Whenever I travel I make sure that I try to immerse myself to the cultures and traditions of the place I visit. Though my travel buddy and I love matching outfits and to eat our “baons” (packed snacks and canned goods) whenever we travel, as ‘turistas’ we always make sure that wherever we are, we try to talk to the locals, dress like the locals, and try the foods that the locals eat.
Speaking of foods, we are not that type of travelers who spend much on food alone. We always look for something cheap yet considered a ‘must try’ and of course something that could satisfy our cravings. So, when we were in South Korea we were worried about how we could afford the foods there. Good thing is, many ‘pojangmacha‘ –street carts are found around the city that serves affordable and appetizing Korean flavors in bite size.
So, here are some of the most known street foods that you must also try in the streets of South Korea.
1. Odeng (Eumok Tang)
These are fishcakes in skewers that are served best with hot broth. The broth that could cure hangovers is infused with gentle seafood and spring onions. You’ll surely love the taste of these skewers and its soup especially when the weather is cold. This is actually my street-eat fave.
2. Korean Spicy Chicken Skewers (Dakkkochi)
This is a type of Korean chicken kebab on a stick. The spicy-sweet sauce adds a great taste to the grilled meat.
3. Tempura Prawns
These are deep fried prawns wrapped in crunchy batter.
4. Baked Cheese
Though it is called baked cheese, it’s more of a grilled mozzarella cheese and rice cakes since it’s prepared on an oiled griddle. It tastes pretty good fresh off the grill, but once it cools, it tastes a bit like oily rubber. These skewers cost ₩3,000 a piece.
5. Gyeran-Bbang (Egg Bread)
This is sweet, hot, and a fluffy little loaf of bread with a whole baked egg on top and a dusting of parsley. You can also see this in carts in the streets of Korea.
6. Fish Cake (Eumok)
This deep fried rectangular skewer is made of ground white fish, potato starch, vegetables, and sugar.
7. Hweori Gamja (Tornado Potato)
Twisted potato, skewered, dipped in a light flour batter, deep-fried to a golden hue, tossed with a sprinkling of cheese powder, and finished with a blaze of sweet mustard sauce. This tornado will surely disappear in seconds. There are other flavors one can try like the barbecue, cheese, and plain salted.
This is the Korean street version of sushi roll wrapped with a seaweed (gim) and filled with steamed white rice (bap) and various ingredients such as kimchi, cheese, vegetables, pickles and meat. All the ingredients are rolled into the gimbap and served in bite-size slices. This can be eaten as a on-the-go snack or as a meal.
9. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)
This chewy rice cake is also called as teokbokki, ddeokbokki, topokki. If you hate spice, then skip this one. Tteokbokki comes with a sauce called gochujang, a sweet spicy red pepper sauce that is used extensively in Korean dishes. This can be served in a stick or a bowl with additional ingredients such as eggs, cheese, or noodles. 1 bowl cost ₩ 5,000.
10. Boneless Chicken Feet (Dak-bal)
These boneless chicken feet is marinated and fried with a spicy sauce. It has a chewy texture when eaten. This one is very popular among Korean women because of its rich collagen that helps improve the skin.
11. Korean Grilled Cheese Lobster
Who said that good lobster rolls are served only in fancy restaurants? Enjoy this delicious lobster grilled with cheese melted over the top at ₩15, 000 in the streets of Myeong-dong.
12. Isaac Egg Toast
One of the most well known Korean breakfast in Seoul is Isaac toast. A long line of tourists and locals can always be spotted that lasts an hour queuing at Myeong-dong. This Korean Egg Toast comes with thinly shredded vegetables, spam and sprinkled with sugar at the end. Isaac toast serves up 7 varieties, including Bulgalbi at ₩ 3,200, Bulgogi ₩2,800, Hot Tteokgalbi ₩ 3,200, Hot Chicken ₩3,000, Steak Ham ₩2,800, Bacon Best ₩2,800 and Ham Special ₩2,400.
13. Korean Fried Chicken (Yangnyeom Tongdak)
KFC is usually called as chicken in Korea. Double-deep fried chicken pieces coated in a slick of sweet or smoky ‘gochujang’chili paste, roasted sesame oil, soy, garlic, ginger and vinegar. A stick usually cost for ₩3,000.
I had an opportunity to try every street food when I was in Seoul but the cash I brought was not enough to indulge in all the mouth-watering STREATS. I really regret not trying the grilled cheese lobster, Korean Fried Chicken, hotteok, and many other. So don’t make the same mistake ever. Bring extra dollars/won and make sure that your bank lets you withdraw cash wherever and whenever you like! lol