Korea is known not only for its music, movies and exciting history but is also known for its interesting and delicious street foods. Korean Street foods are actually a part of Korean culture. A visit to Korea will not be complete without trying their best selling and delicious street foods, not to mention the price range of Korea’s street food are budget friendly. In today’s guide, let us go through some of the most popular Korean street foods that you must try when visiting the country.
Popular Korean Street Foods
Korean Street food sold by street food vendors on street food stalls have become a part of Korean’s culture. Not only it is loved by local but it is one of tourist’s a-must try when in Korean. Let us together discover the best Korean Street foods that you’ll surely indulge in.
Tteokbokki (Spicy Stir Fry Rice cakes)
Tteokbokki is a popular food in Korea. Its popularity increases when it can be seen served in famous Korean Kdrama. Tteokbokki also means Stir fried rice cake or spicy rice cakes.
These are spicy fried rice cakes that is also served with Gochujuang sauce or also known as Red Chili paste. With Rice cake and Red Chili paste combined, you will be definitely getting for yourself a combination of spicy and sweet Korean food.
Most of the time, Tteokbokki is served in large batches, placed on flat pans on street food stalls. Other stalls served Tteokbokki by placing it on a cup as to-go food.
Not only is Tteokbokki a popular Korean street food but a perfect side dish that goes well with meat and fried vegetables.
Tteokbokki can be eaten a plain rice cake but you also have the option to add in different garnish such as boiled eggs, seaweeds or walnuts.
Soondae or Sundae (Blood Sausage)
Soondae is also known as Korean Blood sausage. Although it may look unusual, but once you get to try this dish it actually tastes and smells so good.
This delicious Korean snack is made from using different parts of an animal such as pigs and cows. Most of the time, animal parts such as the intestines, lungs and the liver are used. It is wrapped to look like a black pudding.
Soondae food is usually accompanied with Tteokbboki where most of the street food stalls sells the “Tteoksoon” combo which means Tteokbboki combined with Soon for Soondae.
To make Soondae dish more delicious, you can pair it with Korean’s dipping sauce. Most of the time, salt is usually served as a dipping sauce but in other region such as in Busan a Soondae is usually paired with a dipping sauce called Makjang. A sauce that is made by mixture of Doenjang (soybean paste) and Gochujang (red chili paste).
Mandu (Korean Dumplings)
Mandu is a Korean dumpling commonly seen in Korean Street food stalls. It is made with minced meat, green onions, garlic, glass noodles and green onions. The meat that is usually used in this Korean dish is pork meat.
Although Korean dumplings is popularly known as a Korean street food, most Korean restaurants also sell this dish and can be eaten not only as a snack but can also be eaten as part of a meal.
There are different varieties of Korean Dumplings in Korea, but the most common Mandu variety found in Korean Street food stalls is the meat dumpling and the Kimchi dumpling.
Cannot decide which dumpling variety to choose from? not to worry you can request to Korean Street vendor to put each of the variety in a single takeaway box.
Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried chicken)
The word Dak means Chicken in Korea, therefore as the name itself presents, Dakgangjeong is a Korean Fried Chicken.
To make this chicken version juicy, you may want to marinate it with milk for a few hours although there are other marinade sauce to use such as the Dakgangjeong or the Sweet chili sauce. After marinating it with milk, you can massage the chicken with ginger, salt and garlic. To make the chicken crispy and crunchy, tossed it into starch such as potato starch.
After frying the marinated chicken, mixed it with sweet and spicy sauce then topped with sesame seeds.
The chicken parts used to in Dakgangjeong are mostly chicken wings, thighs or the breasts. Either of these chicken parts, the taste of the fried chicken will still be the same.
Eomuk (Korean Fish Cake)
Eomuk or also known as Korean Fish cake is another delicious street food. It is made from a batter of fish meat or powdered fish combined with flour and vegetables. Since Korea has an abundant supply of fish, Eomuk is very popular in Korea and is usually on Korean Cuisine. Not only popular as a Korean street food but also can be eaten as the main dish.
There are two different types of fish cakes: folded and zigzagged, and the long fish cake. Regardless of the type of fish cake, the taste is still the same. Though most of the time, long fish cake is more preferable as it can somehow maintain its texture for a longer period of time as compared to the folded and zigzagged type.
In Korean Street stalls, Eomuk is usually skewered then placed in a broth made from vegetables and seafood before it is being served to customers.
