K-Dramas & Their Iconic Street Food

K-Dramas & Their Iconic Street Food


Korean dramas, or K-Dramas, have become a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with their compelling storytelling, intricate characters, and cultural authenticity. Beyond the drama and romance, one element that stands out in these shows is the beloved Korean food. Korean street food, in particular, is often highlighted, adding an extra layer of cultural richness and authenticity to the narratives. This blog explores some of the most iconic street foods featured in popular K-Dramas, illustrating how these dishes not only tantalize the taste buds but also contribute to the storytelling.



Tteokbokki in "Reply 1988"

"Reply 1988" is a nostalgic trip back to the late 1980s, showcasing the lives of five childhood friends and their families in a small Seoul neighborhood. Among the many scenes that evoke a sense of time and place, the moments featuring street food are particularly memorable. Tteokbokki, a spicy rice cake dish, is a staple of Korean street food culture. This dish, made with chewy rice cakes, fish cakes, and a sweet-spicy sauce, often appears in scenes where the characters gather around street vendors. These moments emphasize the communal and comforting aspects of food, reflecting the warmth and camaraderie of the neighborhood.



Naengmyeon in "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo"

In "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo," the main characters are students at a sports university, juggling the pressures of training and their personal lives. Naengmyeon, a Korean cold noodle soup made from the flour and starch of numerous ingredients which include buckwheat, kudzu, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and arrowroot starch, is featured prominently. Bok-joo, the protagonist, often indulges in this treat, showcasing her love for food and her relatable, down-to-earth personality. The scenes with Naengmyeon at the end of her barbecue sessions with friends provide a sense of warmth and comfort, reinforcing the show's themes of friendship and self-discovery.



Gimbap in "Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol"

"Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol" is a romantic Korean drama which aired on KBS and streams on Netflix. Since the main female lead, Goo Ra Ra, absolutely loves eating and trying new foods, there’s always an appetizing Korean dish on screen.Gimbap, a Korean seaweed rice roll, is featured in a touching scene where the main characters prepare and share the dish. Gimbap, often compared to sushi, is made with rice, various vegetables, and meat, all rolled in seaweed. The act of making and eating Gimbap together becomes a metaphor for the characters' journey towards healing and acceptance, highlighting the importance of care and togetherness.



Bibimbap in "Descendants of the Sun"

"Descendants of the Sun," is a romance that intertwines the lives of a surgeon and a special forces officer. Bibimbap, a colorful delicious rice dish mixed with vegetables and meat, is a notable street food featured in the drama. In "Descendants of the Sun," the dish is often enjoyed by the characters during their casual, everyday moments, grounding the fantastical elements of the story in real, relatable experiences.



Ramen in "Hospital Playlist"

"Hospital Playlist" follows the lives of five doctors who have been friends since medical school. The drama is known for its realistic portrayal of life and work in a hospital, and food plays a significant role in the characters' interactions. Instant ramen, which is the best thing a doctor can eat in a short amount of time, is often seen in the series, symbolizing the characters' bond and the comfort of familiar tastes. Shared during break times and gatherings, ramen scenes highlight the importance of friendship and support in the high-pressure environment of the hospital.



Korean Fried Chicken in "Crash Landing on You"

"Crash Landing on You" is a romantic drama about a South Korean heiress who accidentally lands in North Korea and meets an army officer. Korean Fried Chicken is featured prominently, representing the cultural and emotional ties between the characters. The scenes where the characters make and share Mandu together reflect themes of love, unity, and the blending of different worlds. The dish serves as a bridge between their contrasting lives, symbolizing hope and understanding.



Japchae in "True Beauty"

"True Beauty" is a is a romantic comedy drama that aired on tvN and streams on Viki. Japchae, or glass noodles, is a simple yet meaningful street food featured in the drama. Made of potato starch, Japchae represents the characters' resilience and determination. The scenes with Japchae highlight the importance of perseverance and the comfort of familiar, home-cooked food in the face of adversity.



Tofu Stew in "Itaewon Class"

"Itaewon Class" follows the journey of an ex-convict who opens a bar-restaurant in Itaewon and seeks revenge on the family responsible for his father's death. Korean tofu stew, one of Korea’s top comfort food and is made with kimchi, onions, soft tofu, and any meat of your choice ,is a street food that appears throughout the drama. The dish symbolizes the protagonist's determination and the vibrant, multicultural atmosphere of Itaewon. The scenes featuring Tofu Stew highlight the fusion of different cultures and the resilience of the characters in the face of challenges.




Korean street food is more than just a culinary delight; it is a cultural experience that adds depth and authenticity to K-Dramas. Each dish, from Tteokbokki in "Reply 1988" to Ramen in "Hospital Playlist," plays a significant role in the narrative, symbolizing various aspects of life, love, and resilience. These foods not only tantalize the taste buds but also enrich the storytelling, making K-Dramas a feast for both the eyes and the soul. Whether you are a long-time fan or a newcomer to the world of K-Dramas, exploring these iconic street foods offers a delicious way to connect with the stories and the culture they represent.


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Author: Tugba

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