Are Korean Dishes This Fattening?


Category : Food & Nutrition, General Dieting and Weight Loss

I had a very large Korean dinner last night. I had yukejan (a rich and spicy soup), bibimbap (sticky rice topped with egg, meat, and vegetables and drizzled with sesame oil), and tteok boki (rice cakes with eggs and vegetables), bulgogi (marinated barbecued beef), and an assortment of appetizers like kimchi and sauteed vegetables.

My companions didn’t like the rice cakes so I ended up having most of it. The servings at that Korean restaurant were large so I believe I had more than 4 servings of the rice cakes. I also had a healthy amount of the bibimbap and bulgogi plus a small bowl of the yukejan.

I was kind of worried with the caloric content of the tteok boki (rice cakes) so I googled it. And what I found out almost had me shouting in surprise. According to a website called TheDailyPlate, 4.75 cups of rice cakes contains about 995 calories so if I consume a cup, I’ll be getting approx. 209 calories.  But then I had 3-4 cups…And the bibimbap, well, two sites I found actually say that a cup of bibimbap contains 430-634 calories.  An ingredient analysis was made by FatSecret and I’m more inclined to agree than not.  The bulgogi has about 310 calories per serving so If I add up the calories I had from the bibimbap, bulgogi, and the tteok boki– I consumed more than 1367 calories.  And that’s a very conservative estimate because I haven’t even considered the appetizers and the yukejan yet.  By the looks of it, I had more than 1800 calories for dinner alone.

But it’s my fault, really.  Nobody coerced me to eat something big enough for a small family.  Hehe.

I also found out that 100 grams of kimchi has about 20 calories. So even if I have 300 grams of kimchi, I’ll be consuming just about 60 calories.  Thank heavens.


Comments (7)

Wow! With the high calorie content of Korean food, you’d wonder how most Koreans stay slim.

It’s very seldom that you see a “healthy” Korean walking around. Most of what I see are very slim.

I’m wondering myself. Maybe because they stuff themselves with kimchi so by the time the main dish is served, they can only eat sparingly?

It’s all about portion size. I know in my family, we all share the main dish, so you don’t get the same serving size that we’re accustomed to in the west. Also, I think most of the slender Koreans eat their one cup of rice, eat a lot of the side veggies, and only sparingly eat the meat/fatty portions of the meal. If you look at a lot of Korean recipes, the meat/fatty parts are used in small portions.

And you had a huge variety of food in one meal. It’s kinda like going to an American restaurant, ordering a steak, chicken linguine Alfredo, a crock of french onion soup, a quesadilla; eating it all; and then being surprised by the calorie count. ;)

Good luck with your journey!

Of course you had a lot of calories because you ate like 5 dinners totaled up! Each entree you mentioned, excluding side dishes, should be a meal.

Woah You had a HUGE serving! I normally would have had maybe 1/4 of that. I can barely finish bibimbap. I would probably not eat all of that.

I know this is an old post, but I thought I’d mention this.

A standard korean meal includes a ton of banchans, which are side dishes. Kimchi is just one of the numerous types, and most of them are comprised of vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables. Bibimbap, and bulgogi are both main dishes. Furthemore, ddeokbokki is a snack food item, not meant to be eaten in a huge quantity. Most koreans eat a small serving of a main dish, a small bowl of soup, a small bowl of rice, and around 3-5 servings of side dishes (veggies). This is why many koreans stay slim, because their meal is balanced and consists of more healthy food than fattening food, and is very filling. Basically, it seems like korean food is really high in calories, and it can be, but koreans don’t eat only main dishes, and eat small quantities when they do.

Additionally, kimchi is a common side dish; it’s usually made of napa cabbage, which is a watery veggie filled with fiber–and fiber keeps you full. Most side dishes are similar in making sure that you’re satiated and eat less of the calorie-heavy, main dish.

By the way, most korean food is served at the same time, so main dishes with side dishes.

Sorry for my rant, just wanted to let you know. :)

Everything contains calories. If you eat 4 cups of something, yes, there will be a high calorie count. If you want to reduce that number I would suggest not eating enough dessert for 4 people in one sitting.

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