Experiencing traditional Korean cuisine is certainly a highlight in any trip to Korea, but do not overlook the country’s unique street food.
No market or shopping area in Korea is complete without a set of street food carts. In these tiny stalls, you will find an array of filling but affordable treats catering to all tastes. Street food in Korea varies according to the season and region, but these are some of the most common snacks you will find while out and about in the country.
Rice cakes in spicy sauce (tteokbokki)
Tteokbokki is a dish consisting of chewy cylindrical rice cakes cooked in a hot chili pepper sauce, usually along with fish cakes. Spicy and sweet, this staple of Korean street food is sold throughout the year and it is the number one choice for Korean students looking for a snack to share with friends. Tteokbokki is usually enjoyed with a side of mixed fritters or sundae, a type of blood sausage.
Fish cake skewers (odeng)
Wherever you find tteokbokki, you are likely to find odeng being sold as well. Do not be put off by the name, however. Fish cakes are not sweet but savory goods made with fish and starch. In odeng, flat rectangular fishcakes are skewered and served in a hot radish and anchovy broth, making it the perfect snack for a chilly day. Odeng broth is usually also served when you order tteokbokki or other dishes sold at the cart.
Sugar pancakes (hotteok)
For those with a sweet tooth, no wintertime snack is better than hotteok. These pancakes are filled with brown sugar, cinnamon and sometimes seeds or nuts, then fried until the sugar melts and popped into a paper cup for you to enjoy on-the-go. Beware of oozing sugar when you bite into it, though, as fresh-made hotteok fillings are piping hot.
Egg Muffins (gyeran ppang)
Gyeran ppang, meaning “egg bread”, are muffin-like pastries baked with a whole egg on top. Hearty and sweet, gyeran ppang can be enjoyed not only as a street breakfast but as a unique snack at any time of the day.