Learn Korean Through Dramas: Top 5 Korean Dramas For Beginners & Intermediates


If you’re not watching Korean dramas ( 한국드라마) as part of your learning, you’re missing out. End of story.

Love triangles, dramatic heartbreaks, and learning Korean all at the same time? Saying no to that is like saying no to ice cream, kimchi, sunshine, days off from school and happiness.

It’s one easy way to learn Korean with no hassle.

So, as a beginner, it’s important to surround yourself in all things Korean and your television shows are no exception.

Here are top 5 easy-to-understand Korean dramas that beginners and intermediates can start off with to improve their Korean language.

1. 내 이름은 김삼순 (Nae ireumeun Kim Sam-soon, My name is Kim sam soon)

What’s the first thing you think when you hear the name “Kim San Soon”?

Yea, I didn’t think of anything either. But apparently, it’s not a good name. So please don’t name your child this and scar them for life.

It literally means “third girl.” Meaning, in the drama, her parents are showing their disappointment for having three daughters in a row, so they give her a crappy name. But that’s the charm of it. It’s an ugly duckling story where the ugly duckling is not so much of a duckling but a grown duck: a socially awkward, plain, chubby (by Korean standards) 30 year old woman (duck) with no luck (hey, that rhymes) in love.

But it’s not an ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan story.

It’s an ugly duckling gets some confidence and kicks major life butt story. You can also learn how Korean people make someone’s name by using the Chinese characters, and the meaning of names in Korean. Check out the series below…

2. 커피프린스 1호점 (Keopi Peurinseu Ilhojeom / The 1st branch of the Coffee Prince)

Warning: Guys might find this drama uncomfortable.

But, it’s quite possibly the most entertaining Asian girl-pretending-to-be-a-man plot in the world. In this drama, the main actress, Eun Chan, is mistaken by for a man by the main actor, Han Kyul. Thinking she’s a guy, Han Kyul hires her to be his “lover” so he stops getting arranged dates from his Grandma.

She accepts since she’s low on cash and also works with him at his coffee shop “Coffee Print.” Now this is a cafe that only hires guys… and they work together… and… feelings spark….and you see where this goes.

Then, WHAM!

She exposes her true self, and returns to being a female. You’ll notice the difference in male/female speaking style she changes her Korean accents and word usage after she stops acting like a boy. Kind of like you see guys using the particle 다 (da) and girls using the particle 요(yo) at the end of sentences. Check it out below:

3. 연애시대 (Yeonae sidae, Alone in Love)

The drama is about two characters who were once married but divorced because their baby died. Ouch. So, in their pursuit for love, they see other people. However, they still have feelings for each other… Which they cannot express… Because they want to make things difficult for no reason….

Hey! This actually sounds like real life! A realistic drama!

If you want to improve your Korean from beginner level to intermediate, check it out. The conversations are more realistic compared to other dramas. Something you can use too… when you have feelings that you cannot express… and make things difficult. The BIG BONUS here is that they use real-life daily conversational Korean which you can pick up. Check it out below..

4. 대장금 (Dae Jang Geum, Jewel in the Palace)

Warning: Most popular Korean TV drama of all time.

Interested about life in 16th Century Korea? Check this drama out.

It has 50 episodes, covering the life of Jang Geum from the beginning to the end.

As an orphan, she catches a lucky break, gains entrance to the Korean Royal Palace where her life drastically changes. She goes on to become the main chef of the Korean Royal Court. Then… the King decides to be a jerk, gets ill, dies and she gets blamed.

Aside from lots of Korean food and this being a great story, you can also learn some particles and words used in the Choseon dynasty.

If you don’t know the phrase 성은이 망극하옵니다 (seongeuni manguekhaomnida) yet, watch this drama. Korean people still use ancient phrases for their daily conversation… and this is something Korean learners will not come upon. Which will make you awesome if you know ’em. Check it out below…

5. 식객 (Sik Gaek, Gourmet)

Speaking of Korean food… I know you love it.

And you’ll probably watch a drama about food.

This drama follows two characters: Bong Joo and Sung Chan. Sung Chan is an orphan, taken in by Bong Joo’s family and they are raised as brothers. The family owns a famous restaurant which Bong Joo hopes to take over.

But no! His dad proposes a cooking contest for the two! Winner gets the restaurant.

So the two chefs-to-be suddenly become rivals. Amidst all that delicious food, one wonders… will they ever be brothers again?

In every episode, they show great foods mostly based on traditional Korean foods. Not only showing the dishes, you’ll be able to see how they made it, and the special meanings of the dishes. You can also learn Korean foods and cooking related words and phrases while salivating over their creations.

Check it out below:


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Pony Kick

Here is a blog that has some korean drama transcripts: http://practicekorean.weebly.com/


Thanks for this list! After much searching for how to watch these free online while living in Korea, I found this link that might help others (SBS channel on Youtube): http://www.youtube.com/user/SBSFreeVOD

Doris Clay

Thank you for these options! I already saw 2 of them (coffee prince, and soon shin) so I will watch alone in love.