Korean street market specializing in Korean street food started hundreds of years ago and it has grown to be a very big deal. The street food market is constantly buzzing with customer excitement and satisfaction; the variety of food available really shows how eclectic the country itself is. It is not a surprise though how big of a deal food is to Koreans; the question “have you eaten” is embedded in their greeting, so we can safely say that food- especially street food, forms part of the exuberant Korean culture.
In Korea what you will hear the most is: “Don’t skip your meals”, no wonder their streets are full of food-feeding their own or even a guest is an expression of their care. Night or day you will find street food to your liking.
Top 5 Korean Street Food you must try:
1. Tteok-bokki (spicy rice cakes)
Served in a foam dish or on skewers, this is considered the best street food you will find it in Korea. Given its appearance, exotic taste and the comforting feeling it gives, it makes sense why anyone would want it. Tteok-bokki as referred to by the natives looks like its is made of pasta, but is is actually made of long thick rice cakes that you can get at a Korean local store.
Other ingredients in this awesome dish include: cabbage, anchovy broth, Korean peppers and chillies as well as garlic and sweet sauces like soy sauce for a good twist. A blend of such ingredients and more make this dish a power house.
2. Eomuk (Korean Fish Cake)
If you take a walk on the streets of Korea you are sure enough to find someone holding this creative-looking delight. And if you are walking a longer distance you will find more than two people. This can be a main or side dish. It is normally deep-fried and a sauce draped over it. The soft texture and savory cake are constant to every fish cake, the only difference will be the additives that are added by different people such as sesame oil or Korean chili paste in the sauce.
3 Odeng ( Korean Corn Dog)
Meat lovers will appreciate the sausage component or if not you can choose the only cheesy one made out of mozzarella cheese. Or even better have a combination the two – dipped in a specialised batter, and if made by an explorer – it will be coated with spicy bread crumbs before it is deep fried. There are endless options to what this corn dog can be coated with, some can be coated with French fries while others are coated with noodles, cornflakes etc. There is no limit and what you will normally find on the street market is that there will be multiple sauces to choose from that go on top of your corn dog.
4. Kimbap /Gimbap (Seaweed rolled rice)
Sushi?? Well close but now no! I would say this is one-of-a-kind street food, very far from what you rate as junk. In fact, it is a full meal- you have seaweed, rice, vegetables of your choice but the classic ones are carrots, yellow pepper, and spinach. Beef and fish cakes add to the full flavor – oh wow, once you have this, you will want more. With recent developments there are different types this seaweed rice rolls with different ingredients such as eggs, lobster or fish, and many more.
5. Chimae (Korean Fried Chicken with Beer)
You will get this served in a cup, be sure to load the honey and mustard to lessen the heat. Otherwise expect a very good kick since Koreans love their spicy food. There is a saying that this dish goes better with really good Soju and that’s how you will see most natives having the dish. This is basically spice fried chicken, yet very tender and moist because of the preparation process and ingredients used. Other than soju there are other side dishes to go with this chicken, such as hash browns or sweet potato fries.
What is Korean Street Food?
It is food that is originally from Korea, sold on the street or at a street market by a vendor in a food booth.
Where to find street food in Korea
Gwangjang Market, Myeongdong Street Food Alley, Seoul Bandongkkaebi Night Market etc.
Is Korean Street Food Safe?
Koreans are generally very hygienic people and you will see this even the usage of mouth masks, and gloves when handling the food. So this is a matter of assessing every situation on your part, but mostly you can relax and eat away.