Bap Burger (Korean Rice Burger)
In Korea, Bap means “Cooked Rice”, therefore the Korean street food dish is known as Korean Rice Burger. Basically, Bap Burger is a burger with compressed rice used as buns. The compressed rice is used to hold together in the middle other ingredients on the burger such as the meat and the vegetables.
Not only is Bap Burger a popular Korean street food because of how delicious it tastes, but is also a budget friendly snack and meal especially for students.
There are other bap burger fillings variations such as tuna, kimchi, chicken and spicy pork that are placed in between the compressed rice that serves as the buns.
Twigim (Korean Deep Fried)
Koreans love to eat fried foods too. The word Twigim also means deep fried dishes in Korea. Basically, these are foods that are covered in batter and are then deep fried. If you are familiar with the famous Japanese Tempura, the cooking process is similar to that of Twigim in Korea.
With Twigim food, you can use different ingredients such as fried vegetables, fried squid, fried seaweed noodle rolls or the fried sweet potatoes. Other popular Twigim choices includes the Potato Twigim, and carrot Twigim.
Twigim is usually served with a spicy Korean sauce, a Soondae and the famous Tteokbokki.
Bindaetteok (Mung Bean Pancakes)
Bindaetteok is also known as Mung bean pancakes. It is made of ground mung beans combined with either vegetables or meat. It is then deep fried in hot oil.
To season this dish, you can use garlic, green onions, kimchi, vinegar, salt, soy sauce and pepper.
These pancake is a popular street food that is perfect for sharing with friends.
Gilgeori Toast (Korean Street Toast)
Gilgeori Toast is also called Street toast in Korea. This is not your ordinary sandwich but rather a toast filled with sugar, ketchup, omelet, carrots, shredded cabbage and scallions. Although there are other versions wherein cabbage and eggs are not added to the toast.
Gilgeori Toast are toast on buttered bread that are toasted on a hot grill. Gilgeori Toast is a popular Korean street food among students and workers as it is a budget friendly snack.
Kkwabaegi ( Twisted Korean Doughnuts)
Kkwabaegi or Twisted Korean Doughnuts made from hot milk, sugar, butter and yeast (base of the dough).
To make this snack, the dough are then cut into strips. Twists each strip and then deep fried. After deep frying the twisted doughnut, it is then sprinkled with sugar for that sweet and crunchy taste. The Korean twisted doughnuts is best served when it is still hot.
Although there is also another version of Kkwabaegi shaped as round doughnuts. It is filled with sweet red bean paste. These versions are smaller and usually made using sticky rice powder.
Ddakkochi (Korean Chicken Skewers)
Ddakkochi is another popular Korean Street snack. These are actually grilled chicken snack or Korean Chicken Skewer snacks. Sweet and spicy sauce are usually used to coat the chicken but seasoning it with salt will do.
If you into spicy foods, Korean street food vendors also offers spicy chicken skewers or what is known as the Bomb flavored skewers.
Gamja-Hotdog (Korean-style French Fries Corn Dog)
Gamja Hotdog is basically a hot dot on a stick. Since Gamja in Korea means potatoes, therefore it is called French Fries corn dog because the hot dog is covered with French Fries.
When visiting Korea, Gamja Hotdog is a must-try for tourists when on one of the street food stalls in Korea.
Other variations includes hot dog with fillings of cheese or sausage. It is then coated with sugar or sometimes coated with mayonnaise or ketchup. Eggs, milk and bread crumbs or Panko are also used for coating.
Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)
Hotteok or also known as Korean Sweet Pancakes is a popular Korean street food dessert. These are pan-fried hot cakes filled with cinnamon syrup. Other fillings includes walnuts (chopped) and honey. These sweet pancakes are commonyl served when they are still hot.
Another Hotteok variety and also a popular Street food snack in Korea is the Japchae Hottoek. A snack with fillings of grass noodles combined with seasonings of soy sauce, vegetables and meat that are minced.
Gyeran-Ppang (Egg Bread)
Egg in Korea means Gyera and Bread in Korea means Ppang, therefore Gyeran Ppang simply means Korean Egg bread.
This Korean snack is very easy to prepare. The bread is stuffed with whole egg, that’s it. The bread dough that is used in making this snack is similar to that of a pancake batter. The dough is made with butter, sugar and vanilla. If you are looking for that perfect sweetness that would satisfy your taste buds, you should try this unique snack.
The bread stuffed with whole egg is then cooked until golden brown. Best served warm and still crispy.
Jjinppang (Korean Steamed Bun)
Jjinppang are Korean steamed buns, a staple of Asian Cuisine. These are steamed buns with fillings of red bean paste. Other fillings includes meat and vegetables too but the most common fillings are the red bean paste.
