Korean food is very different from European food. People travel a lot these days and can see what Koreans eat on the internet or in the media. However, you may not know what Koreans eat for breakfast.
Before I came to Austria, I also thought that Austrians and Germans, like Americans, only ate toast for breakfast.
In this article, I want to talk about Korean breakfast and what we think about it these days.
What do Koreans usually eat for breakfast?
Do Koreans eat rice or rice porridge? Do they eat toast or bread like you?
Usually Korean breakfast is the same as lunch or dinner. The basic elements of Korean food rice (밥), soup (국) or stew (찌개), kimchi (김치) and side dishes (반찬) we also eat for breakfast.
The only difference with breakfast is that it’s easier than lunch and dinner. There is not enough time to cook in the morning because you have to go to work early. So Koreans cook something simple and quick or we often eat leftover soup or side dishes from yesterday. We have many side dishes that are fermented like kimchi so we can store them for a long time.
The old generation prefers typical Korean meals. My mother, for example, still cooks properly in the morning for breakfast. Rice, soup or stew. But the younger generation prefers toast or bread because it is easier and can be prepared quickly.
When I was in Korea, I was used to my mother’s breakfast, so I also ate Korean food every morning, but my sisters ate bread and my brother never ate breakfast. Like me, they haven’t lived with our mother for a long time, but still do the same thing and would rather sleep longer than eat breakfast.
What do Koreans think about breakfast?
Now I eat bread for breakfast more often because I don’t live in Korea anymore, but back then I thought I couldn’t live without eating rice for breakfast.
If I eat rice, I’m full for a long time, but if I eat bread, I’m quickly hungry again. So I’ve been thinking about why that is!
Actually, we don’t eat that much rice at a meal. You can see how small the bowl is for rice. We also eat a lot of different side dishes, so we feel full even though we don’t eat that much rice. This is why I get hungry quickly when I eat bread.
The traditional Korean dishes at a meal are uniformly rich in nutrients. Not only carbohydrates, but also vitamins, proteins and so on.
Many Koreans think Korean breakfast is better for focusing on work or studying.
Still, young people prefer simple foods like bread.
In Korea, bread is not a staple food, so it is usually considered a snack or dessert. For this reason, bread is sweeter in Korea.
Is there a simple Korean food for breakfast then?
Yes, I do! Kimbab (김밥) or rice cake (떡).
Kimbab (김밥) is a Korean rice roll, not sushi. Kimbab is basically made of eggs, carrots, yellow radish, spinach or cucumber, sesame oil, salt and so on. not sugar and vinegar. We eat kimbab without soy sauce and wasabi.
When kids go on a field trip, they always take kimbab with them because it’s easy to take along. Of course, it tastes great too and it’s a complete meal with all the nutrients, so it’s healthy. Still, it counts as a snack.
Rice cake (떡) is made from glutinous rice flour and there are many varieties.
Rice cake is also eaten as a snack or dessert, so it’s also a bit sweet.
For breakfast, Koreans also eat a roll of kimbab (김밥 한 줄) or rice cakes because they are easy to buy and cheap.
You can buy a roll of kimbab (김밥 한 줄) at the convenience store (편의점), which is open 24 hours and offers simple food.
If you were in Korea, what would you eat for breakfast in Korea?
Important phrases and vocabulary:
김 Seaweed leaves
밥 boiled rice
김밥 Rice rolls
김밥 한 줄 a roll of kimbab
김밥 한 개 a piece of kimbab
떡 sticky rice cake
편의점 Convenience Store
아침 the morning
식사 The food
아침을 먹다 breakfast
아침을 든든하게 먹다 eat breakfast until you are full