5 Easy and Delicious Korean Convenience Store Recipes

Spicy Korean Noodles

South Korea’s social distancing campaign advises citizens to stay at home as much as possible, which means less eating out and more cooking at home. So here are five easy recipes, using only ingredients you can find at the convenience store, to inspire your cooking and help you get creative. You can make delicious, hearty meals by simply experimenting with what is easily available to you from your nearest convenience store. 

Kimchi Fried Rice (김치볶음밥)

Kimchi Fried Rice

You can be really creative with this recipe depending on what you have access to. Soy sauce, chili flakes, and gochujang will enhance the flavor. Fresh vegetables such as mushrooms or green onions are another great addition to this recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • Rice (can be purchased in microwaveable packs or as grains)
  • Kimchi
  • Oil 
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Tofu (optional, or use preferred protein source such as Spam)
  • Egg
  • Seaweed (can be replaced with green onions if available) 

How to make: 

  1. Prepare fresh rice or (for the lazy chef) just microwave a pack of pre-made rice.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the garlic (if available), and gently fry. 
  3. Next add the kimchi and tofu slices. Fry for several minutes. 
  4. Add rice to the pan and mix thoroughly with kimchi and tofu. 
  5. In a separate pan, fry the egg for 3 to 4 minutes depending on your preference.
  6. Serve up the fried rice and top with the fried egg. Sprinkle seaweed on top. 

Spicy Noodles (비빔면)

Spicy Korean Noodles

When served in restaurants, these noodles tend to have a variety of colorful vegetables served on top (such as sliced cucumbers and carrots). You can often find packs of prepared salad in convenience stores or small packs of sliced vegetables. 

Ingredients:

  • Packaged bibim noodles (includes sauce and garnish)
  • Egg
  • Shredded seaweed
  • Cucumber (or any vegetables or garnish that you have access to)

How to make: 

  1. Boil egg for around 10 minutes. Place in cold water and set aside.
  2. Boil noodles for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and add sauces and garnish.
  3. Serve noodles and top with sliced egg, shredded seaweed, and cucumber (if available). 

Kimchi Jeon (김치전)

Kimchi Jeon

Kimchi pancakes are a quick and delicious recipe. This is a great option if you are having guests over or simply want to enjoy something a bit more indulgent. Best enjoyed with Korean rice wine (막걸리) .

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour (½ cup)
  • Water (½ cup)
  • Kimchi (½ cup)
  • Salt 
  • Sugar
  • Oil 
  • Soy sauce

How to make:

  1. Mix the flour, kimchi, and water thoroughly in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and sugar. 
  2. Heat a generous amount of oil in a non-stick pan.
  3. Pour the batter into the heated pan and spread the mixture using a spatula. 
  4. After 2 to 3 minutes, flip the pancake. Leave for another 2 to 3 minutes until crispy on both sides (bonus points for managing to flip the pancake without breaking it!).
  5. Cut into bite-size slices and serve with soy sauce for dipping.

Tofu Stew (된장찌개) 

Korean Tofu Stew

Tofu and sweet potatoes are a great base for making meals in Korea. They are usually available in convenience stores and are very nutritious. As long as you have a pan, a stove, and access to water, it is incredibly easy to prepare a variety of dishes using these two ingredients as a base. 

Ingredients: 

  • Tofu (and alternative protein if available, such as pork or beef)
  • Oil
  • Garlic (if available)
  • Rice
  • Soybean Paste
  • Sweet Potato
  • Any vegetables you have access to
  • Green chilies

How to make:

  1. Slice tofu, potato, garlic, and vegetables.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and saute soybean paste and garlic for several minutes.
  3. Fill the pan with water and let soybean paste dissolve. Add tofu, potato, and vegetables. 
  4. Boil for 10 to 20 minutes. You can add any spices or sauces you have available — experiment!  
  5. Prepare the rice, and let the stew cool before serving. 

Egg Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice

This recipe was the result of experimenting with a bunch of ingredients that I had left over from the previous recipes — and it was absolutely delicious! Although this isn’t a traditional Korean dish, I hope it shows that you can just get creative with cooking and make a decent meal using only a few basic ingredients!

Ingredients: 

  • Rice
  • Oil
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Sweet potato 
  • Seaweed
  • Green chilies
  • Soy sauce 

How to make:

  1. Cook or microwave the rice. Set aside when it is ready. 
  2. Wash a sweet potato and pierce with a fork. Microwave it for 10 minutes, then chop it up into chunks. (If you have an oven, baking the potato will produce better results but will take longer to prepare.)
  3. Heat oil in a pan.
  4. Gently beat an egg and add a little salt and milk. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the heated pan and stir constantly until the egg is scrambled.
  6. Add the rice and mix well with the egg. 
  7. Add a little soy sauce, seaweed, and the green chilies for flavor.
  8. Add the chopped sweet potato and mix with the rice and egg.
  9. Mix ingredients well and serve with any garnishes or sauces you have available.

For even more convenience store inspiration, check out The Ultimate Korean Convenience Store Guide.

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