Korean Street Food – 25 Delicious Food Everyone Must Try!
When we travel abroad, the most essential things we need to do is to try their traditional street food to feels like a local, isn’t it? Korean street food is underrated among foreigner who visit Korea since most people come here for fashion, theme park, cafes or beauty stuff. However, if you want to know how it feels like to live like a local, then korean street food is the one you don’t want to miss.
Table of Contents
Korean Street Food
After surf the net for a while, I found 25 korean street food you must try in korea. Let’s go to each one of these Korean street food and let’s see if you want to try some of this korean food as you visit korea.
1. Kimchi Mandu (Kimchi Dumplings)
Kimchi Mandu 만두 is actually a korean version of Jiaozi (China) and Gyoza (Japan) dumplings. kimchi dumplings are filled with a mixture of kimchi, pork, tofu, bean sprouts, onions, and scallions. Korean Mandu can be fried for a crunchy texture or steamed.
2. Yakgwa (Korean Honey Cookies)
Yakgwa is a traditional honey cookie that’s shaped like a flower. yak actually means medicine, and gwa means sweet. Yakgwa is so named because of the health benefits and sweetness that honey has. This snack is prepared by deep-frying instead of baking, made with simple ingredients like sesame oil, rice wine, honey, and ginger.
Bungeoppang (붕어빵) is a fish shaped pastry that are often filled with something inside. In the old times, the only available fillings were sweetened red bean paste, but as time goes by, it created more choices for their fillings, such as custard, nutella, and even peanut butter.
4. Gangjeong (Sweet Rice Puff)
Gangjeong is a sweet rice puff snack that looks similar to yoghurt bars and crispy rice. It was the improvisation of the origins Chinese snack called sachima.
To make this, a sugar syrup is used to hold all the contents of gangjeong together. Gangjeong comes in lots of flavors of seeds and nuts and even dried fruit.
5. Goguma Mattang (Korean Candied Sweet Potatoes)
Goguma Mattang (고구마 맛탕) is a deep fried chunky sweet potatoes that are coated with caramelized sugar. It taste crunchy outside and soft inside.
Actually, Mattang originated in China. They have a cooking method called 拔絲 (básī), which roughly describes the sugar caramelization process. Then later on Korean reinvented this mattang into Goguma mattang, korean version of mattang.
6. Hodugwaja (Korean Walnut Pastry)
Hodugwaja (호두과자) is a popular Korean street snacks, it’s a walnut shaped cookie or better known as Korean walnut cake or Korean walnut cookie. Korean walnut pastry is filled with sweetened red bean paste and small chunky walnuts. The taste of Korean walnut pastry is quite similar to Korean fish shaped pastry – bunggeoppang (붕어빵).
7. Chapssaltteok (Red Bean Mochi)
Chapssaltteok (찹쌀떡) is a Korean version of Japanese mochi rice cake, daifuku. I guess many of you can guess from it’s appearance that this was a korean version of Mochi rice cake. It is a popular Korean snack during winter months.
This is also a popular gift for wishing someone good luck. Chapssaltteok dough is made with glutinous rice, so it has a soft and chewy texture. And, inside is filled with sweet red bean paste, so it’s described as red bean mochi.
8. Songpyeon (Pine Rice Cakes)
Songpyeon is a traditional Korean food made of rice powder. It is a type of tteok, small rice cakes, traditionally eaten during the Korean autumn harvest festival, Chuseok. It is a popular symbol of traditional Korean culture as it was told that this food is a symbol of prosperity and success.
Songpyeon is usually filled with a red bean paste and comes in a various colours. These colours are created using natural ingredients such as gardenia seeds, mugwort, cinnamon, and dried fruit powders. The rice cakes are then steamed on a layer of pine needles.
While the traditional ones come shaped like a half-moon, many people have gone the extra mile during the festive season to create more intricate designs.
9. Dakgangjeong (Korean Popcorn Chicken)
Korean popcorn chicken (Dakgangjeong, 닭강정) is a popular Korean street snack in Korea, I believe you already tried this somewhere either in korea or your own country. This chicken is deep fried and coated with Korea’s spicy and sweet sauce. This is a really good simple fillings food when you need an instant gratifications for your hungry stomach.
10. Odeng-Guk 오뎅국
Odeng is a fish cake soup that is really popular in South Korea, especially during Winter season and cold temperature. Odeng is actually the pair of Tteokbokki. You will eat Odeng while order Tteokbokki as well.
11. Hotteok (Korean Pancake)
Hotteok is a popular Korean street food that’s essentially pancakes filled with brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts and seeds. Same like the other, this food is actually also origniated from China, which known as shao bing in Chinese. It was brought into Korea during the Qing Dynasty when Chinese merchants come to do some trading in Korea.
It taste chewy inside and crispy bite outside when it’s fried. It has various flavors, but honey and brown sugar are the most mainstream taste people ordered.
12. Gukhwappang (Chrysanthemum Bread)
I believe we all imagine flower, or tea, when we heard Chrysanthemum word. However, this one is not flower nor tea, this one is korean bread that takes form of chrysanthemum, without the flower taste of course.
it taste more like Japanese taiyaki. You can find this bread in Insadong as you pass by looking for korean traditional souvenirs to bring back home. This Chrysanthemum bread usually filled with sweet red bean, however some stalls offers other flavor such as honey and peanut.
13. Kimchi Dubu 김치두부
Kimchi-dubu is a Korean dish that contains tofu and stir-fried kimchi. It’s texture are soft and warm, usually served with kimchi stir-fried with pork, with Soju for the beverages.
