Korean food is growing in popularity among Americans. According to Datassential, many of its dishes, including bulgogi, Korean BBQ and Korean fried chicken, are in the adoption or proliferation stages. Newer to the scene are dishes like bibimbap, banchan and gochujang.
We designed All Friends Beverage to complement the most on-trend, flavorful cuisine being sold in foodservice today. Here’s how our friendly food scientists suggest pairing All Friends with your favorite Korean dishes.
It’s possible that if you know only one type of Korean food, it’s Korean BBQ. It’s popular in American because there are few things Americans love more than BBQ, no matter what country it comes from. At the many immensely popular Korean BBQ restaurants around the country, diners grill their own meat at the table, enjoying various proteins that get dipped into deeply flavorful sauces like gochujang. Bulgogi is a popular option. It’s usually sirloin, ribeye or brisket that’s been marinated in soy or honey-based sauces. The sweet and savory come together in perfect harmony on this popular dish.
While it might depend slightly on the flavors you choose, Blueberry Chai is a great choice here. The dark berry flavor profile pairs exceptionally well with beef, as it’s strong enough to stand out and cut through the richness of the beef and the depth of the sauces.
Blueberry Chai flavor notes: Masala Chai, known in the US as simple Chai Tea, is generally black tea boiled with milk a spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, star anise, fennel. In our boldly colored beverage, this complex flavor profile of the chai is used to simply add balance and depth to the sweetness of the blueberries. Finally, we add lemon juice in order to add acid and balance the drink.
Jeyuk Bokkeum is a spicy pork-based stir fry. It features the popular “swicy” flavor profile of many Korean dishes. Thin slices of pork shoulder are marinated in gochujang sauce and stir fried. It’s popular with home chefs because it comes together quickly and easily and packs a huge flavor punch.
Pineapple Ginger is the best choice here (though for some Mango Chili might be a good option). Pineapple pairs beautifully with pork. The brightness, acidity and natural sweetness of pineapple helps to cut through bold flavors of the gochujang, and it acts as a palate cleanser.
Pineapple Ginger flavor notes: Ginger lends itself really nicely to all Asian cuisine profiles. It adds a warmth and complexity that consumers have generally accepted in beverage. We’ve also included tamarind notes, which is notable in another popular Asian cuisine—Thai. The tamarind lends deep flavor and richness to the overall profile.
This Korean comfort food is immensely popular at independent restaurants. Think your neighborhood mom and pop Korean spot. It’s still in the inception phase in Datassential’s food adoption cycle, but it has nowhere to go but up. It’s particularly popular among the Gen Z demographic.
Strawberry Hibiscus is a great fit for Bibimbap. For starters, strawberry is America’s favorite flavor. More than any other flavor in beverage, consumers are willing to try a strawberry-based beverage because they know they will like strawberry. That means it’s versatile and sure to please.
Strawberry Hibiscus flavor notes: Its popularity means it plays well with basically any protein, particularly Americas favorite, chicken. It also works as well with vegan and vegetarian options. It’s great with something glazed or sticky. In our paneling it came in a close second to the favorite to blueberry chai.
Korean Fried Chicken
Korean fried chicken is gaining in popularity. Thanks to chains like Bon Chon, it’s starting to stake its claim on the American palate. It’s entered the adoption phase on Datassentials chicken dish menu adoption cycle. It differs from American fried chicken because it’s usually double-fried, first at a lower temperature and then at a higher one. It gives it an extra crispy texture that people love.
We love Mango Chili with Korean fried chicken. If you love the spicy sauce option, our Mango Chili will turn up the heat. If you go with a milder temperature sauce, the mango chili will help add some heat to the experience. Either way, you gotta love heat because Mango Chili brings it.
Mango Chili Flavor Profile: This beverage is a great match for Southeast Asian flavors and also, obviously, Latin cuisine. It will stand up to bolder flavors up a spicy fried chicken but will work with more blank canvas meats like roasted chicken or beef. One thing is for sure, everyone will have an opinion on it.