As the sunny weather approaches, the shorts and flip-flops come out of our closets, and diet season stops us from eating the usual Korean snacks that take up a lot of room in our kitchen. How can you stop yourself from eating them when they are so easily available? Well, you don’t—at least not all of them.
Korean gastronomy actually has a wide variety of food types, and there are many delicious and healthy snacks to have during your diet. In fact, if consumed in moderation and correctly, they could benefit your diet results.
Here is a list of 8 healthy Korean snacks to not ruin your diet:
Kim Nori (Crispy Seaweed)
Crispy seaweed is one of the healthiest and most accessible snacks, considering it has become a trend in many western diets (such as the Paleo diet). Not only is it rich in fibres, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it is also extremely tasty. Although the usual packet is the roasted and salted seaweed, it comes in many interesting flavours—ranging from chili or wasabi, to green tea or teriyaki—which makes it harder to get bored. Next time you are grocery shopping, grab a couple of packets for when you are craving a taste of Korea!
Ojingeochae Muchim (Spicy Dried Squid)
Korean cuisine is very well known for its many spicy dishes, so is it really a surprise that one of the most popular snacks is fiery? Ojingeochae muchim is essentially dried squid that has been quickly boiled in gochujang (red chili pepper paste) and ready to serve. It may not be the easiest snack to have on the go, but it goes well with any meal or as a small but filling snack when you are feeling peckish, and is a great source of protein!
Yeongeum Jorim (Lotus Root Chips)
Similar to the dried seaweed snacks, but less sea-flavoured, these lotus root chips are high in fibre, minerals and vitamins. Usually cooked in soy sauce and corn syrup, the final result is a fine balance between sweet and savoury, with the perfect level of crunch. Not only this, but it is incredibly easy (and cheap!) to make.
Biteu Jeonggwa (Beetroot Confection)
Jeonggwa is a traditional Korean confection, and common recipes use ginger, lotus, carrots, apricots, bamboo shoots or winter melon. However, when using beetroot for this snack, it is not as sweet, making it healthier and containing less calories. Many beetroot recipes contain lemon juice, so the mixture between the sweet earthy beetroot and an element of citrous acidity.
Yul-Lan (Chestnut Cookies)
Although a very seasonal snack, these chestnut cookies are one of the most exciting parts of fall. They are virtually just crushed chestnuts, with a bit of cinnamon and honey to give it that extra autumnal touch. They are very rich in protein and extremely filling, so one of these cookies when you are hungry is enough to keep you going for a few hours at least.
Goguma-mallaengi (Crunchy Sweet Potato Chips)
Sweet potatoes are adored in Korea, and many recipes include them as an ingredient. When rice was scarce in Korea, many people used sweet potatoes as a replacement, and eventually it stuck. This snack is literally just dried sweet potato, and because of the amazing flavour of the tuberous root, there is no need to add any flavours or ingredients. It includes a good dosage of vitamin C and D, as well as potassium, and it is so easy to pack and take with you if you are in a hurry (or are expecting a long day at work). You simply cannot go wrong with this snack.
Tteokbokki (Rice Cake)
Although not so convenient to take out with you in a rush, rice cakes have become so popular both in South Korea and internationally, that the recipe variations are virtually unlimited. Whether you have it as a side dish in your meal, or buy it in one of the many food trucks around the Korean streets, this snack will not let you down. Not only is it filling, the texture is amazing and it is really easy to make.
Gyeran Bbang (Korean Egg Bread)
Korean egg bread is the king of street food in South Korea, as it is easy to bulk-make outside. The recipe variations are also so wide, that each vendor has their signature recipe. The base is made of dough and egg. Then other ingredients can be added depending on people’s tastes—bacon, herbs, cheese, tomato sauce… there are endless possibilities! Although it is possible to make this at home, buying them from the streets is an experience that must be lived.
That concludes the list of Korean snacks that will not ruin your diet! They're cheap and easy to make, and it's very hard to get tired of them. The best part is that they each have many variations—spicy, sweet, savoury, or a mixture of all!
Which of these sounds the most appetizing? Which snacks have you already tried? Let us know in the comments below!
For more food for your health, check out Post-Workout Korean Snacks!
Written by Lucille Bamber