The Best Korean Cookbooks

From sour kimchi to spicy rice cakes and soft-tofu stew, the flavors, aromas and colors of Korean food both satisfies and surprises. Characterized by rice, meat and vegetables, it is also the sheer variety of dishes that’s rapidly making Korean cuisine the new must-have on the (kitchen) block.  And with a glut of rather excellent cookbooks now making it to the bookshop shelves, Korean food is also a quick and easy way to serve up authentic and super-tasty dishes at home – much to the delight of your family and friends.

Korean food

So, if you fancy trying your hand at making some delicious Korean street food or are up for cooking a full-on banquet-style meal, then check out our review of what we think are some of the tastiest and best Korean cookbooks currently out there. Enjoy!


Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking

Internet and vlogging star Maangchi leads the way when it comes to accessible and delicious Korean cuisine. Adapting her easy-going screen persona to her writing, Real Korean Cooking is an essential guide to authentic Korean dishes that’s a joy to use. It has been designed as a complete course in the essentials of Korean cuisine and as such is easy to follow and use. Maangchi takes you from simple dishes with minimal ingredients through to main meals and delicious side dishes to create a Korean banquet to stun your guests.

There’s enough in this book to entice the absolute beginner, with her choice of easy to cook dishes taking in the Korean classics such as spicy beef and vegetable stew as well as a whole chapter on the king of Korean food, fermented Kimchi. Each of the Korean recipes are beautifully – and effectively – illustrated and we particularly like the way Maangchi suggests substitutions for some of the harder to obtain ingredients. Although there are a few of the recipe classics missing, this Maangchi Korean cookbook is the ideal introduction that isn’t afraid to step it up a notch.

Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes

If you’re looking for a cookbook that shakes up the traditional format, then check out this fun Korean cookbook that looks just like a graphic novel. Featuring 64 authentic Korean food recipes, you also get a light-hearted comic style that for some may be much more accessible – and entertaining – than a straightforward cookbook.

Each recipe is set over one to three pages, and the cartoon graphics are pretty impressive, and you also get personal anecdotes and cultural insights from the writer, Robin Ha herself. But don’t dismiss this book as a cartoon take on Korean dishes, as the recipes are easy to do and delicious. From a starter guide to kimchi, quick and easy main meals and delicious sides, such as the awesome seaweed rice rolls, this is a straightforward guide to the best of Korean cooking. And the cartoon/graphic novel format and the author’s personal touches make it all rather charming. As a no-sweat, no-frills way to get into Korean cooking with a touch of humor, this would also make an unusual gift for the wannabe foodie in your life!

Our Top Pick

The go-to when it comes to learning the essentials for Korean cuisine, Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook is the perfect recipe for our review’s Top Pick. As an accessible and informative beginner’s guide, you get all in the insider know-how to create mouth-watering Korean recipes, and it has enough range to keep you progressing and wanting more. Not all the classics are there but this book from the ever-popular Maangchi is more than enough to whet your appetite for this delicious, authentic food.