You'll want to taste them all.
Just because you can't visit another country yet, doesn't mean that you can't enjoy authentic cuisines from around the world right in your own backyard. Canada is home to a huge range of diverse cultures, and Canadians can experience them all without the need to hop on a plane and jet across the ocean.
If adventures like exploring the volcanic Jeju Island, listening to old Korean tales at Changdeokgung Palace or taking a tour through the streets of Seoul at night are on your travel wish list, Korea Tourism Organization has a number of Facebook live streaming tourism events for you to check out that'll virtually transport you to spots like Busan and Jeonju Hanok Village.
But if you want to take your taste buds on a trip, some of the best Korean food outside of Korea is found in Canada, with mouthwatering dishes available everywhere from Vancouver to Halifax — and many places in between.
To get the inside scoop on the best Korean dishes to try and where to find them, Narcity asked its readers and Korean restaurants across the country. From marinated short ribs to saucy Korean corn dogs, these nine tasty reader- and restaurant-recommended foods will have you eating like a local until you can visit Korea in person.
Why You Need To Try It: Kimchi bokkeumbap, or kimchi fried rice, is exactly what it sounds like: fried rice made with kimchi. To give it a little bit more texture and flavour, pork or spam are also added into the mix along with veggies. Sometimes a fried egg and chopped scallions are added to the top.
Ka Chi in Toronto is the restaurant that Narcity readers suggest if you want to try kimchi bokkeumbap.
Korean Corn Dogs
Why You Need To Try It: You've never seen corn dogs like these before. Korean corn dogs take the classic street food to a whole new level with a range of creative garnishes, crusts and toppings including panko bread crumbs, french fry pieces or even ramen. They're finished with sugar and a condiment of your choice, which can include cheese, ketchup, mustard or mayo.
Narcity readers suggest trying these from Chung Chun, which has locations in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
Why You Need To Try It: Galbi (sometimes also called kalbi) is marinated short ribs, usually made of beef. It's a popular dish at Korean barbecue restaurants where customers are able to grill the ribs themselves. This meat is usually flavoured with a sweet and savoury marinade made from soy sauce, garlic and sugar.
Jason, the owner of Korean Village Restaurant in Toronto, told Narcity that galbi is his favourite: "I love our Kalbi because we marinate our Beef Ribs for over 35 hours and they are packed with so much flavour."
Narcity readers also suggest trying this dish from Chez Bong in Montreal.
Why You Need To Try It: Gathering your pals around a grill to cook your meal is an experience everyone needs to try at least once. Korean barbecue consists of meats (like pork belly, short ribs and brisket) or veggies (like mushrooms, onions and eggplants) that you cook yourself and then roll in lettuce before dipping in a sauce and eating. Korean barbecue is often served with side dishes including kimchi or pickled veggies.
Try it yourself at Narcity readers' recommended restaurant, Daldongnae, in Montreal.
Why You Need To Try It: Bibimbap, which translates to "mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables," is one of the most popular Korean dishes. It seems simple enough — a rice bowl topped with sautéed vegetables, marinated meat and a fried egg — but the taste combination will keep you coming back for more. It's often topped with sweet and spicy sauce and sesame seeds for an extra burst of flavour.
Narcity readers suggest trying this dish at Sam Cha in Montreal.
Why You Need To Try It: This one is for lovers of heat! Gamjatang is a pork-bone soup that is seasoned with spicy hot gochugaru chilli flakes and gochujang paste. The broth is topped with chopped potatoes, green onions and sesame seeds, and sometimes includes noodles as well.
While Narcity readers were undecided on the best place for gamjatang, you can try it from Mapo Gamjatang in Toronto.
Why You Need To Try It: Bo ssam is a dish made of pork shoulder that is boiled until incredibly tender, and served thinly sliced. This dish often comes with spicy radish salad, raw garlic, ssamjang (spicy dipping sauce), saeu-jeot (salted fermented shrimp), kimchi and veggies like lettuce, perilla leaves and napa cabbage.
So Hyang in Vancouver told Narcity that bo ssam is a customer favourite at their restaurant: "Our Bo Ssam is fatty and extremely tender so it melts as soon as you take the first bite. The sweetness of the meat is perfectly balanced with cabbage wraps and spicy radish to make a flavourful combination."
Why You Need To Try It: If you like your food hot and spicy then Jjamppong is the perfect dish for you.
Jjamppong is a noodle soup made with seafood- or pork-based broth and flavoured with gochugaru (Korean chilli pepper). This soup is filled with tasty veggies, like onions, garlic, Korean zucchini, carrots, cabbages, and proteins like squid, mussels and pork.
Narcity readers recommend trying this dish from The Great Wall/Man Ri Jang Sung in Toronto.
You don't have to leave Canada to experience the Korean culinary experience. There are so many mouthwatering Korean dishes for you to try right here at home until you can hop on a plane and visit.
Once travel restrictions are lifted, Korea Tourism Organization can help you plan a trip to Korea to taste all of these incredible dishes in their country of origin. Until then, be inspired with Facebook live streaming tourism events that take you to places like the city of Busan and Jeonju Hanok Village. Maybe order yourself one of the above dishes, and really get in the spirit.