It is strange to read about your own culture from the eyes of a foreigner. It is a mixture of misconceptions, rumours, half-truths, odd perspectives and the occasional stunning insight.
There are a few misconceptions about Korean cuisine. Some of these arise from the westernized version of Korean food, which are different o the original or which over emphasis one or two dishes. Others arise because no country has one uniform culture; some people expect everybody in an Asian country to be a vegetarian Buddhist monk, or to live exclusively on the most popular local beer. But every country is diverse in its own way. And the myths are more comical than accurate.
Korean food is spicy
Some food is spicy, but not as much as Indian food or many other Asian foods. There are some spicy chilli dishes in the USA and Mexico too, but most of the food is not spicy at all.
Koreans eat dog meat, or at least tolerate it:
This is rather overemphasised and out of date. Almost all modern Koreans dislike the very idea of eating a dog. A few old men eat this on rare occasions, but this is a disappearing thing that was never that popular to start with.
Kimchi is old cabbage
Well, that’s like saying that wine is old grapes. Foods like wine, sauerkraut, and kimchi are fermented. This changes the composition of the food, actually adding a lot of healthy elements.
Koreans tend to be pretty healthy. And Korean foods often contain a lot of things that are underemphasised in western diets. But no national cuisine gets everything right.
As one person said: westerners should eat more Korean foods, and Koreans should eat less.
You should not eat rice with chopsticks
In Korean you can use the spoon or the chopsticks to eat rice. Many other Asian countries only use chopsticks, partly because their rice is cooked to stick together.
Soy sauce is ubiquitous
There are many sauces in Korean, with soy being just one of them.
There is a lot of green tea and no coffee.
Actually green tea is slightly unusual in Korea, and coffee is quite common.
The Korean restaurants serve a fair amount of meat, western Korean restaurants even more so. But people don’t eat like this at home. Rice and kimchi are the two most frequently eaten items, with a lot of different side dishes and a little meat.
Beef is expensive, and only eaten on special occasions.
Enjoy a wide variety of barbequed meats cooked at your table. If it’s a special occasion, or just a change from the usual routine, then try the wide variety of Korean BBQ.