A TRAVELLER’S GUIDE
KOREAN STREET FOOD
Street food can be found almost everywhere in Seoul, but none are more concentrated and varied as in the busy shopping district of Myeongdong…
As I wander the crowded streets, filled with skin care and cosmetic shops, I can’t help but wonder how Korea, with their obsessions on beauty and staying fit manages to stave off so much temptation with street food such as these.
As the sweet scent cling blissfully in the air as you walk by, from the looks at the lineups surrounding the busy stalls, it doesn’t look like they are trying much to avoid these offerings at all…maybe I’m missing something?
Either way, pushing sensibility aside…I’m absolutely not missing out on any of these incredible treats. Here’s a list of Soeul’s most famous street food dishes…
Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
At its simplest, Tteokbokki can best be described a oversized rice noodles. The real star of the show is the “gochujang”, the sweet and spicy orange sauce.
Made from fermented soybean and chili, when combined, these chewy bite-sized rice morsels are one of the most popular street food dishes in Korea.
(Kogo) Korean Corn Dogs
Like its American counterpart…it’s a hotdog covered in a deep-fried crispy shell.
(Kogo Part II) Korean Corn Dog w/ Fries
Want a side of fries with that?
How about just fuse it right in? Korean efficiency at its most innovative.
Odeng (Fish Cakes)
The minced fish is skewered and boiled in a savory broth.
Bundegi (Boiled Silkworm Larvae)
Popular with beer drinkers, this dish is essentially what you see is what you get.
Simply boiled and then eaten, the larvae burst in your mouth upon first bite.
Bungeo-ppang (Carp Waffles)
Shaped like little fish, but containing no actual fish, these sweet pastries are made fresh using a specially designed waffle-iron and then filled with a red bean paste.
Eomuk (Potato Cakes)
Encased in potato starch, these deep-fried cakes may contain a hotdog, white fish or minced crab meat.
Hweori Gamja (Tornado Potato)
Popular because of its appearance, Hweori Gamja is basically a potato chip that just won’t stop.
You have a choice of cheese, onion, BBQ seasoning, depending on the stall.
Fried Yaki Noodles
Pan-fried noodles with pork and vegetables. This hearty dish is a meal in itself.
Perhaps its not the best dish to start with if you feel like trying other dishes afterwards.
Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancake)
A savory crepe heavily fried with crab meat.
Crispy Deep-Fried Soft-Shell Crab
Deep fried with a salty batter until crispy, these soft-shell crabs can be eaten whole.
Grilled Crab Face
Making a mix of crab meat, roe and cheese, the entire head of the crab is used as the grilling plate.
Garnish with parsley and a crab leg.
Popular in many parts of Asia, the cuttlefish is dried and then seasoned with salt, chili, sugar…or a combination of either.
Hodogwaja (Mini Cakes)
Lightly grilled and carefully turned, these delecate rice cakes, filled with red bean or walnut melt as you bite into them.
Other Various Fried and Sauteed Meats
There are a variety of different meats that are skewered and drenched in a sweet and savory sauce.
It’s best to just try them all…
Songpyeon (Rice Cakes)
Made from glutinous rice and filled with red bean, sesame or chestnut.
The cakes are lightly dusted in powdered sugar to help prevent them from sticking.
Strawberries & Chocolate
Just as the title suggests!
Giant Ice Cream Cones
One of the most popular desserts-to-go, there’s always a lineup to get one of these giant ice creams.
That’s 62.5 Korean Won per centimeter!
Angry bunny eyebrows (non-edible) aside, it’s actually pretty sweet.
Brittle Sesame Candy
This hard candy is made in large chunks and broken into smaller pieces using a hammer and chisel.
(Gyeranppang) Egg Bread
A whole egg is steamed inside of waffle batter.
A quick and filling snack that is popular for breakfast.
A choice of rotating meats for $9 USD.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Hand-crafted to perfection…ah, the freedom of portible fire.
Besides corn you can also set many things aflame, such as…
…and lastly. If the street vendor does not specialize in only one particular dish, then chances are they specialize in everything.
If you still find yourself hungry, there are many other traditional Korean dishes to try. Highly recommended are the sushi-esque kimbap, the rice and meat mixed in a clay bowl dish of bibimbap.
One of my personal favourites is chicken & beer. C&B restaurants can be found throughout the busy areas of Seoul and it is exactly what it sounds like…you get some fried chicken and a beer.