dishes
    Henry Hyeongrae Kim / Getty Images

    Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, gochujang (fermented red chili paste), and cabbage.

    Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) is almost always served at every meal. There are endless varieties of kimchi with regional variations, and it is served as a side dish or cooked into soups and rice dishes. Koreans traditionally make enough kimchi to last for the entire winter season, as fermented foods can keep for several years.

  • 02 of 05

    Traditional Full Korean Breakfast

    Full Korean Breakfast

    The Spruce / Naomi Imatome

    A typical Korean breakfast is not that much different than the other meals of the day, except maybe a bit on the lighter side (or with fewer banchan, or side dishes). Rice, a small bowl of soup or stew, and any number of banchan would typically make up the first meal of the day.

    Since a traditional Korean breakfast has rice, soup, meat, and a full array of side dishes, this breakfast includes grilled short ribs (galbi), spicy seafood salad, bean sprout rice (kongnamul bab), spicy stewed fish, cold cucumber soup (oi naengguk), seasoned kelp, and radish strip kimchi (moo saengchae).

  • 03 of 05

    Korean Breakfast With Eggs and Tofu

    Korean Breakfast with Tofu and Omelette

    The Spruce / Naomi Imatome

    This Korean breakfast includes a vegetable omelet, tofu with seasoned soy sauce, rice cooked with red and black beans, radish kimchi (kaktugi), and Korean coleslaw.

  • 04 of 05

    Korean Breakfast Egg Toast Sandwich

    Korean Breakfast Egg Toast Sandwich

    The Spruce / Naomi Imatome

    This Korean breakfast sandwich, sold by street vendors in cities, is commonly called tost-u (toast) or gaeran tost-u (egg toast). It is not that different from an American egg sandwich, but the addition of cabbage and a liberal dusting of brown sugar make it uniquely Korean.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Korean Breakfast With Fruit, Bread, and Eggs

    Korean Breakfast with Eggs and Watermelon

    The Spruce / Naomi Imatome

    Korean people love eggs and they can be served at any meal of the day. This Western-style Korean breakfast has fried eggs, fruit, Japanese-style white bread from a Korean bakery, and some local strawberry butter.

    Although traditionally there is no separate category of “breakfast food” like there is in America, it is now pretty common for Korean people to eat Western foods such as cereal, bread, or pastries for breakfast.