South Korea – the eyes of many countries have been directed to this country for so long due to its extraordinary possession of quality television series, movies, music, dance and fashion that has captivated the interests of people from all over the world. It is undeniable that from the earlier years and even more today, the K-culture has hugely influenced and impacted many cultures and likings of individuals regardless of race, sex, belief, status and generation.
Of course, you cannot forget about food! Who forgets about that?! South Korean food is totally appetizing and alluring in both looks and tastes. When you are a fan of K-dramas, you know that these foods are more popular and magnetizing because of how they depict common and sophisticated eating and drinking. They can even make a simple convenient store food look and feel grand with the way they eat!
What’s amazing and delightful to know about Korean food is that lots of them are very healthy – probably one of the healthiest in the globe. From homemade food to restaurant-bought dishes, there are healthful options to find and munch on! South Korea is definitely a vibrant paradise of delish food inside and outside of home.
A highlight of a tourist trip in South Korea is the vast range of street foods which can be found in markets and food carts in crowded cities. This country is a home to beautiful and savory street food always worthy of a visit! There are numerous street foods you can see and taste in South Korea, and here are 10 of them that will surely make you drool and crave for more!
1 – TTEOKBOKKI
Appearing in almost every K-drama, movie and variety show, tteokbokki is one of the most well-known Korean street foods! When you see it, you will know that it is tteokbokki for sure because of its unique yet easily familiar look!
Tteokbokki is served as a set of tube-shaped rice cakes which can be prepared without a hassle and eaten with great ease! The rice cakes are white and plain as they are, but the red chili pepper sauce (gojuchang) adds the zest and the spice, literally! Together with the tangy zing is the sweet kick that comforts and excites the taste buds! A chewy and flavorful street snack, tteokbokki can also be served with other ingredients such as cheese, egg and many Koreans’ favorite addition especially for outdoor camping and healing trips, ramen/noodles.
You can find tteokbokki everywhere, and it deserves its spotlight on the street food scene for the uncomplicated glee and affordability it presents to people who eat it. Suprising for many, tteokbokki actually started in 1953. Truly, you get to taste not just sweet and spicy rice cakes when you eat this well-liked street food; you get to taste history too.
2 – JOKBAL
Pig trotters are on a different level of Korean street food. For those who want it greasy, they are a big pick! Jokbal is the name.
The pig trotter is boiled and rinsed. Pepper, bay leaves, spring onion, apple, onion, ginger, dried red pepper, garlic, rice wine, sugar and soy sauce are the ingredients usually combined together for the whole dish. Cooked with savory seasonings, jokbal is very rich in taste, it’d leave you wanting for more.
You might see unchopped jokbal in markets and be overwhelmed as you can wholly see the pig’s feet, but don’t worry, vendors can chop it for you! Pig trotters carry a good deal of collagen and protein which are good for the health, but eating moderately is a must because they can be oily.
3 – GIMBAP
Rice is a staple food in Korea. It is extremely loved, preferred and needed by Koreans for every yummy meal. That’s probably why gimbap is truly a favorite Korean street food and snack too!
Gimbap is composed of steamed white rice enclosing chopped veggies namely carrots, spinach and cucumber (not limited to these though). As a whole, the gimbap is rolled in a seaweed sheet and sliced into single rounds. You can see this brought to trips and picnics as it is easy to carry and can easily fill your tummy!
4 – BUNGEOPPANG
Bungeoppang can be commonly seen and easily desired because of its impressive and creative look! It certainly calls for an Instagrammable photo.
This is a fish-shaped bread jammed with beans and its major aspect, the red bean filling. You may liken it to waffles, but this uses a fish-shaped template. Its name has no relation to its taste, so don’t expect it to be fishy!
The golden color and crispy thrill make the kids and the kids-at-heart enjoy chomping on the bungeoppang big time!
5 – EOMUK TANG
Usually sitting close to tteokbokki in food stalls, eomuk tang is another familiar Korean street food.
These fish cake skewers are consumed with invigorating broth that can really comfort you! While the previous number looks like a fish but doesn’t have a hint of fish taste, eomuk tang is made of pressed white fish, so you get the touch of it. It’s perfect for cold and gloomy weather.
6 – GRILLED CHEESE LOBSTER
With fresh seafood that’s made homey and sweet, grilled cheese lobster as a Korean street food won’t let you forget it!
Grilled cheese lobster is not a typical food you can see on the streets, is it? It’s meant for restaurants, but being one of South Korea’s top street foods, it makes a wowing difference!
Expectedly, it’s quite pricier compared to others, but say it again. Melted cheese over mouth-watering grilled and buttered lobster? Goodness gracious!
7 – HWEORI GAMJA
A level up to the potato fries you know is this potato twist called hweori gamja. One potato fit in a long stick for you to relish, wow!
Hweori gamja is a stick of deep-fried spiral-cut (then widely stretched) potato. Flavors include onion, barbecue, honey, spicy, cheese and more. An eye-candy version is the one with scrummy sausage stuck to the stick!
8 – OJINGEO TWIGIM
Commonly considered as an appetizer, an afternoon grub, a side dish and a drinking snack, ojingeo twigim is a Korean seafood street food that looks like a tempura.
Giant squids are cut into long, narrow strips. The golden brown color says it’s well cooked and deep fried and ready to be bitten. Salt and pepper sprinkled above the ojingeo twigim add the savory tang! You may say it’s the Korean calamari too.
9 – HOTTEOK
Pancakes don’t have to be very complex. Hotteok knows what that means.
Stuffed with brown sugar liquid filling, hotteok is a sweet Korean flour dough pancake. The syrup doesn’t really go above it, it is within it. If you are a fan of cinnamon, you will love hotteok, yet even if you’re not, there’s no way you will regret trying it. Furthermore, vegans enjoy this because it is healthy and, basically, vegan-friendly.
Quite different from the typical pancakes you know, hotteok is fried with intended outer crispiness, preferably served directly from the pan! Yes, eat it hot, but blow carefully to avoid hurting yourself. That’s why hotteok is extra sought-after during winter. It’s warmth and tenderness make a superb combination!
And oh, don’t forget that hotteok has nut filling which boosts lively texture and taste to the simple-looking pancakes! More bliss can be found within!
10 – HAEMUL PAJEON
Korea surely has an inventive variety of pancakes, and here’s another yum-yum sort! Haemul pajeon (or simply, pajeon) is a fusion of assorted seafood and a delicious pancake mix.
The main and inevitable ingredient of pajeon is scallions or green onions. Fresh seafood is clothed with a distinct appearance, aroma and tang! You may have prawns, squids, mussels and other seafood for it.
Haemul pajeon is a Korean street food with an elegant look dressing luscious tastes and nutritious features!
SOUTH KOREAN STREET FOOD
Bustling sidewalks and alleys filled with life can be seen in many of South Korea’s crowd-pleasing streets! And it’d be really weird without those toothsome street food!
When you visit South Korea, make sure you don’t miss the chance to try them out and note which ones are your new favorites. Without a doubt, South Korean street food can make your Asian trip delectably unforgettable! They will make you drool and crave for more and more and more!
About the Author:
Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. She finds quality and well-researched writing as a worthwhile avenue to enlighten and delight others about things that matter. For her, it’s restoring and fulfilling to the heart and a great way to clear the mind while loading it up with fresh learning. Film critiquing and filmmaking are among her interests too. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.