Unusual Korean Street Food: Every Tourist Should Try These Dishes

Dec.10.2021
korean street food

Street food tasting is a must for acquaintance with the culture of South Korea. For travelers, this means a guaranteed explosion of emotions, because on the streets you can see very strange things – unusual rolls, sweet fish, potato spirals, maggots, and strange hot dogs. South Korea cannot be imagined without its interesting national cuisine, the fame of which has gone far beyond the borders of the country. We have prepared a Korean street food guide for you so that you know in advance what awaits you on the streets of this amazing country.

About Korean Street Food

popular korean street food

At first glance, Korean street food is very diverse, but in reality, it can be divided into 3 large groups: meat delicacies, seafood (octopuses, sea creatures), and pastries (for example, egg pies, kimchi pies, etc.). Also, street food in Seoul can be divided into food on a stick and one that you can eat with your hands.

Best Korean Street Food Worth Trying

street food in korea

Tteokbokki

best korean street food

One of the most popular Korean street food. Its basis is a garaetteok – rice cake in the form of white gummy sticks with a neutral taste. You can also find them easily as convenience foods in many supermarkets. For this interesting dish, the garaetteok is prepared with a paste of chili and fermented soybeans. Tteokbokki was once considered a dish for kings and courtiers, as it was not available to ordinary people. But today, anyone can try this spicy rice cake for a nice price. Typically, street vendors sell it in a sauce, skewered on skewers to make them easier to eat. Boiled eggs, green onions, and noodles are often added to this dish. Tourists should be prepared for the fact that this is a rather spicy dish that may seem even inedible to an unprepared person.

Kimbap

best korean street food in seoul

Kimbap or seaweed rice roll is an equally popular traditional Korean street food that every tourist should try. This dish is very similar to Japanese rolls, with which it is frequently confused, however, they are completely different dishes. The main difference is that it can be easily eaten on the go without the need for chopsticks. In addition, it is customary to eat it without soy sauce. This dish also does not include raw fish and seafood. The main ingredient in Kimbap is rice seasoned with sesame oil, and cheese, tuna, squid, beef, crab sticks, or regular vegetables and greens are most often added as the filling. These seaweed rice rolls are wrapped in nori and served as a roll cut into slices.

Pajeon

must try korean street food

These Korean street snacks are an interesting variation of Korean pies. They consist of wheat and rice flour, eggs, and lots of onions. Pajeon does not contain pepper, so you can take it from any food tray without fear of a fire in your mouth. However, these pies are fried in a large amount of oil, which is perfectly absorbed into the egg-flour mixture. Due to their fat content, they often serve as a snack for alcoholic beverages. There are also varieties with seafood (octopus, shrimp, and squid) called haemul pajeon.

Hotteok

trying korean street food

These Korean snacks are sweet pancakes made with glutinous rice or flour. Cinnamon-flavored brown sugar is commonly added, but currently, it is made with vegetables, nuts, and seafood. In addition, hotteok is usually white and round, but thanks to the efforts of local chefs, various types of hotteok can be found today, such as matcha hotteok with green tea.

Mandu

korean street food names

It is one of the most famous Korean street food. These are dough products stuffed with onions, pork, and kimchi. Walking the streets of Seoul, you may also come across vendors who sell mandu with pork and ginger, mushrooms, cabbage, seafood, or red beans. The best additions to this dish are oyster or soy sauce and sesame oil.

Bungeoppang

korean street snacks

Surely many have seen pictures of these goldfish on social networks. Inside these sweet fried cakes is a dark mass similar to chocolate. This often confuses tourists who rush to buy Bungeoppang hoping for a taste of the regular chocolate cake. Inside, however, you would find a red bean paste that can seem quite specific. Nevertheless, for the locals, this is one of the most favorite fillings for a variety of desserts. This famous Korean street food is best tasted freshly baked with a crisp crust and warm filling. You may occasionally stumble across options with cream or peanut butter, but the classic bean recipe remains the most popular.

