It is impossible to visit South Korea without experiencing (or at least seeing) stalls of street food, which are located in every city and town throughout the country. There are even certain areas in Korea which I believe have the best of the best of certain kinds of street food. Street food is a large part of the South Korean culture and can be great when you are out all day and need something cheap to eat, or after a long night of partying.
There is a HUGE amount of different kinds of street food in Korea. Instead of making a full guide to Korean street food, I am going to list my top-3 street food picks. If you are interested in longer lists discussing street food, check out the ‘Further Reading’ section at the bottom of the post.
Hotteok (호떡) is a sweet pancake-like food that is filled with sugar, stuffed peanuts, or sesame seeds.
In Seoul, my favorite place to buy Hotteok is in Myeongdong (although many people go to Insadong to get the famous sweet hotteok). Outside of Seoul, the best versions I have tasted have been in Daegu and Busan.
Tteokbokki /Ddeokbokki (떡볶이)
Tteokbokki is rice cakes served in red pepper chili sauce. It is usually served with odeng or noodles and an egg, but there are many variations of the dish that people have created to turn the snack into a meal.
Tteokbokki is such a wildly popular street food in South Korea that there is even a Tteokbokki Town
Odeng is fishcake on a long stick that is served with a small paper cup of spicy soup. I
Interesting fact: Odeng is also sometimes referred to as eomuk [어묵] the original name of the fishcake on a stick.
More about Korean Street Food…
There are a number of other Korean street foods that I enjoy including: Mandu (만두) which are Korean dumplings; Kimbap (김밥) which are Korean dried seaweed rolls filled with rice, vegetables, and meat; and Gogooma (고구마) which are Korean sweet potatoes.
Are you interested in reading more about Korean street foods? Check out the links below!
- Korean Street Food List (Seoul Eats, July 2012)
- Complete Guide To Korean Street Food with Pictures (Seoulistic)
- The Best in Korean Food: From Sweet Pancakes to Live Baby Octopus (Global Voices, 2014)