Korean Food vs. Japanese Food

Welcome, my dear foodie friend!! It’s food o’clock; of course, you know today’s topic. Korean Food vs. Japanese Food: Which One Is Better?
A trending topic and a battlefield for Asia fans. That’s why today I have two friends accompanying me in this “Battle-Royal.”

Once again, we have as today’s jury :

Ajan Rena is a beautiful warmhearted, chaotic CF gamer who loves to eat. Who traveled almost nones-stop for seven years.
Milena, aka My Asia, blogger, geek, and YouTuber from Asia, fulfilled her dream of studying and living in Japan after ten years of living in S.Korea.
And “yours truly” will try to compare and find similarities and differences between those two cuisines.

Preparing Food

Milena:  if people are more about class and clearness then it is definitely Japanese food, coz in Korean, it is more like homemade food by mom or granny. But the clean thing is a priority everywhere.

Ajan.Rena: I think Japanese cooks look more mesmerizing while cooking rather than S.Korean cooks, but that is my humble opinion.

Sudrabfox: In my opinion, Japan is more ritual, tradition, and seasonality S.Korea taste, spice, and fusion.


table set up on korean restaurant
Korean BBQ

 Milena : in my case in Korea, i was often searched for Japanese food….right now -after two months- I bit miss normal kimchi)))So if I go to a restaurant, it will be different Japanese

Ajan.Rena: Agreed, I also miss Kimchi, despite how strange it sounds. Coz I hated it in South Korea. But thankfully, fermented cabbage is very popular in Latvia so that you can buy “white kimchi” and fried white kimchi. But if we are speaking strictly of Restaurants: I’ll go with Japan, yes, they are similar, but if we are speaking about serving sizes and food presentation, Japan is more eye-pleasing. 

Sudrabfox: I love Japanese restaurants, the ritual of eating food in a particular way, the seasonal cuisine, the clean taste, S.Korea for me, it is more everyday food, comfort-food, with a good combo of veggies and meat. But I don’t like the specifics with the portions for 2.

Differences in The Cuisine

Milena:  Japan makes even cheap food f*cking taste?!

Ajan.Rena: hmmm… good one, I would say for me the difference between both countries is the amount of spices. Koreans love the spicy version and Japanese periphery sweet things.

Sudrabfox: I will agree with both of you; both countries make delicious food. For any price range. And I need to choose; ill go for “Japan,” coz I enjoy less spicy food. For me, spicy food is equal none fresh ingredients ..  Nonetheless, food culture is a complete set of traditions and norms of cooking specifically related to a particular area, religion, or culture, each with its nuances.

These are the differences between Japanese and Korean cuisine, and the two most prominent for me are Taste and rituals.

Taste: Korean food has a rich blend of spices and sauces, which includes 2 major ones: soy sauce and oyster sauce. These spices and sauces are a part of almost every Korean dish, and they provide a savory flavor to every dish.

On the other hand, Japanese food is prepared with a low quantity of spices. The locals of Japan prefer a light taste and aroma, and the dishes are mostly kept to the natural taste of the main ingredients.

Most notably, the Japanese don’t use that many peppers in their food, whereas Koreans often eat super spicy foods. I guess that is compensating for their emotional damage.

Rituals: Koreans enjoy their food thoroughly without being too formal about rules and rituals. They even eat their food with cutlery and sauces of their own choice, whereas in Japan, the ritual has to be strictly followed.

Here are some rituals:

  • Cooking dishes in a particular way, as is prescribed by tradition
  • Greeting staff and chefs before eating
  • Eating with special utensils (such as chopsticks) in the correct manner
  • Putting the cutlery back in a specific place after they’re done

They enjoy the art, history, and traditional ways of eating more than the food itself.

Similarities in The Cuisine

Milenaculture restaurants are too different in many ways. Look like it is pretty much the same from the outside, but inside cultural things are a lot different, as well as the setup. For example – panchan (Korean) it s so many, and you can get more. But in Japan, no refills.

Sudrabfox: Korean and Japanese cuisines share commonalities in that they each have their own distinct style. If you go to a typical restaurant, the cooking will be similar.

Rice, soup, pickled vegetables, and other small appetizers are commonly served. They also have their unique home-cooking style, passed down from generation to generation.

Furthermore, many components used in both cuisines, such as Dashi (Japanese soup stock), fish sauce or shrimp paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil, are identical.

One distinguishing feature in both cuisines is that Koreans use a variety of fermented vegetables such as Kimchi, and Japanese uses fermented seafood.

 Ajan.Rena: One of the similarities is that they cook with chili peppers, which are also very good for your health. Other than that, some traditional dishes like Bibimbap (Korean Mixed Rice) and Yakimeshi (Japanese fried rice) are very similar.

Milena: If you ask me then Kimchi, samgeopsal, kimchichige, pageong

Sudrabfox: Kimchi, Bibimbap, Red rice cakes (tteokbokki), Bulgogi., Korean stew (jjigae)

Ajan.Rena:   any jjigae, Jajangmyeon, Samgyeopsal, Korean fried chicken. It looks like +/- we like similar dishes.

Milena: ow that one is easy – ramen, takoyaki, yakisoba, sashimi and sweets

Sudrabfox: Unagi , Wagyu, Kushiyaki / Yakitori , Takoyaki.

Ajan.Rena: interesting choices; my favorites would be: Kare-Raisu, Okonomiyaki, Shabu-shabu, and Gyoza.

Cooking Korean Food

Cooking Korean food is quite complex. They have a lot of condiments, like pickled vegetables and other spicy sauces essential to Korean food.

You don’t need unique or expensive ingredients when cooking Korean food. However, what makes it challenging is that some are hard to obtain, and others are easy, but you need a long time to make them.

In comparison, cooking Japanese food is not that hard because it’s very simple and straightforward. To cook Japanese food, you must cut the ingredients and then put them in the pot or frying pan, which requires less time than in Korean cuisine.

However, if you want to impress someone with your cooking skills, I recommend cooking Korean food because it’s more complex and requires more technique.

Milena: For ten years, I mostly made a mix of Korean and European food, sometimes miso…and it is pretty easy to make if you have everything right beside you. Like kimchichige, chijim(pageong), tweanganchige and much more.

Sudrabfox: Korean BBQ, but only in S.Korea.

Ajan.Rena: fried kimchi with rice, that’s the maximum I can cook. 

Cooking Japanese Food

To cook some Japanese dishes, you’ll have to make fresh stocks of dashi which takes a lot of time and energy. Preparing the dish is not that hard but making dashi is quite complicated. Also, some unique tools are essential to the cooking process if you want to cook traditional Japanese cuisine.

Some Japanese cooking essentials are a sharp knife called “santoku” and other utensils like a frying pan, griddle, or wooden spatula. Moreover, some ingredients in Japanese cuisine are pretty expensive, such as fish sauce or kombu (a type of seaweed). Consequently, it can be quite tricky to make if you don’t have the budget.

Milena: From all Japanese food, i did just Miso and Omoraisu.. And both were liked by Koreans so much – so i will try to make something else too. I don’t think it is hard (especially if I will have all necessary to make cooking easier ….whitch I donut right now)

Sudrabfox: I love the simplicity and clean taste; for me, that would be Natto, Katsu curry, miso or onigiri.

Ajan.Rena: wow, ladies… you are pro cooks, I can cook only instant  Ramen.


Overall, there are numerous parallels between Korean and Japanese cuisines. Some of the most popular foods in both nations are mentioned above, although not everyone consumes them.

However, these are only a few highlights of their cuisine. If you want to learn more about it, take a vacation to Korea or Japan and sample some local specialties.

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