Is Korean food spicy

Avoid spicy foods while traveling around South Korea

Yes, you can avoid eating spicy foods. There are mainly three types of solutions to avoid spicy foods in South Korea.


Some of the foods there aren't that spicy. These include samgyetang, kalguksu, seolleongtang, etc. Kimuchi is always served as a side dish with something else, but you can leave it untouched.

Almost all waiters in local restaurants don't even speak basic English. In my experience, learning a simple Korean isn't going to be very rewarding as you won't understand their reaction. For example, let's say you say you don't like spicy food and a waiter said something like, "This isn't spicy, so try it?". How do you know what the waiter is talking about? In addition, the Korean language, an isolated group of language families, is notoriously difficult for all speakers around the world.

Fortunately, many restaurants in tourist locations display photos as well as English descriptions in their menu, so it should be a decent guide to you. I recommend that you memorize some non-spicy foods in advance, in both Korean and English.


South Korea is full of cafes (including Starbucks). There are arguably more caf├ęs in Seoul than in any other city in the world. Many cafes are open after midnight in hot places like Hongdae, Gangnam, and Dongdaemun, so you can eat late at night too. You can order sand witches, pancakes, a variety of cakes, waffles, breads, even salads, pastas, and lasagnas (but rarely), but some of them may be too sweet to eat on a daily basis (actually I do though).

Convenience stores

South Korea, like China and Japan, is full of convenience stores. The packaging shows which food is spicy.

Since you know a lot about Japan, I'll share my tips on the difference between the two.

Unlike Japan, where leaving food is not appreciated by some people, you should be happy to leave your food in Korea.

Most people in both countries speak little or no English, but while most Japanese people try to understand your English with grinning faces, many Koreans may not respond in English and instead speak Korean so quickly. Some might even ignore you. This would seldom happen in tourist places like Myeongdong, Dongdaemun or Garosugil, but so often with me around Gangnam Station and the entire Incheon.

Compared to Japan, especially Tokyo, there are far fewer western restaurants in Korea. Most are local Korean restaurants with some but not many Japanese. There are a few Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Italian restaurants, but find them well in advance as you can only walk across the street.

The acceptance of a credit card should comply 100% with the legal requirements, so that you can simply hand in your card and not have to worry about the charge.