Korea is full of beautiful provinces, cities, and counties; and many people take advantage of the relatively small size of the country (in comparison to say, the United States) to take their cars out for a weekend vacation. Of course, these trips still take a long time, and people have to eat and use the bathroom at one point. That’s why one HUGE part of the road trip experience in Korea is… rest stops!
- Food Court
Rest stops are a great place to stop and refuel not just your cars, but your stomach as well! You can expect to find a variety of food (usually Korean) at the food courts in rest stops. Often, you’ll find kimbap, udon, bibimbap, fried pork cutlet, and ramen. These food courts offer affordable and high-quality food, so you might want to plan your road trip so that you can take your time exploring the meal options there!
- Food Stalls
Other than food courts, rest stops can be guaranteed to have food stalls galore. Besides your average coffee shops, there are also walnut cake (hodu-gwaja) stores that sell steaming hot pastries filled with creamy red bean paste and chopped walnuts, as well as manju stores that sell soft Korean pastries filled with creamy paste (either red bean, white bean, or custard). In addition, there are often small stalls that sell street food that is great if you’re looking for something small to eat. For example, they usually sell potatoes with salt, fish cakes, tteokbokki, and corn dogs!
Rest stops aren’t just for eating, they’re for fun activities, too! Some rest stops happen to be in scenic locations and have small areas set aside for sitting down, resting, and taking photos. The Geumgang rest stop (on the Seoul-Busan highway) even has a long promenade and swings fit for two. Most rest stops also sell souvenirs from the local province—perfect keepsakes for you to remember your exciting road trip!
These are just three highlights that you can expect from rest stops in Korea, but there are definitely a great number of them. If you ever drive out for a weekend, definitely take advantage of these rest stops and make the most out of your road trip experience!
Written by Lynn Lee