10 Best Local Street Food in Korea

10 Best Local Street Food in Korea

Korea has always been one of the most visited countries in Asia. With beautiful sceneries, rich culture, and lovely people, tourists all around the world won’t be short on things to do while in this country. Another reason to visit Korea is their delicious food. You might have heard of famous Korean food like the Gimbap, or the Bibimbap, but you’ve barely scratched the surface! There are still a lot of must-try Korean foods, and what better way to try them all than to take them to the streets and go on a gastronomic adventure? Let´s go through the best local street food in Korea you should try at least once in your live:

1. Bbeongtwigi: Korean Puffed Rice

Bbeongtwigi is a popular Korean street food that’s made of rice. It’s usually made into different shapes, but it is most commonly shaped like a wide flat disk. Bbeongtwigi is made by placing the rice in a puffing machine and undergoes extreme pressure and heat to flatten and reshape the grains. It has a crunchy texture and a lightly sweet flavor. Ask the vendors to drizzle a bit of chocolate or caramel syrup on your puffed rice, or better yet, you can eat it with ice cream! 

2. Bungeo-Ppang: Korean Fish Shaped Pastry

 

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If you like pastries, the Bungeo-Ppang is a must-try! The word Bungeo-Ppang means “carp fish”, and this pastry is a fish-shaped treat with sweetened red bean paste filling. This is a traditional street food dessert in Korea that’s most commonly popular on the streets during winter because it’s served hot to help you warm up. If you’re not a fan of red bean paste, there are also other available fillings like custard, matcha, or chocolate. 

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3. Dakgangjeong: Korean Fried Chicken

Korean fried chicken is all the rave right now! Contrary to Western fried chickens, Dakgangjeong is marinated in salt, ginger, and garlic, then coated in potato starch before it’s deep-fried. Using potato starch instead of the usual flour gives the chicken a light, but very crunchy skin. But it doesn’t end there! It’s not Korean fried chicken if it’s not drizzled with a sweet sauce like soy, honey garlic, or gochujang. Finally, it’s topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, groundnuts, or chili flakes. If you want to try this Korean fried chicken at home, the ingredients are available at Asian grocery stores. Pair it with Korean soju, and you’re bound to have a good night!

4. Eomuk Korean: Fish Cakes

If you’re fond of watching Korean television shows or dramas, you might have noticed this street food that looks like a wave of thinly sliced tofu on a stick. It’s not actually tofu, but it’s a sheet of fish cake called Eomuk! You can see them submerged in a pot of stew, and when you eat it, you brush it with sauce to enhance its flavor and eat it as you would a barbeque.

5. Gamja-Hotdog: Korean-style French Fries Corn Dog

 

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Hotdog plus French Fries on one stick? Yes, please! American hotdogs are usually just hotdogs on a bun or a stick drizzled with condiments. But Gamja Hotdog is similar to a corndog except, instead of using cornmeal batter, Gamja-Hotdog uses dough as its batter and coated with diced potatoes before deep frying. That’s like the best of both worlds! Drizzle some ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, or whatever condiment you prefer, and you already have a perfect on-the-go snack.

6. Hotteok Korean Pancakes

 

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When you think of a pancake, you imagine the fluffy, smooth, golden disk smeared with butter and dribbled with lots of maple syrup you see every breakfast. Hotteok is similar, except that it has a nice bread-like texture that’s fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. And the main difference is that this Korean pancake has brown sugar and nut fillings. You won’t be needing any syrup for this treat because it’s already literally oozing with sweetness on every bite! If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, you can try Hotteok’s savory version which has vegetables, kimchi, or cheese fillings.

7. Kkoma gimbap: Baby gimbap

 

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Gimbap is like the Korean version of sushi. However, instead of raw fish or crab sticks, it is made of rice, cucumbers, carrots, kimchi, and cooked meat all rolled in a seaweed wrap, brushed with sesame oil, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Kkoma gimbap is its small version made with minimal ingredients. It’s easy to prepare and easier to eat, making it a perfect on-the-go meal or picnic snack.

Takeaway: In Korea, street food stalls are called Pojangmacha. It means “covered wagon” in Korean as most of these stalls are based out of wheeled carts or small tents with cheap chairs or benches where customers sit, eat, and drink casually at night. Pojangmachas are typically operated by middle-aged and elderly men and women called “ajussis” and “ajummas” respectively. In 2012, there has been a decline in the number of Pojangmachas due to government closures but modern pojangmachas in the form of food trucks with more comfortable seating and expanded street food menus can now be found in the streets of major South Korean cities like Seoul, Daegu, Busan, and more.

You may also like: 7 South Korean Dishes You Cannot Miss

8. Kkwabaegi: Twisted Korean Doughnuts

 

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Doughnuts are usually round with a hole in the middle. However, Korean doughnuts called Kkwabaegi are twisted almost like a braid. They are fluffy on the inside with the right amount of sponginess as with bread, and the outside is a bit crispy. It doesn’t have any fillings, but after the donuts are fried, they are coated with cinnamon powder and sugar. This dessert snack goes well with a glass of milk and your favorite jam.

9. Soondae: Korean Blood Sausage

 

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A street food list will not be complete without one exotic food or two, and Soondae Korean Blood Sausage fits the bill (and it’s not as bad as it sounds). It’s made by filling a cow or pig’s intestines with glutinous rice and cellophane noodles mixed in pig’s blood. You can also use a hollowed-out body of a squid as an alternative to intestines. You can also add perilla leaves, kimchi, or soybean sprouts to your sausage depending on your preferences.

You may also like: 10 Weird Street Foods To Try In Vietnam

10. Tteokbokki: Rice Cakes

 

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This is one of the most famous Korean street food snacks on this list. Tteokbokki is made of chewy rice cakes mixed with a generous amount of gochujang sauce. It usually has a sweet and spicy flavor that perfectly compliments the chewiness of the cylindrical-shaped rice cakes. There are also sweeter tteokbokki varieties that use honey as a drizzle. You can also add fish cakes to your Tteokbokki. Pro tip: Add lots of cheese when you make a bowl of Tteokbokki. It helps with the spiciness if you can’t tolerate it very well, and it enhances the taste too.

When you get a chance to go to Korea, don’t forget to include a street food crawl on your to-do list and make sure you try these delicious items. But, you can also get to experience them even in the comforts of your home by trying one of the recipes for these. You can get the ingredients at a Korean supermarket that offers authentic Korean flavors and premium quality products.

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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