What is the difference between Korean and Japanese Cuisine?

In this brief article, we will discuss the key differences between Korean and Japanese Cuisine, what makes each cuisine special and 10 must-try Korean and Japanese dishes. 

What is the difference between Korean and Japanese Cuisine?

The usage of spices differs greatly between Japanese and Korean cuisine. While Korean cuisine employs a lot of spices, Japanese cuisine prefers to keep things simple with only a few extra flavours. Korean cuisine is known for its fiery and spicy meals. 

However, few people are not aware of the distinctions between Korean and Japanese cuisine. Here are a few key differences: 

  • Japanese food is healthier than Korean food 
  • Korean food tends to be spicier
  • Japanese food is more expensive
  • The difference in preference of beverages
  • Preparation of food 
  • Side dishes in meals 

Japanese food is healthier than Korean food 

Japanese cuisine is sometimes thought to be healthier than Korean cuisine since Japanese cooks use less sugar and eat less meat than Koreans. 

Although Japanese cuisine includes a wide variety of vegetables and less meat, it is difficult to obtain a fully vegan dinner in Japan. Korean cuisine is typically sweeter and heavier in calories. 

A well-balanced Japanese diet includes more fish than red meat, plenty of vegetables, pickled and fermented foods, and small servings of rice. 

On the other hand, Korean food, such as pickled and fermented foods, Korean-style soups, and Korean condiments such as BBQ sauces, isn’t as nutritious. 

Korean food tends to be spicier

Korean cuisine is hotter than Japanese cuisine due to the use of more chilli paste and powder. This heating agent not only gives their foods a spicy bite, but it also gives them the brilliant red colour that is typical of Korean cuisine. 

Koreans like to season their food with a lot of chilli pepper and garlic, which gives it a robust flavour. Japanese cuisine, on the other hand, offers more subtle flavours due to the limited number of ingredients used. 

Japanese food is more expensive

Ingredients are another distinction between Korean and Japanese cuisine. Even though both cuisines rely on fresh ingredients rather than canned goods, Japanese cuisine is more premium and thus more expensive. Some well-known Japanese restaurants have extremely high requirements for the quality of their food. 

The difference in preference of beverage

Soju is Korea’s most well-known alcoholic beverage. The fact that these gleaming green bottles can be seen in almost every dining and drinking facility should tell you that soju is Korea’s national liquor. 

On the other hand, in Japan, Sake is frequently served with a ceremony where it is carefully warmed in a small earthenware or porcelain bottle and drunk from a small porcelain cup known as a sakazuki. 

Preparation of food

Meat and other raw items are heavily marinated with spices and sauces in Korea before being cooked to flavour the dish. In Japan, raw food is frequently cooked as is, with as few seasonings as possible, and the flavour is added after the dish has been fully cooked. 

Side dishes in meals 

Koreans prefer to consume a variety of side dishes with their meals. At the same time, the Japanese have a limited selection of side dishes. In Japan, you’re usually served one plate of noodles or rice and that’s it. The visual satisfaction that comes from spreading the dishes out on the table is something that Koreans like.

What makes Korean cuisine so special?

Korean cuisine is one of the world’s most popular cuisines. Korean cuisine, from Kimchi to Bibimbap, has a long and varied history and culture. 

Korean cuisine is, on the whole, quite spicy. Instead of utilising fresh chillies, they mostly employ chilli paste or chilli powder to give their dishes a rich red colour and a fiery bite. Koreans have perfected the art of fermenting vegetables like cabbage, radish, and daikon. 

Pickles jars can be found in every Korean household across the country. These spicy and sour dishes are ideal for pairing with grilled pork to balance off the fatty and meaty flavour. 

Kimchi, Korea’s famous spicy cabbage, comes in over a hundred different types made with other veggies and is a staple of every meal. As well as helping digestion, it is loved for its sour, tangy crunch. 

10 must-try Korean dishes

Korean cuisine has become extremely popular in recent years. It’s defined as savoury, spicy, hearty, and nutrient-dense pleasures that may be eaten at any time of day. We’ve put up a list of the best Korean dishes you should taste at least once in your life.

  • Kimchi
  • Bibimbap
  • Red rice cakes (tteokbokki)
  • Bulgogi
  • Korean stew (jjigae)
  • Jajangmyeon 
  • Samgyeopsal 
  • Korean fried chicken
  • Spicy cold noodle (bi bim nengmyun)
  • Ginseng chicken soup (samgyetang) 

What makes Japanese cuisine so special?

The classic flavours and textures of Japanese cuisine are well-known. If you live outside of this country, it is often regarded as exotic and not something you would find at home. Sushi, tempura, sashimi, and ramen are what most people think of when they think of Japanese food, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

A traditional Japanese meal will consist of a bowl of rice, miso soup, pickled veggies, and a savoury fish or meat dish. Japanese people eat more fish than beef in general, making their food lighter on the stomach. Aside from steamed rice, they provide a range of noodles such as udon, soba, and ramen. 

They place a premium on fresh ingredients and the presentation of their dishes, which are attractive and delicate rather than sophisticated. Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is home to some of the world’s most famous restaurants, where the food is high-end and pricey, but the flavours and service are exceptional. 

10 must-try Japanese dishes

Everyone has a favourite Japanese food that they look forward to eating from time to time, whether it’s sushi, ramen, or gyoza. Japanese cuisine is frequently regarded to be healthier and more delectable than Western cuisine. 

Because of Ghibli and animation, Japanese cooking is becoming more popular. It is usually healthful, flavorful, fresh, and perfectly portioned. Here is the list of the 10 best Japanese dishes that you should try-

  • Sushi
  • Sashimi 
  • Unagi- Grilled Eel
  • Tempura 
  • Soba (Buckwheat noodles) and Udon (wheat noodles)
  • Onigiri (Rice balls)
  • Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers)
  • Sukiyaki 
  • Oden (Simmered Ingredients)
  • Miso soup

Korean and Japanese cuisines are each delicious in their own right, but it’s vital to keep in mind that they come from different cultures. They’re both exquisite and delicious.  


In this brief article, we discussed the key differences between Korean and Japanese Cuisine, what makes each cuisine special and 10 must-try Korean and Japanese dishes. 

Hope this blog was insightful. Comment below if you have any questions!



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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.