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Must-Try Korean Street Food

Posted by Sarah Wong on

Must-Try Korean Street Food

When planning a dream vacation, some may look forward to sightseeing or museums the most, but for a foodie, street food is where it’s at. There is no better way to experience a country’s culture than when enjoying its street food. Whether you’re walking around the city during the day or night, you can always smell or hear something inviting you in for a taste. Street food in Korea can be described in three magic words: quick, cheap, and delicious. Here are some popular Korean street foods you MUST try the next time you visit Korea:

Hotteok

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This isn’t your standard hotteok with cloyingly sweet sugar and syrup filling, this is the good stuff filled with japchae (glass noodles) and haemul japchae (spicy seafood), respectively. The savory ingredients are seasoned aggressively (salty, peppery, and curried?) while being encased in a soft, chewy, doughy pancake that’s surprisingly non-greasy despite basically being deep-fried. One bite of these guys and you’ll regret having wasted precious stomach space with the normal varieties. . As mentioned in the previous post, I make sure to stop by Namdaemun whenever I’m in the area, so I made the short trek over after my appt. in City Hall yesterday. It must have been my lucky day because the line was minimal (arrived at 11am) and one of the owners was kind enough to explain why theirs was better than their copycat competitors. With a proud look on his face, he goes, “Well, we sell over 1,000 every day and we believe it’s because of our batter. We mix in a certain ratio of corn and glutinous rice flour, which keeps the filling moist and flavorful while creating an outer crust that’s chewy and crispy at the same time. Others use wheat flour as their base ingredient, and that will soak up any oil you fry it in. Also, the hotteok will become dry and hard over time if you don’t eat it right away, which is never a good thing. We are thankful to our regular customers who can distinguish the difference, which has allowed us to thrive for over 20 years.” 🙌 . . . . . #호떡 #잡채호떡 #꿀호떡 #남대문맛집 #전통맛집 #오래된맛집 #맛집 #먹방 #먹스타그램 #맛스타그램 #일상 #데일리 #오늘뭐먹지 #냠냠 #koreanfood #hotteok #japchaehotteok #streetfood #foodie #delicious #namdaemun #foodporn #foodstagram #instafood #eater #igdaily #seoul #korea #seriouseats

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Hotteok is best described as a filled Korean pancake. Some places offer a savory option with a japchae filling;however, the original, sweet hotteok will always be a fan favorite. The original hotteok is filled with a brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnut mixture. The beautiful crispy, golden brown exterior is appealing on its own; however, when you take that first bite of sweet, sugary, and nutty goodness, you will be left wanting more.

Gyeran-Bbang

There’s something about the smell of freshly baked bread that leaves a smile on your face. Gyeran-bbang is one of the most popular winter street foods. “Gyeran” means egg, while “bbang” means bread. Put it together and voilà! You have Korean egg bread. Some describe the bread as a sweet, cornbread-like flavor - just without the corn. The addition of a whole egg certainly makes this snack both hearty and filling. Be sure to eat it while it’s still warm to achieve maximum satisfaction!

Gangjeong

For all the chicken lovers out there, here is the dish for you. This Korean style popcorn has a perfectly crisp exterior, is cut in perfect, bite-size pieces, and is covered in sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce. To complement the crispy chicken pieces, some places include rice cakes for a slightly crispy and pleasantly chewy texture. Don’t bother looking for a fork because this addicting dish is meant to be consumed with a toothpick.

Bungeoppang

Think these cute fish pastries look very similar to the Japanese taiyaki? You’re correct! Bungeoppang (Bung-eo-ppang) is the Korean word for taiyaki. Traditionally, this fish’s pancake-like exterior is filled with red bean paste, but people today are filling them with all different kinds of ingredients such as matcha, ham and cheese, chocolate, and Nutella. Even bungeoppang ice cream cones are becoming more popular. They also come in tiny fish sizes. Not only are they adorable, but you can also eat a ton of them and not feel too guilty.

Eomuk guk

If you are looking for a simple, light snack to warm you up, this is the dish to try. Eomuk guk (or odengguk) means fish cake soup in Korean. Usually, when one buys eomukguk, they get a fishcake skewered on a stick with a cup of light, savory broth.    

Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki is a very popular street food dish, known for its tender rice cakes, covered with a mouthwatering sauce that is both spicy and slightly sweet. Often, slices of fish cake or ramen would be incorporated into this dish as well. This dish is a snack that is perfect to have in any season and at any time of day.

Pajeon

Pajeon is not anything like your regular pancake. Unlike traditional American pancakes, the main component of Korean pancakes are vegetables such as scallions or green onions. A popular choice is haemul pajeon, or seafood Korean pancake, which can have clams, oyster, or squid. The vegetables and seafood are mixed into an egg mixture and pan-fried until each side is beautifully golden brown. Don’t let this pancake fool you. Although it looks light and healthy, it will fill you up fast.

Soondae

Soondae is a Korean blood sausage filled with pork blood, glass noodles, and rice. There are many ways to eat soondae. Some dip the popular blood sausage in gochujang or a sauce of the owner’s creation, while others eat it plain. In the drama Strong Woman Bong Soon, Bong Soon orders soondae with soybean paste. This unique Korean blood sausage may sound strange, but it is worth a try.

Korean toast

Korean toast is perfect for an on-the-go breakfast. This breakfast sandwich is comes packed with ham or sausage, finely sliced cabbage, carrots, cheese, egg, and ketchup. To add an extra taste of happiness, sugar is often lightly sprinkled on top of each slice of buttered toast. Korean toast is all you could ever wish for in a breakfast sandwich.

Hodugwaja

Hodugwaja is a Korean walnut cake, similar to a bungeoppang with a different shape and filling. Not only does the filling have red bean paste and small walnut pieces, but the whole pastry is shaped like a walnut, making it fun to eat and easy to travel with. A bag of these walnut cakes is the perfect snack during the cold Winter nights.

Beondegi

Beondegi is boiled or steamed silkworm pupae. Although beondegi seems like a bizarre street snack, it is quite popular in Korea. Some people describe beondegi as having a nutty taste, similar to that of boiled peanuts. This snack is served in a small cup with a toothpick to eat with. If you are feeling adventurous and are looking to get your protein for the day, try some beondegi.

Korean Hot Dogs

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#먹스타그램 #핫도그

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Korea knows how to do hot dogs right. The plain Korean hot dog has mozzarella cheese for an extra touch of savor and panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch. After frying, the hot dog is rolled in sugar and topped with ketchup and mustard, making this snack the perfect balance of sweet and savory. As if the cheese corn dog wasn’t enough, Korea also has a french fry corn dog. That’s right. A hot dog dipped in batter, rolled in french fries and fried. Korean hot dogs are a food lover’s dream.

Those are just a dozen must-try Korean street food snacks. The street food culture in Korea is vast. Which Korean street food snack is your favorite? Be sure to comment down below to let us know.


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