Hi Daebak Fam! Something you won’t want to miss out on is all the delicious foods Korea boasts of. Don’t know where to even start? Well do not worry. Here is a list of top 10 Korean street foods that you have to try out at some point in your life.
First we have bunsik which isn't just one specific dish. Bunsik encompasses a variety of foods that are cheap and easily accessible. One type of bunsik is tteokbokki which are spicy rice cakes. There are many variations like carbonara, soy sauce, black bean (jjajang); but the classic is spicy rice cakes in gochujang sauce which is essentially chile pepper paste. Soondae– which is Korean blood sausage– is another type of bunsik which pairs perfectly with tteokbokki. In fact, it is encouraged to dip the soondae in the tteokbokki sauce. Another great pair for tteokbokki is fish cakes. The fish cakes are long and skewered on a stick and usually simmer in a fish base soup. The soup helps calm the spices of tteokbokki and warms up the soul during the cold months of winter. Kimbap is another classic Korean staple. If we break it down, “kim” is seaweed and “bap” is rice. Kimbap can really be made with any variation of ingredients. Typically they have spinach, carrots, egg, pickled daikon radish, and some source of protein which is all wrapped with rice and seaweed.
2. Gilgeori Toast
Gilgeori toast or street toast is another Korean classic and nostalgic for a lot of folks. Not only is it a hearty, quick meal but it is also very affordable which might be why it is so popular. It’s like an egg sandwich made with buttered toast, an egg omelet, shredded cabbage, and sometimes even cheese. A special ingredient is sugar as it gives it a savory and sweet combination of flavors.
Another popular street food is bungeoppang which is a fish shaped pastry. It’s a crispy, soft dough that is filled with red bean paste. It is a hot snack that is typically sold in the winter. However, variations of this can be enjoyed in the summer. For example, vendors sell bungeoppang filled with different flavors of ice cream and toppings.
4. Hweori Gamja
In the United States we have french fries. In Korea there is the hweori gamja tornado potato. What makes the hweori gamja so special is its spiral shape. A whole potato is cut by a certain machine and then it is stretched out on a skewer. It is then fried and finished off with different flavorings, such as cheese or garlic.
5. Korean Hot Dogs
Korean hot dogs are definitely something you want to try out at least once in your lifetime. They are usually either sausages or cheese sticks covered in dough and deep fried. Over the years, different variations have emerged such as hot dogs covered in chunks of potatoes and even special doughs like squid ink. Once fried, the hot dogs are often coated in sugar and paired with condiments like sweet chili sauce, ketchup, mustard, or honey mustard.
6. Korean Sweet Pancakes
If you want to try another fried delicacy, I recommend hotteoks! Hotteok is a sweet fried pancake stuffed with a sweet syrup that is made from brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts.
7. Egg Bread
Not to be confused with Korean street toast, egg bread is a simple staple during the cold Korean winters. It is essentially just bread with egg but the flavors are more complex; it's both sweet and savory. The batter is poured into the egg bread machine and then a whole egg is cracked on top. Both are then cooked until the egg bread has a golden brown color to it.
8. Korean Steamed Buns
Jjinbbang or steamed buns have been around for ages. These buns can either be savory or sweet. The sweet ones are typically filled with red bean paste and the savory version is made from vegetables and different types of meat. These are another favorite during the winter time as they heat up both your body and hands as you snack on them.
9. Sotteok Sotteok
I’m sure this snack is something you haven’t seen before. Sotteok Sotteok gets its name from how it is made. It’s the combination of sausage and rice cake “so” being the first syllable for sausage and “tteok '' meaning rice cake. Sausages and rice cakes are skewered onto a stick, one after the other. This sausage and rice cake kabob is then either fried or grilled and then coated in a ketchup and gochujang paste.
10. Foot-long Ice Cream
During the hot summer days, you might want to cool off with a foot long ice-cream found in Myeongdong. These tall ice cream cones come in a variety of flavors: chocolate, vanilla, green tea, milk, strawberry and even yogurt.
I hope reading this article didn’t make you too hungry. But now that you know some more about Korean street foods, are there any that you’re interested in trying? Let us know in the comments below and check out more K-foods and snacks on the Daebak website!