14. Yache Twigim 야채튀김
Twigim (튀김) korean street food means deep fried dishes in Korean. While Yache Twigim 야채튀김 are vegetable fries as Yache means vegetable.
15. Ojingeo Hui 오징어회
Ojingeo Hui 오징어회 is more known as Squid Sashimi. Ojingeo hui is a squid served with salt in sesame oil or with gochujang (red-pepper sauce).
16. Gyeran-mari (계란말이)
Gyeran-mari is an egg folded roll, extremely popular and served at nearly every pojangmacha. The ingredients are cheap and easy to prepare. It looks pretty similar to a Western omelette, and if you are accompanied by a picky eater, or one who doesn’t like spicy food, odeng and rice will be a perfect companion.
17. Dalkbal 닭발 (Chicken Feet)
Dalkbal is korean version of chicken feet, many countries make this as well. What makes it different is that this is really spicy. Chicken feet, or “dakbal”, are usually eat with alcohol. Dakbal usually consists of a pile of feet chopped off at the ankle.
18. Jeyuk bokkeum 제육볶음
Jeyuk-bokkeum (제육 볶음). is a Korean spicy stir-fried pork. Jeyuk Bokkeum was served as a main dish, you can mix it with rice and ban chan.
19. Odolbbyeo (오돌뼈)
Odolbbyeo (오돌뼈) literally means Cartilage, this food is actually a spicy stir-fried pork cartilage, perfect companion with rice.
Actually we all know that this one is the most famous korean street food, Tteokbokki. Tteokbokki is a spicy rice cakes with gochujang sauce. The rice cakes are chewy and the sauce is sweet and spicy.
21. Ddangkongppang 땅콩빵
Ddangkongppang (땅콩빵) is a peanut bread and it’s named so because it’s shaped like a peanut. It’s very fragrant and the smallest Korean street snacks. The dough is not too dry, crispy, and very easy to eat. It usually costs 2,000 won for 12 pieces.
22. Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken is really famous and served as daily food among koreans. It consists of tender, small chicken pieces coated in spicy honey sauces, sesame seeds, garlic, peanuts, and chili flakes. Korean fried chicken tastes even better with beer (maekju).
Kimbap is Korean sushi with vegetables and pickles, usually wrapped in seaweed. since this one is adopted from Japanese Sushi, so there are also fillings similar to sushi. such as meat, spinach, tofu, pickled radish, and egg roll.
Bindaetteok is a savory mung bean pancake. These days, Bindaetteok includes many other ingredients like cabbage kimchi, ground pork, sprouts, or onion. Originally, it had toppings of savory chunks of pork.
25. Jjinppang 찐빵
Jjinppang (찐빵), or “steamed bread” is a very popular steamed bun in Korea. The texture of jjinppang is fluffy, a little harder than normal buns, and they are usually filled with red bean paste. Jjinppang is made in many different colors, and also different fillings, such as meat, cheese, green tea, etc. They usually cost around 4,000 won for 6 pieces.
Korean Street Food Etiquette
When travelling to a new country and trying a different cuisine for the first time, it is always important to be respectful of the local customs and etiquette. This is especially true when eating street food in Korea, where there are strict rules of etiquette that should be followed.
Here is a primer on Korean food etiquette that will help you enjoy the best street food in Seoul without offending the locals:
- When eating noodles, use chopsticks to hold the bowl close to your mouth and slurp the noodles loudly. This may seem impolite to Westerners, but slurping noodles is considered good manners in Korea. It shows that you are enjoying the food!
- Don’t leave any food on your plate when you’re finished eating. In Korea, it is considered rude to waste food, so make sure you clean your plate before you leave.
- When sharing dishes with others, use chopsticks to take food from the communal dish instead of serving yourself. And, be sure to take turns so that everyone gets a fair share.
- Don’t stick chopsticks into rice or other dishes; this is considered bad luck in Korea. Instead, rest your chopsticks on the side of your plate or bowl when you’re not using them.
- Finally, say ‘jal meokkessumnida’ (잘 먹겠습니다 ) before the meal and ‘jal meogeosseumnida’ (잘 먹었습니다) after the meal. This actually means ‘I will eat well’ and ‘I eaten well’. Afterwards, don’t forget to say “thank you” (gamsahamnida)!
Where to Find The Korean Street Food in Seoul
There’s no shortage of great street food in Seoul. In fact, the city is teeming with delicious Korean street food on every corner. To help you navigate the street food scene, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to find street food in Seoul.
- Gwangjang Market: This traditional market is a great place to start your street food journey. With a lot of vendors, there’s something for everyone here. From traditional Korean dishes to international fare, Gwangjang Market is a true street food paradise.
- Namdaemun Market: If you’re looking for a more traditional street food experience, head to Namdaemun Market. This historic market is full of stalls selling Korean staples like kimbap (rice rolls), bibimbap (mixed rice), and dumplings.
- Myeongdong: One of the best place t get Korean street food at evening after shopping a whole day.
Best Korean Street Food
Korean street food is an exciting and delicious way to experience the vibrant culture of Seoul. From delicious hotteok pancakes to spicy Korean tteokbokki, there’s something for everyone no matter what season you came and what mood you are in.
We hope this list can help you explore and try some of the best Korean street foods as you travel here. If you get a chance to visit, be sure to try out as many dishes as possible before you leave!
Let us know which korean street food you love the most ? Have you ever try one of these street food? I think many of them are quite hard to find in another country, that’s why it is best to try it when you come here.
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