The medicinal properties and complex symbolism of food are highly valued in Korean cuisine. Nourishing both the body and mind is the key to optimal health. Korean dishes are crafted thoughtfully, balanced artfully, and presented beautifully. Each ingredient interacts with the next to maximize health benefits and display a harmony of color.
According to Korean beliefs, five primary flavors represent the five elements: Sour is wood, bitter is fire, salty is water, spicy is metal, and sweet is earth. No single element is most important, they must join together. This unity is believed to influence our temperament and health and has profound ties to the world around us. Traditional Korean recipes, such as bibimbap, adhere to this principle of balance, thus creating a colorful and wholesome dish that has meaning far beyond taste.