Tornado Potato

famous korean street food

An unusual analog of chips is crispy potatoes in the form of a thin spiral on a skewer, deep-fried. Potatoes are also sprinkled with spices – the most common flavor is hot cheese. Occasionally there is a barbecue flavor, onion flavor, or simply a salty flavor. It is relatively new street food in Korea that comes from Seoul.

Kkwabaegi

korean street food list

We couldn’t help but include this wonderful dish on our list of the best Korean street food. This is a sweet curled snack. It is made from glutinous rice flour and ghee. The dough is deep-fried and then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon powder. Like most fried foods, kkwabaegi tastes much better when freshly taken out of the oil. It is rightfully one of the best Korean street food you can find on the streets of Seoul. If you have any extra donuts left, it is recommended to thoroughly warm them up in the microwave before the next use.

Dakkochi

about korean street food

This is a popular grilled chicken appetizer and served on a stick. Usually, such a kebab is poured with a sweet-spicy sauce. However, it is sometimes served simply seasoned with salt. Some vendors also put mustard sauce or mayonnaise on top of dakkochi. Some street vendors sell very spicy chicken kebabs called ‘bomb flavored chicken kebabs.’ And this name was given to them for a reason: they are hot spicy. If you like spicy, then be sure to try this particular taste!

Gyeran-Ppang

korean street food guide

‘Gyeran’ means eggs in Korean and ‘ppang’ means bread. Egg bread can be tasted both sweet and savory at the same time. The dough is made with flour, baking powder, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, and salt. It is then put into a Gyeran-ppang machine and the whole egg is broken into a dough. Then everything is cooked together until golden brown. This appetizer is especially popular in winter as it is very warm and satisfying. So if you find yourself in Korea in winter, be sure to try this street food.

Jjinppang

most famous korean street food

This unusual Korean street food with the interesting name Jjinppang first appeared on the Korean Peninsula about 250 years ago. Since then, buns have gained in popularity and have become one of the favorite snacks of Koreans. Jjinppang is usually filled with sweetened red bean paste, vegetables, and a variety of meats. Steamed jjinppang is the perfect snack during the cold winter months to keep you warm both inside and out.

Beondegi

top korean street food

One of the most exotic types of Korean street food is beondegi. It is a dish made from silkworms. The insects are boiled in a broth with hot spices. The result is a dish with a specific taste and smell. If you were not familiar with traditional Korean dishes before, then this food may seem rather unusual to you. Most often, tourists try boiled silkworms out of curiosity, wanting to get closer to a new culture. And for Koreans, beondegi is an affordable option for high-quality protein, which is so necessary for the body to function.

San-Nakji

traditional korean street food

San-nakji is considered one of the more unusual Korean street food. Not every foreigner dares to try it, because you need to eat the moving tentacles of an octopus, cut into small pieces, seasoned with sesame seeds and sesame oil. It is recommended to chew the product thoroughly before swallowing. The spontaneous contractions of the tentacles are not so pleasant, and the risk of choking still exists. Therefore, before eating, make sure that the octopus is cut into pieces and will not get stuck in the throat.

Garak-Guksu

types of korean street food

This dish is a must-try for all tourists. Garak-guksu wheat noodles are served with fish cakes and egg garnish. This Korean food is nutritious and perfect for a quick bite on the street. When preparing the product, the dough is rolled out and cut thinly with a knife. Korean noodles are cooked in a special broth. It is cooked mainly with ground beef and with the addition of soy sauce.

Gamja Hot Dog

Gamja Hot Dog

This is very unusual Korean street food: a hot dog on a stick topped with fries. Many foreigners who have visited Korea recommend gamja hot dog as the main thing to try on the street. Sauces, mayonnaise, mustard, or even sugar and cheese are added to corn dogs. It all depends on your wish. Korean street food is renowned for its variety and exotic flavors. When visiting this amazing country, be sure to try a couple of these dishes, you would be surprised. But keep in mind that some of them can be spicy for the untrained.

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