Trying the street food of the country you’re traveling is a must-do thing to check off your list. When it comes to Korean street food though, it is often narrowed down to a few unless you go to crowded touristy places like Myeong-Dong. Here, we will provide you with some quintessential information you need to try out Korean street food. Here it goes, foodies out there, get ready!
01 Tteokbokki and Soondae
Tteokbokki, meaning mixed rice cakes, is the most popular Korean food you will find on the street stands. The bright red color might suggest the spiciness of this food, and yes, it is spicy for those who are new to spicy food. Tteokbokki has rice cakes in a red pepper paste sauce, and it is commonly served with fish cakes.
Soondae, on the right, is another dish commonly found along the street stands. It is blood sausage, having sticky rice or transparent noodles stuffed in pig or cow intestines. It often comes with a few slices of liver or lung. It is said that the liver is good for your eyesight, so might give it a go! Some might think this is gross, but you’re not alone. Some Koreans think so too.
02 Odeng (Fish Cake)
Odeng, a Japanese word meaning fish cakes, is the cheapest street food you might find. Around 500 won (4 HKD) a stick, fish cakes are popular among winter seasons. You will be able to find people gathered around fish cake stands and eating odeng off the stick. You can put on soy sauce to spice up the flavor. For this food, though, you don’t order. You just pick up as many sticks as you like and before you leave, the vendor will count up the number of sticks you ate and charge you accordingly.
* An insider’s tip: drink the fish cake broth served in paper cups which are free of charge. They are believed to be the best hangover cures!
So far we’ve looked at the three most popular street food you can find in Korea. Those three are the basic, the most common street food you can find. However, there are lots more when it comes to Korean street food! Let’s go over to Myeong-Dong, a shopping paradise and a must-visit place for tourists.
03 Mandu (Dumplings)
You might say that you can find dumpling anywhere you go in Asia, but Korean dumplings are different. They are about the size of your palm, quite large in size, and in the shape of a half moon. They are normally fried dumplings, and some stands offer a full dish with cabbage and lettuce inside. You can find these fried snacks along with food stands that sell Tteokbokki, since it is common for Korean people to put fried food in their Tteokbokki and eat them together.
You can find these steamed dumplings in sketchy street markets. They come with two different fillings; meat or kimchi. You can also mix them up when you buy, so give it a shot!
04 Kkochi (on a stick)
Street food is no street food when it is not on a stick. Koreans call it “Kkochi,” meaning “on a stick.” There are tons of variations for street food on a stick. The most common is Ddakochi, where small pieces of chicken are threaded on a stick, spiced up with teriyaki sauce. Another common kkochi is a sausage kkochi, where sausage serves as the main material for the stick, with the variation of fish cakes and rice cakes. Fish cakes can serve as a stick itself (bottom photo), sometimes wrapped in different food, such as bacon or sesame leaf.
The most famous kkochi, though, would be the tornado potato, where fried potato is screwed on a stick in a spiral shape, rolled on different spices, either barbeque or cheese. It is the midpoint of French fries and potato chips.
05 Bbang (bread)
Now time to spice up the sweet taste buds! Bread based street food can also be found everywhere, starting off with the universal waffles to egg bread. Waffles can have different toppings, the most popular one being yogurt ice cream. Egg bread means just one egg topped on a think loaf of bread.
The most well-known bread based snack, would be Bbongobbang, where red bean paste is stuffed into a bread cake in the shape of a fish. Bbong-o is a type of fish, and bbang means bread, so it literally means a fish-bread. This is a very popular treat in winter seasons. Of course, the fillings can vary, such as chocolate or vanilla cream.
How do you feel after you’ve gained some insight into Korean street food? Now it’s time for you to explore all these yourself!