Eat Korean Food on a Low-Carb Diet

Mom and daughter eating Korean dinner
Images By Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images

There are so many Korean dishes to choose from that do not include rice or noodles, that it would seem easy to cut out carbs while eating Korean food. But I know a few Korean people who have tried a South Beach or Atkins type diet, and they have found it difficult to go without a bowl of rice or noodles while enjoying the strong spicy, salty, or sour flavors in Korean food. I’ve put together a list of the top three ways to eat low-carb Korean meals, which can be so delicious that you don’t feel...MORE like you’re missing a thing.

  • 01 of 03

    Use Low Carb Tofu Noodles

    Tofu Noodles
    House Foods America

    These Japanese noodles are almost too good to be true, as they are both low in calories AND low in carbohydrates. Made from Japanese yam and tofu, they have only 20 calories per serving and are delicious in everything from soups to stir-fries. I've never used them in place of pasta for Italian or American dishes (I'm not sure if their texture would make them good replacements), but I have used them for Korean and Japanese noodle dishes and I'm now a big fan. You can order...MORE them online, probably at your local Asian market, or at select stores nationwide.

    You can use them in:


  • 02 of 03
    mccun934/Getty Images

    Most Korean marinades contain sugar, honey, or fruit juice, which all help to make the meat tender and delicious. Not helpful, however, if you're on a low-carb diet. Instead of the sugar, you can use 3 Tbsp of a sweetener like Splenda. If you're like me and you can detect an aftertaste in sugar substitutes, then I suggest Smart Sweet Xylitol. It's an all-natural sweetener that has no carbs or aftertaste, and its only downside is that it's a bit expensive.

    Once you make the...MORE marinade, you can use it on beef, chicken, and pork. You can do everything from chicken drumsticks to bulgogi to shish kebabs to a grilled steak salad. Although this marinade is meant for meat that is to be grilled or broiled, you can also use it to pan-fry.


  • 03 of 03

    Replace the Rice

    Steamed Tofu
    Naomi Imatome Yun

    The wonderful thing about rice (or pasta or bread), is that it provides the perfect counterpoint to savory food. You can replace the bowl of rice in a Korean meal with a few soft and slightly bland dishes like Korean steamed eggs, steamed tofu, or pan-fried white fish. By replacing instead of eliminating the carbs, it'll be easier to begin and sustain a low-carb diet. As always, it's about balancing the textures and flavors of your meal.

    Replace the rice with: