13 Non-Spicy South Korean Dishes Worth Trying

Korean BBQ
Korean BBQ | Abby Narishkin
Abby Narishkin

Like most of its Asian neighbors, South Korea’s got a reputation for producing great spicy food. And rightfully so—Koreans barely bat an eye at a Cheong-gochu chili pepper or fiery ramen noodles. But for those less tolerant souls, don’t fret, there are plenty of Korean delicacies that don’t pack a punch. Here are 13 non-spicy dishes, sparing you those tear-filled eyes.


Bulgogi is one of Korea’s signature dishes, having become popular worldwide for its sweet marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and ginger. It’s often served up with lettuce, side dishes and dipping sauces to make wraps. After you’ve enjoyed all the meat, pour the remaining broth over some rice and let it soak up all that delicious flavor.





This sushi-like roll comes in all sorts of varieties, including tuna fish, kimchi, fish cake or veggie. No matter which one you go for, rolled up in the rice and seaweed you’ll always find cucumber, spam, pickled radish, egg, spinach and carrots. No spice—all good.



These beloved noodles, nicknamed “glass noodles” due to their subtle transparency, are made from sweet potatoes. Usually served up as a side dish in larger meals, Japchae noodles are stir-fried in sesame oil and seasoned with sugar and soy sauce. While some versions are vegetarian, you’ll most likely find some strips of beef tossed in.



While scallions are the main ingredient of this traditional Korean pancake, egg batter, wheat flour and rice flour are imperative for its signature fluff. Though similar to a Chinese scallion pancake, pajeon is made with batter instead of dough. Beef, pork, shellfish and kimchi are among the most common flavors.



This ox bone stew is left to simmer for at least 14 hours, giving it the richness that makes it a hearty winter staple. Seasoning is done depending on preferences, so no worries on spice with this one—you can stick to simple salt and pepper!

Seolleongtang 설렁탕 – Seoul


Jjajangmyun is the ultimate Chinese-Korean fusion dish. Don’t let the dark black bean sauce sauce put you off, because these thick noodles with diced veggies and pork are a must-try. It’s mild flavor is perfect for those with a low spice tolerance, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try it with a little extra kick.


Korean fried chicken

South Koreans know how to do their chicken. It’s fried twice and comes out lighter and crispier than its American counterpart. Korean Fried Chicken (KFC), simply known as chikin, encompasses a number of different spice levels and varieties. Some like huraideu chikin, are safe for those who don’t like spicy food.

Korean Fried Chicken


Hotteok is a popular treat found in street-food markets and stalls. It consists of a dough pancake stuffed with sugar and cinnamon, fried to perfection in front of your eyes. Usually cooked up by sweet ajummas, or middle-aged women, these make for the perfect snack on your walk home from work.



These long strips of fish are quite enjoyable and are another popular type of street food. Boiled in a light miso soup, odeng is usually dripping with flavor. Enjoy this fishcake-like dish at Korean food stands or try eomuk bokkeum, the stir-fried version found at any Korean barbecue joint.

Street food – Odeng/Eomuk (Fishcake)


Often served as a side dish, this steamed egg and water dish makes for the perfect light lunch. Sometimes cooked up with green onion, salt and pepper, even Koreans will use this to counteract the sometimes over-the-top spice levels!



These thin buckwheat noodles, often dished up cold, are perfect for combating the heat during summer months. They’re usually topped with eggs, meats and veggies, and served in a refreshing vinegar-based broth.



Traditional Korean barbecue meals involves cooking up the raw meat yourself on small, table-top grills. While some of the traditional side dishes in this type of dining pack some punch, the main meats aren’t spicy. Samgyupsal— unseasoned pork belly, doesn’t have much flavor at all. Dip it in the yellow sesame oil, salt and pepper sauce for a nice boost in taste. Make sure to save room for the king of all Korean meats: galbi beef. It’s a little pricier, but once you start enjoying the sweet marinade and premiere cuts, you’ll really notice the difference.

Korean barbecue-Hoenggye hanu
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article