Wine and Korean Cuisine | Chili, Garlic & Kimchi

Wine is a kind of alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes. The yeast eats the glucose in the grapes, transforming it into carbon dioxide and alcohol, which release heat into the atmosphere. There are many distinct types of wine made from various types of grapes and yeast strains. I learned about this from a liquor store near me; Grape biochemistry, fermentation reactions, and the vineyard’s growth environment (terroir) all play a role in determining the unique characteristics of each wine.

The mainstays of Korean cuisine include rice, vegetable, fish, and meat, particularly in South Korea. Dairy is not a common part of the Korean diet. The number of side dishes (banchan) served with steam-cooked short-grain rice is the reason for the traditional Korean meal’s name. Koreans have been making kimchi for centuries, and it’s a traditional meal made with a variety of pickled vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage (also known as napa cabbage), daikon radish (also known as daikon radishes), cucumbers, and carrots.

Kimchi is a common ingredient in most meals. Sesame oil, fermented bean paste (doenjang), soy sauce, sea salt, ginger, pepper flakes (gochugauru), and fermented red chili paste are some of the most prevalent ingredients in Asian cuisine (gochujang). You can also use some substitutes for Gochugaru.

Traditional Korean dishes, regional specialties, and contemporary fusion fare all include a wide range of ingredients and preparation methods. In recent years, a wide variety of foods have gained widespread acclaim throughout the world.

Do you know?
The traditional meals and cooking methods of Korea are referred to as “Korean cuisine.”

It has always been a social occasion for Korean parents to raise, harvest, prepare, and consume their food. People living on the Korean Peninsula, which has a high population density, have always lived in villages outside of its main cities. During the Joseon dynasty, when the wider family farmhouse and the royal court were a part of the extended family, dining was a key part of the day. There’s no better time than mealtime for the Korean family and community to get together than when they’re sharing their traditional meals. The significance of Korean cuisine and lunchtime remained consistent, despite the vast differences in the quality and variety of food available to farmers and the aristocracy.

No matter how much flexibility one has concerning the sequence of eating at the table, the Koreans often eat from their rice or soup bowls while eating banchan (side dishes). Elders, superiors, and visitors are often treated to the finest cuisine. Eating with a spoon and jeotggarak is the proper way to do it according to Korean etiquette. Scooping up the dishes may be allowed in informal contexts although it is considered rude. To distinguish themselves from the peasants, the yangban class in Joseon’s society enjoyed the luxury of dining at lacquered tables.

Do you know?
Elders, superiors, and visitors are allowed to dine first in Korean culture.

Imperial cuisine and the elaborate conventions of the old court have influenced much of the cuisine and customs in Korea of today. Temperature, spice, color, texture, and presentation are all carefully addressed in the creation of this meal.

The number of main dishes may range from two to more than a dozen, most dinners will have at minimum a few of them. Instead of a series of meals, the whole menu is presented at once for sharing. Steamed, simmered, pan-fried, stewed, and fermented are just a few of the ways Korean food is prepared.

Do you know?
Rice and soup form the foundation of Korean meals, which are then complemented by a variety of shared side dishes.


One of the most popular Korean cuisines is kimchi. It’s a staple at practically every meal. Regardless of how basic the cup noodle dish is, it is accompanied by it. This comes in a plethora of forms. Cauliflower, radish, cucumber, or scallions are used to make it, often offered as a component of the banchan during mealtimes. Gochujang, or red chili pepper paste, is the primary source of heat and flavor in kimchi. This fermented essential oil is well-known for its sour, spicy, and caustic flavor.

The first consideration in selecting a wine to pair with kimchi is your unique taste. Those who want their wine crisp need go no further than an herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc. To cut through the pungent aroma of kimchi, its unique sourness has the body and spirit needed.

This should also enhance the grass-like cleanness of the peppery meal. Sticking to whites is also safe. These are mildly sweet and have just the right amount of astringency to keep things interesting. Think Alsatian Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Pinot Gris.

Black and full-bodied red wines do not go well with this dish. Wines with fruity flavors, a balanced body, mild tannins, and a brisk causticity, on the other hand, could succeed. Wines like a Cru Beaujolais or a young Pinot Noir would be ideal.

Province-specific cuisines and ingredients are available. Dishes that were formerly only found in certain parts of the country are now found all around the country in various incarnations. Korean royal court food formerly brought all of the various regional delicacies together for the royal family. The proper way to eat in Korea is dictated by traditional cultural customs.


Wine pairings with Korean cuisine are notoriously difficult. It’s not as simple as combining wine with a Western dinner since there are so many powerful tastes and harsh smells in the typical Korean meal. Because banchan (side dishes) are nearly always flavored with spicy, sweet, or salty characteristics, it’s best to base your wine selection on the main course rather than the banchan itself. Except for a few hot ingredients, the other soups, rice, and noodles in a Korean meal tend to counterbalance these spicy tastes.

The high-spice element should not be the only consideration unless the main course is something like grilled spicy pork or a robust kimchichigae, which is a spicy stew prepared with kimchi, pork, veggies, and tofu.


Your best choice is a bright and uncomplicated red wine since Korean cuisine is generally composed of rice, veggies, fish, and meats (particularly in South Korea). Australian or Chilean Shiraz, as well as Chianti or American Zinfandel, are excellent options.