The essentials you'll need to create the strong, super-savory flavors of Korean cuisine.

With a medium heat and a slightly sweet finish, these red chile flakes are what make kimchi red and spicy. At Korean barbecue spots, they're often passed around the table to sprinkle on grilled foods. "Most spice in Korean cooking comes from gochugaru," says chef Hooni Kim.

Soy Sauce
"Every Asian culture has its own soy sauce," says chef Sang Yoon of Father's Office in Los Angeles. The Korean variety is less salty and more earthy than Japanese soy sauce.

Essential for kimchi, salted baby shrimp also lend seafood flavor to stews. Use them like you would anchovies—to add an intense burst of umami.

This chile paste is fermented, so it has a deep flavor. It's great mixed into condiments or as a thickener for stews.

"This bean paste is like a Korean version of miso," says Yoon. "It has a deep funk that you know as soon as you smell it. It makes a great base for casseroles. Doenjang is stinky, like the Epoisses of the bean-paste world."