Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi is served at nearly every meal. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, gochujang (fermented red chili paste) and napa cabbage.
Ingredients and dishes vary by province. Many regional dishes have become national, and dishes that were once regional have proliferated in different variations across the country. Korean royal court cuisine once brought all of the unique regional specialties together for the royal family. Foods are regulated by Korean cultural etiquette.