When in South Korea, you would not want to miss trying out the famous steamed buns on stalls on the street.
There is another version of this buns called Hoppang. A normal dough is used but it is more sweeter and with a smoother red bean paste filling than that of Jjinppang.
Gukhwa-Ppang (Chrysanthemum Bread)
Gukhwa-Ppang simply means Chrysanthemum bread in Korea. Although the name sounds like a flower, it does not have a real flower inside the bread but it is called as such because the shape of the bread looks like a flower.
A flower shaped bread that is filled with a sweet red bean paste but nowadays other fillings are now gaining its popularity such as fillings of peanuts, honey and or walnuts.
This delicious snack is best served warm.
Bungeo-Ppang (Korean Fish shaped pastry)
Bungeo-Ppang or Korean Fish shaped pastry are waffle-like fish-shaped bread also filled with sweet red bean paste similar to Gukhwa-Ppang wherein it is shaped as a Chrysanthemum flower while with Bungeo-Ppang it is fish shaped. Also, Bungeo-Ppang is more crispy than Gukhwa-Ppang.
Bungeo-Ppang snack is usually molded like a carp fish. Although the bread itself does not have fish ingredients. Butter and eggs are used to make the base of this delicious snacks, then filled with red bean paste and then molded using pans that are fish-shaped.
Other filling variations other than red bean paste included chocolate, custard and sweet potato mousse.
Guwun Garaetteok (Korean Grilled Bar Rice Cake)
There are many food carts in Korean that sells rice cakes. Guwun Garaetteok is the simplest type of rice cake. Although the quality of a rice cake depends on the rice used to make the cake.
Garae rice cake is usually grilled over a charcoal until it becomes golden brown and crispy on the outside. It is usually served in dipping sauce such as honey or soy sauce.
Gun Goguma (Roasted Sweet Potatoes)
Gun Goguma or Roasted Sweet Potato can be eaten as a snack or part of a meal in Korean. To create that perfect sweet potato snack, you can just keep the potato skin while cooking the potato.
There are different varieties of this snack: Goguma or the ordinary sweet potato, Bam Goguma or the Chestnut sweet potato, Gunoksusu or Roasted corn and the Hobak-Goguma or the pumpkin sweet potato.
Hot bar is a Korean street food snack. A deep fried fish paste that is usually served on a skewer. There are however, different flavors of this snack and that includes cheese, rice cake, chili, seaweed, sausage, perilla leaf and ham.
Most of the time, Hot bar are made to order Korean Snack. Hot bar snack is easy to make. The paste is fried using ground white fish. eggs, flour and vegetables.
Dalgona (Korean Sponge or Sweet Candy)
Dalgona candy or also known as Ppopgi is similar to that of a toffee candy.
The candy is made by mixing the baking soda and the melted sugar. If you notice there are different designs on the candy, when then flour is still soft enough that’s when you can draw any shape you want on the candy. The most famous designs are the umbrella, star or the heart.
Dalgona Candy has made a comeback and gain back its popularity after the Korean Hit series. At present, Korean Street vendors often attracts customers to play a game with the Dalgona candy. Customer are challenged to break the candy while keeping the shape of the candy still intact.
Sotteok Sotteok (Korean Hotdog and Rice Cake Skewers)
The word Sotteok Sotteok comes from the how the Korean street food is made. Basically, So means sausage and Tteok means Korean rice cake.
If you noticed Korean cuisine have different varieties of rice cakes. With Sotteok Sotteok, the sausage and the rice cake are placed on a stick hence rice cake skewers and then either fried or grilled.
Bbeongtwigi (Korean Puffed Rice)
Bbeongtwigi is another popular Korean Snack. The term Bbeongtwigi comes from the word “Twigi” which means ” To puff” simply because this snack is made of puffed rice When the rice is placed inside a puffing machine, the puffed rice usually comes out.
Hweori Gamja (Tornado Potatoes)
Hweori Gamja is also known as Tornado Potato or popularly known as Spiral potato because the whole potato is cut then placed in a spiral using a machine then placed on a skewer. The Potato skewered are then fried then sprinkled with seasonings such as onions or cheese.
Gimchibokkeumbap (Kimchi Fried Rice)
Kimchi fried rice or also called Gimchibokkeumbap is a popular Korean Street food made by mixing kimchi and fried rice. You also the option to add seaweeds to the dish or topped with fried sunny side up eggs and sesame seeds.
Kimchi Fried rice can either be eaten as a snack or as a meal to Koreans.