Guide to Korean Street Food - Part I

Food stall Food stall Photo courtesy of Brett Streby

Complete Guide to Korean Street Food

Korean street food is part of the adventure when traveling in Korea. However, some people are like two-year-old children — they’ll just put anything in their mouths! If you’re a little more concerned about what it is you’re actually eating, check out this complete guide to Korean street food!

Most Common Korean Street Foods

:These Korean street foods are found in every neighborhood and at all times of the day. Find a street food stall in Korea, and chances are, they’ll be serving these. These dishes are so popular that some people even take the “street” out of street food and serve these at restaurants.

Photo courtesy of Keith Kim

Tteokbokki (떡볶이 – Spicy Rice Cakes)

Rice cakes in a spicy red pepper-paste sauce. The bright red color should be warning enough of how spicy these can be (depending on where you go). Don’t be intimidated if you only see junior high school girls giggling over rice cakes — head over there and try some yourself. It’s equally loved by both kids and adults.

Variation: Old-Style Tteokbokki (옛날떡볶이)

Instead of a spicy sauce, the rice cakes are stir-fried in a wok with some oil and then topped with red pepper flakes. The most famous tteokbokki in Korea is made by a Korean grandmother who is over 100 years old.

Photo courtesy of Keith Kim

Sundae (순대 – Blood Sausage)

Blood sausages are common around the world. Korea’s version uses coagulated pig blood, glass noodles and barley, with pig or cow intestines for the sausage skin. If you’re ordering on the street, it usually comes with a few slices of liver or lung on the side as well. (If some of you are grossed out by this, don’t worry, some Koreans are too).

Variation (순대볶음 – Stir-Fried Blood Sausages)

Take blood sausages, stir fry with veggies and a red pepper paste, and you’ll have yourself another popular street food that’s goes great with drinking. Have a bottle of soju while snacking on this, or eat and drink alone for a super dramatic effect!

Photo courtesy of Keith Kim

Odeng (오뎅 – Fish Cakes)

At about 500 won a stick, fish cakes are one of the cheapest street foods you’ll find. They’re skewered on a stick and left in a delicious broth, which happens to come free with any order (not just odeng) and can cure a bad hangover. Top with some soy sauce and enjoy.

Photo courtesy of Keith Kim

Twigim (튀김 – Fried Snacks)

The same carts that sell you tteokbokki, blood sausages and odeng also have delicious fried goods. These fried foods are dipped in a batter to create a flaky shell. Ingredients include dumplings, eggs, peppers, sweet potatoes, and more.

All of these common Korean street foods are usually sold in the same tent; this means that you could enter one tent and try all of these Korean dishes!

Author Bio : Keith Kim runs Seoulistic.com, a Korea culture and travel blog that provides local insider knowledge of the best things to see and do while in Korea. Visit Seoulistic.com for more information to travel Korea like a local and to learn more about Korean culture from the inside. 

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