Korean Sweet Potato Salad

Korean Sweet Potato Salad

Happy November! I can hardly believe it’s here already. This year is flying by and it will be Thanksgiving before we know it. In honor of that, I’ve got several food posts coming up this month. And in honor of my life here in Korea, I’m doing a series of Korean related recipes. I’m calling them my Korean fusion series of which, there are 4 recipes I’ve prepped so far. I will do my best to explain anything unusual but if you have questions, please let me know in the comments section or email me. I’m happy to help!

The first recipe I made for this is Korean Sweet Potato Salad. This potato salad is made using Korean sweet potatoes and Korean red pepper paste, among other Korean elements.

Korean Sweet Potato Salad

Gochujang, Korean red pepper paste, is present in a large number of Korean dishes. I must warn you, though, if you haven’t tried it, it is spicy. When using gochujang in the dish, start with a little & add more if you feel that’s to your taste. Better to start with less because once it is in there, there is no taking the spiciness out.

Korean Sweet Potato Salad

The gochujang will be mixed with vinegar to thin it out & sesame oil to balance the strong taste of red pepper. It will be tossed on the sweet potatoes while they are still warm so it coats well. However, once you start mixing it with the warm potatoes, the red pepper will heat & might sting your eyes & nose a little. So, it’s really best to start small & work your up. It will be totally worth it because, as is the case with most spicy foods, the taste is distinct and delicious.

Gochujang can be found in Korean marts, Asian marts & maybe even in the foreign food aisles. Here is a picture to help in the hunting:

Korean Sweet Potato Salad

Korean sweet potatoes, called Goguma, are actually NOT at all like sweet potatoes in America. The sweet potatoes at home are brown on the outside & orange inside. They bake up to taste very sweet & have a soft, mushy texture. However, Goguma is very different. There are 3 kinds of Goguma (that I know of):

  • Hobak Goguma – Pumpkin sweet potato. These are orange inside.
  • Bahm Goguma – Chestnut sweet potato. These are white inside.
  • Jasaek Goguma – Purple sweet potato. These are purple inside.

Goguma is much firmer in texture when raw and tends to have a yellow-orange coloring when cooked. In general, Korean sweet potatoes have purple skin, aren’t as sweet and have more a chestnutty flavor. For the recipe, I used Bahm Goguma (the white one). However, if these are difficult to find, any sweet potatoes will do fine!

Korean Sweet Potato Salad

Another Korean element I used for this recipe is depae samgyeopsal. Samgyeopsal is 3 layer meat, skin-fat-meat, often used in Korean bbq. Depae samgyeopsal is the 3 layer meat cut paper thin and usually sold frozen. Bacon will work fine as a substitute if this meat cut is difficult to find.

Korean Sweet Potato Salad

Also, optional for this recipe but extra delicious, colorful, and Korean style, add thinly sliced green onions & boiled eggs.

I hope you enjoy this one!

Fried Green Kimchi - Korean Sweet Potato Salad

Korean Sweet Potato Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4-5 Korean sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • *1/2-1 Tablespoons Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 lb. depae samgyeopsal/bacon, cooked & diced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced (optional)
  • 2-3 boiled eggs, sliced (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400°F & line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper then bake on the lined cookie sheet for 30-35 minutes, until fork tender.

While the potatoes are baking, brown the depae samgyeopsal or bacon over medium heat until cooked through & crispy. Drain & cut it into bite size pieces.

In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, gochujang, mayonnaise & sesame oil together.

Once the potatoes are finished baking, toss them with the gochujang mixture, while the potatoes are still warm. Top with samgyeopsal/bacon, green onions and boiled eggs.

Can be made ahead of time & chilled in fridge. Best if eaten within 3-5 days.

*The amount of gochujang used depends on the how spicy you would like the recipe to be. Use less for a milder recipe.

Metric Kitchens: 200°C; 226 grams depae samgyeopal


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