Street food in Korea is a great addition to the already wonderful cuisine of the peninsula. After classes, after dinner or after drinking, street food is a cheap and easy way to spend time with friends at night or help you survive chilly cold evenings.
In Seoul, the best street food is found near markets, near universities and anywhere young people congregate in the evenings. Street food stalls are informal places where money is exchanged and people stand and eat. Generally, Koreans don’t walk while eating, it is considered rude, so standing or sitting near the pojangmacha (street food stall) is what people do when they order street food.
Not everyone can handle it, but it is the most common street food you’ll encounter in Seoul.
What is it?
Ddeokbokki is made of ddeok (chewy rice cake) and it is cooked in a spicy, sweet sauce made with red peppers. It can be very spicy.
Cost: 2,000 won to 5,000 won
Rabokki (Ramyeon and Ddeokbokki) ,
Ddeokkochi (ddeok on a stick with ddeokbokki sauce
tteokjjim (The original ddeokbokki, not usually found in streetfood),
Often ddeokbokki is served with hard boiled eggs + soondae (Korean black blood sausage)
Hotteok is sometimes a fried pancake with a molten cinnamon and sugar or red bean filling and sometimes a toasted crunchy snack with a cinnamon and sugar filling. The fried pancakes are sold from October until spring and the crunchy hotteok are sold year round. (Allergy Alert: Sometimes they put ground peanuts in these)
(called odeng or omok)
A very popular food at home and on the street. These are technically from Japan, but they are widely eaten in Korea.
The salty broth that they are served in is, in my humble opinion, the best part of the experience. They are sold on a stick, in a cup with warm, salty, broth and you are encouraged to use the various sauces that are served on the side. If ddeokbokki is too hot and spicy for you, this is a great alternative and it’s often sold at a pojangmacha (street stall) along side ddeokbokki.
Traditionally filled with sweet red bean filling and cooked in a special fish-shaped mold that creates a crispy outside and a soft gooey inside. They often come 8 to a package, so share them with friends. Just like goguma, they make great handwarmers. Look for the icecream novelty version in convenience stores in the summertime. They’re also delicious, but terrible for keeping your hands warm.
Roasted sweet potatoes
Sold on the street whenever there’s cold weather. They are often roasted over wood fires in an oil drum oven and wheeled around residential neighborhoods. They are served wrapped in newspaper or brown paper bags. They are really good hot. On a cold night, you can put them in your pockets to keep you warm.