11 Must Try Korean Street Food
South Korea is the land of appetizing and affordable street food, that you can find at markets, subway stations and from ‘pojangmacha’ – street carts along popular areas. It’s an easy way to see and taste-test some Korean street food in bite size. Here are some of the most popular Korean street foods to sink your teeth into on the streets of South Korea.
Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes)
Tteokbokki comes with a bright red or orange sauce called gochujang– a sweet, spicy red pepper sauce. It can be served in a bowl with ingredients such as egg, noodles or cheese, or in a stick. You almost find Tteokbokki EVERYWHERE.
Odeng / Eomuk Tang
Odeng are hot, easy-to-eat fishcakes on a skewer. If you are spice- or meat-shy, this is your street-eat saviour. The main flavour is a soft and smooth fishcake, either elongated or flat and folded over, the skewers jutting from steaming vats of broth.
Note: “Odeng” is derived from the Japanese word of “Oden”, while “Eomuk” is the native Korean word. “Tang” refers to soup.
Mandu refers to a stuffed dumpling, similar to the Chinese jiaozi and Japanese gyoza. As a street snack the most likely choice is kimchi mandu, which are filled with sweet onion, minced pork and a load of spicy kimchi that you can see shimmering orange through the soft skin. Dumplings are served six or seven to a plate; dip in soy and vinegar sauce and chow down.
When steamed, they are known as “jjinmandu”, They are soft fluffy buns with various fillings, usually coarse red bean paste, pork or pork and kimchi.
Pork Trotters (Jokbal)
Pork trotters, braised in a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic. Worry not, they look much better sliced. Greasy, but delicious.
Tteokgalbi is a classic Korean dish made from beef ribs. The meat is minced and pounded on the bone, marinated in a sweet savoury sauce, then rolled into balls then deep-fried.
Blood Sausage (Sundae)
Don’t freak out. Sundae are made by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients – including coagulated pigs blood with glass noodles.
Gimbap (Korean Sushi)
Gimbap or kimbap is like a sushi roll, made from steamed white rice (bap) and various other ingredients such as vegetables and pickles, rolled in gim and served in bite-size slice. The Korean street version is usually pre-made and wrapped in plastic. Gimbap are at their most mouth-watering as petite rolls, but they can come in hefty, rice-filled slices, which make for a speedy hunger buster.
Twigim (Korean-style tempura)
Koreans don’t tiptoe around frying their street food. Twigim are various ingredients that taste great fried in a batter (think Japanese tempura but more substantial) – succulent squid, a hash of vegetables, sweet potatoes and even boiled eggs.
Bowls of noodle (myeon) soup might not sound like street food, but in fast-moving Korea, everything is ready for a quick meal between meals. Cool down with naengmyeon (a North Korean dish of cold buckwheat or sweet potato noodles with cucumber, radish, beef and a boiled egg in an icy broth) or keep warm and satisfied with sujebi (hand torn noodles in a clam and vegetable broth) and bites of raw green chilli.
These savory pancakes are a full meal on the go. The plain version is stuffed with leeks and green onions, while haemul pajeon are filled with lots of squid and sometimes prawns or mussels (depending on how fancy the stall), then fried in batter. Pass a slice of the cakey morsel through the soy dipping sauce while it’s still hot and fresh off the pan.
Bungeoppang and gukhwappang (red bean waffles)
source: Cheap Hotel on Youtube
In any town in Korea, cute fish-shaped sweet cakes will be there on the streets. These bungeoppang have a golden brown, waffle-like exterior that is both soft and crispy to bite into, giving way to hot sweet red bean paste. There is no actual fish in bungeoppang, and you’ll find street vendors pouring a kettle of batter into moulds of other shapes, too, such as chrysanthemum-flowers to make gukhwappang.
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