When you hear the words fish and bread right next to each other, do you think of an unsavory bread that has fish as a filling or a fish-shaped bread? The latter is the correct answer. Bungeo-ppang (붕어빵) is a fish-shaped street food that is made right in front of you. The word Bungeo (붕어) means crucian carp and Ppang (빵) is bread. Very cute, and over all delicious!
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One of my favorite childhood memories is eating Bungeoppang #붕어빵 from street vendors during winter months. ⠀ Bungeoppang is a fish-shaped pastry stuffed with red bean paste; one of the most common street foods in Korea. - Anko, a dessert cafe in Koreatown, fills the pastry not only with red bean paste, but also different types of cream fillings like custard and chocolate.
Bungeo-ppang is made with wheat flour and usually filled with red bean paste; however, it can be filled with other things such as a cream like filling, and its served warm. The batter is put into a waffle iron which is in the shape of a fish, hence why its name can be translated to “carp bread”. It might seem similar to the Japanese Taiyaki treat, another fish-shaped bread that at first may seem identical to the Korean version of the pastry. Bungeo-ppang actually originated from this dish. In the 1930’s, Taiyaki was introduced to Korea during the Japanese occupation from 1910-1945. Over time, the dish has has some minor changes as the Korean natives made the pastry one of their own. Its shape was one of the most noticeable changes. Taiyaki is slightly bigger allowing for more filling to be put inside, while Bungeo-ppang is smaller.
Bungeo-ppang wasn’t always this popular. It declined in popularity during the 60’s but rose back during the 90’s due to nostalgia. Now, Bungeo-ppang still remains as a popular winter street food that keeps you nice and warm as you eat it. If you’re ever in Los Angeles, consider heading to the Hankook Market in Koreatown to try this delicious pastry
Want some Bungeo-ppang during the hot summer months? There’s a dessert called Ah-Boong (아붕), which is a fish-shaped bread filled with ice cream instead of the usual red bean paste or cream filling. Somi-Somi, is a creamery which is also located in Los Angeles. Its known for their Ah-Boong with four choices of ice cream: green tea, milk, black sesame, and ube. The fish pastry itself has various fillings and topping you can add to make this delicious treat even more mouth watering.
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For those of you who aren’t near a location that sells this treat or if you want to try to make Bungeo-ppang, JinJoo has an easy and delicious recipe on her blog You can follow her recipe and have fun with your friends and family. The tricky part is getting the mold but you can find one on Amazon or other online shops; as for the filling you can add anything you’d like and can find the ingredients in your local Asian market.
Whether it’s warm and toasty or in the form of a neat ice cream cone; home-made or freshly baked from a shop, this pastry will have your mouth watering and your cravings satisfied no matter what time of the year it is.