Korean Drama Food – Itaewon Class

For you Korean drama and food lovers, let’s take a closer look at the dishes found in some of the popular Korean dramas. This is my first K-drama series Itaewon Class!

Have you immersed yourself in korean drama yet? Or are you a K-drama addict like me? Korean dramas have taken the world by storm, especially during the pandemic. This addictive TV series, without fail, draws you into the world of dramaIt swings and leaves you laughing, crying, angry, happy, bloated and hungry. They are brilliantly designed to evoke feelings about love, family, wealth, crime, culture and yes FOOD!

Every korean drama is full of eating scenes. You will definitely see the love of Koreans for food and gathering around the table with family and friends. For me, the icing is always on the cake when my favorite drama is filled with mouth-watering food scenes.

As you watch the drama, you will inevitably get pangs of hunger and food cravings. If you’ve watched a few of them, you’ll probably recognize some of the frequent dishes like instant ramyun noodles, jajangmyeon, kimbap, shimaek, and samgyopsal.

In my new Korean drama series, we’ll take a closer look at the dishes that have appeared in some popular dramas, one by one. Let’s start with the award winning series, Itaewon Class!

Category ITAEWON

This popular drama is about a former con man who sets out to conquer the trendy night food scene and avenge his father’s death by opening a bar (pocha, 포차 in Korean) called Danbam (meaning sweet night). Of course, this is a huge simplification of the multiple story lines that drive this series.

Aside from the food, which is the natural backdrop to this story, this award-winning series combines family strife, death, revenge, comedy, and love. If that wasn’t reason enough to watch, this K-drama has received many accolades for breaking stigmatized barriers and distinguishing itself from other K-dramas by tackling difficult topics with complex and interesting characters.

Below is a list of “food” characters that purposefully appear in the Itaewon Class. I know you will be inspired to prepare some of these dishes after watching the drama.

Fried Rice – Episode 1

Saeroyi (the main character who was a high school kid at this point) prepares breakfast for himself and his father. The presence and importance of food in this drama starts early. Saeroyi uses sweet peppers, onions, zucchini, carrots, and spam to make fried rice.

This is a great dish to improvise with any hearty vegetables in the fridge. Saeroyi cuts his vegetables and spam into small cubes and stirs them before adding the rice. If you need more about basic methods for making fried rice, check out Omoris, kimchi fried rice, and egg fried rice.

The fried rice is complemented by Kongnamul Guk (soybean soup). Saeroyi has received praise for his culinary skills in making fried rice but his dad has a very funny comment on Kongnamul Guk.

As a side note, Yeonguen Jorim and Maneul Jangajji appear as extras on this breakfast table.

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Sundubu Jjigae Episode 5, 7, 16

This dish is the highlight of this series. He appears during some of the most pivotal scenes in the drama, especially the ending, which I won’t let go of.

In Episode 5, Sundubu Bar staff eats Jjigae from Saeroyi after work. One of his employees comments that it’s the best sunbo he’s ever had.

Sundubu Jjigae appears as a star in episodes 7 and 16 which symbolically represents the beginning and the end. The second scene is very striking and it will be hard to take your eyes away even if you haven’t watched the whole series. I guarantee you after watching this scene you will want to go back and watch the whole series.

Saeroyi describes sundobo as a dish that spreads warmth all over the body on a cold day. Next time it’s going to be a cold night, try making Sundubu Jjigae to warm your body and soul. Then again, this hot and delicious comfort food is good any time of the year.

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Sukju samgyup bokkeum (Stir fried pork belly with bean sprouts) – Episode 7

In episode 7, Saeroyi’s rival makes an unexpected visit to Danbam and orders the restaurant’s best soup and best fried dish. Sundubu jigae is served alongside Sukju samgyup bokkeum (fried pork belly with bean sprouts).

Fried pork belly with bean sprouts is popular as anju (a snack) in Korea. It’s a quick and easy dish that’s equally great as a side or main dish. I will share my recipe soon. Meanwhile, jeyuk bokkeum (spicy fried pork) is also on Danbam’s menu, which appears in episode 5.

Saeroyi serves these two dishes with kongjang (slow-cooked black soybeans) and stir-fry dishes.

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Jjamppong (Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup) Episode 5-7

Ma Hyun-yi is hired as Danbam’s chef but fails to eat her average food leaving Danbam in danger of losing business. Instead of being fired, Saeroyi gives her a chance to prove herself, despite receiving opposition from Danbam’s manager. In this scene, the viewer begins to understand that Saeroyi wants to give chances to individuals who do not always get a fair chance.

Hyun-yi makes several rounds of Jjamppong (also spelled jjambbong) before eventually receiving an acknowledgment from the same manager who wanted her fired.

The last bowl of Jjamppong is full of fresh seafood and is worth salivating. I don’t have to go through as many rounds as Hyun-yi did to make a perfect bowl of Jjambbong because I made a recipe that anyone can follow!

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Are you inspired to make some of these dishes appear in Itaewon Class or watch a drama if you haven’t? I’d love to hear what you think of this introductory post for this Korean food drama series.

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