Beside being healthy, Korean food is darn tasty. There are a few standout dishes that I particularly love: bibimbap and gogi gui. Bibimbap (mixed rice) is just what the name suggests: a bowl of white rice served with a variety of ingredients, such as lettuce, carrots, soybean sprouts, daikon (radish), mushrooms, and pepper paste, then topped with a fried egg.
Each type of ingredient is served in a group (as in my students' drawing), making for a colourful presentation. Everything has to be stirred and mixed very well before eating it---something Koreans like to tease foreigners about when they first try it.
It sounds weird (at least it did to me when I first heard of it), but it's really good---a recipe I will be taking home with me!
Gogi gui (grilled meat, known as "Korean barbeque") is definitely my favourite Korean food. What separates Korean barbeque from other barbeques is the grill. In Korea, it's not found in the backyard---it's on your table.
Enter the restaurant and take a seat; you'll notice the grill is built into the centre of the table. Ask the server for your choice of meat, maybe bulgogi (beef), galbi (pork or beef ribs), or samgyeopsal (pork). Cut the meat into bite-sized portions with scissors before placing it on the sizzling grill. As you chat, carefully turn the pieces over until they're ready. When they're crisp (and the smell of barbequed meat is too much to handle), dig in. Grab a leaf of lettuce, use your chopsticks to take a piece of meat off the grill and place it in the middle, and then grab other pieces from the buncheon (sidedishes) and add them on top of the meat. Fold the lettuce over and stuff it into your mouth. Cheers with a shot of soju and a shout of "Kanbae!"
Eating at Korean barbeque restaurant is not a meal; it's an experience.