COME & VISIT
Dining & Out
Experienced travelers say the most memorable food they tasted while traveling is not the food they had at an expensive restaurant but that bought on the street. It is fun to explore new foods from street food vendors. A complicated menu with a long list of dishes is not necessary; all you have to do is just take your pick of anything that catches your eye. Eating local food along with locals is a great way to learn more about their lives. Below is a list of leading street snack foods you can taste from street vendors that are found on every corner in Seoul.
Tteokbokki, sundae, gunmandu, and eomuk are the most popular street snacks in Korea. Spicy tteokbokki (rice cake called garaetteok broiled with hot pepper paste called gochujang), sundae (Korean sausage) and gunmandu (pan-fried dumplings) along with a bowl of warm eomuk (fish cake) soup on a cold winter’s day are the snack foods favored particularly by school girls. Street vendors specializing in those dishes are everywhere near subway stations, but tteokbokki vendors near subway stations in Sinchon and Hongik University are particularly famous.
Dozens of gopchang (small intestines of ox or pork) vendors that specialize mainly in fried gopchang and fried sundae are clustered near Dongdaemun Stadium across from the shopping mall Doota. Their popularity lies in their excellent taste and affordable prices. You can taste various dishes besides gopchang with the Korean liquor called soju.
The toast sold on streets is made with two slices of bread, along with eggs mixed and fried with chopped vegetables, such as onions and carrots, as a filling. Toast is found mostly near subway stations and serves as a hearty breakfast for workers on their way to work.
Korean gimbap is similar to the Japanese rice roll, but it is more nutritious as it contains many more ingredients, such as pickled radish, egg, eomuk, beef, carrot, and spinach. Gimbap comes in various shapes, such as the large triangle gimbap, the small finger gimbap, and the inside-out “nude” gimbap. Go to Gwangjang Market in the vicinity of Cheonggyecheon (Stream) and you will see the famous gimbap store whose gimbap is said to be as addictive as a drug. The store opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers a dish of gimbap for 2,000 won.
“Ppeongtwigi” is an umbrella term for any popped grain, similar to Western popcorn. It is popular especially among women as a low-calorie snack. The kinds of ppeongtwigi found on streets include popped rice, called tuibap, popped corn, called gangnaengi, and a popped rice cake called tteok ppeongtwigi.
Soft Ice Cream
Soft ice cream vendors are found mostly near department stores and shopping districts. Its affordable price, ranging from 1,000 won to 1,500 won, makes soft ice cream a favorite street snack. One of the most famous soft ice cream vendors is found in Myeong-dong. Their 32 cm-long parfait is three times longer than ordinary soft ice cream and is so popular that people line up for it even on cold winter days.
On holidays or weekends, the Tongin Store area in Insa-dong is crowded with people who come here to see how honey thread is spun from a lump of honey and malt as if were silk yarn spun off the cocoon. As a major street snack in Insa-dong, kkultaraeyeot is spun honey mixed with almond, cocoa, peanuts, and walnuts.
Hotteok is a unique Korean snack made with wheat flour dough filled with dark brown sugar, cinnamon, sesame, and chopped peanuts. The filled dough is griddled and flattened into a large circle. One of the most famous hotteok is the corn hotteok sold at Teolbone in Insa-dong. Hotteok vendors are found mostly in crowded areas, such as Namdaemun Market.
Dalgona is one of the most popular street snacks favored mostly by children in the 1970s and 1980s. Made with melted sugar and baking soda, dalgona is still found in Insa-dong or the Hyundai Department Store area in Sinchon.
Chicken Kkochi/ Rice Cake Kkochi
Reminiscent of the Thai food “Satay,” chicken kkochi is a grilled kebab seasoned with a unique Korean hot red pepper paste called gochujang. The Korean kebab typically includes rice cake and sausage in addition to chicken so that you can eat what you like. A famous chicken kebab vendor is found near Apgujeong Station.
Hot Bar/ Hotdog
Hot bar, which is deep-fried fish meat minced and mixed with various chopped vegetables, is usually served with various sauces, including hot pepper paste sauce (gochujang in Korean), mustard sauce, and the like. It is particularly tasty when it is warm. The hotdog, a deep-fried sausage coated in wheat flour batter and chopped potatoes, is similar to the American corn dog. Hot bars and hotdogs are sold mostly in areas crowded with students, such as the Gangnam Station area and the Ewha Womans University area.