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20+ Popular Korean Street Food That You Must Taste

March 17, 2022

Wanna treat yourself to some affordable but incredibly delicious Korean food? Well, today, we'll talk about mouth-watering Korean street food 분식 (bunsik).

In South Korea, delicious food isn't always found in nice restaurants. In fact, you don't even have to empty your pockets just to satisfy your taste buds because there are lots of Korean street vendors and food stalls in the streets.

Traveling to South Korea will never be complete without tasting their Korean street food. What makes Korean street food so good is that they are incredibly delicious and can be easily found everywhere, like subway stations and street stalls. Eating Korean street food will not just satisfy your cravings, but you can also experience the authentic Korean culture because you'll be actually eating as the locals do.

So today, take a break from the fancy Korean cuisine and enjoy these best Korean street food.

 

Popular Korean Street Foods

Korean Street Food (분식 bunsik)

Street food (분식 bunsik) is a type of food sold by street food vendors in public locations for speedy consumption. Because street food has an affordable price but is incredibly delicious, people love it.

There's a lot of affordable Korean street food in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. If you're looking for a wonderful Korean street food experience, you can visit the following places:

  • Gwangjang Market
  • Myeongdong Street Food Alley
  • Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market
  • Tongin Market
  • Namdaemun Market
  • Sindang-dong Tteokbokki Town
  • Dongdaemun Night Market
  • Common Ground

Korean street foods are the type of food that you can never resist, so let's now dive into this list of Korean street food that you can try when you visit South Korea.

떡볶이 (Tteokbokki)

English Translation: Spicy Rice Cakes

떡볶이 (Tteokbokki) - Spicy Rice Cakes

Modern Korean dramas never fail to expose this famous street food - tteokbokki or spicy rice cake. Tteokbokki is a spicy Korean rice cake that is cylindrical in shape and cooked in spicy sauce, and when we say spicy food, Koreans are pretty serious about that.

By just walking on the biggest streets of Seoul and other big cities, you can easily find Korean street food vendors that sell tteokbokki. However, if you're up for an adventure, you can visit Tteokbokki Town in Sindang for the best tteokbokki in South Korea.

어묵/오뎅 (Eomuk/Odeng)

English Translation: Korean Fish Cakes

어묵/오뎅 (Eomuk/Odeng) - Korean Fish Cakes

This next Korean street food is the one that Gu Jun-Pyo in Boys Over Flowers surprisingly loved. Fish cakes have always been people's favorite for South Koreans and in different parts of the world.

Traditionally, fish cakes are dipped in a salty soy sauce with green onions and sesame oil. This is often the cheapest Korean street food that you can find in the streets, and the price varies depending on the size of skewers.

The term 오뎅 odeng comes from the Japanese word oden, which refers to a style of stew that frequently includes fish cakes. Since the Koreans won their independence, the native word 어묵 eomuk has become more widely used, and it usually refers to the round and doughy sort of fish cake that is the more popular of the two variants.

감자 핫도그 (Gamja-Hot dog)

English Translation: Korean-style French Fries Corn Dog

감자 핫도그 (Gamja-Hot dog) - Korean-style French Fries Corn Dog

Imagine the two of the best snacks in the world, hot dog and french fries combined; the result is the Gamja-Hotdog. This Korean-style French Fries Corn Dog is a fun Korean street food that is made with a hot dog covered in crispy, golden brown potatoes. There are other varieties of Korean corn dogs, like the one with mozzarella, but the Gamja-Hot dog is already a treat for your taste buds.

양념통닭 (Yangnyeom-tongdak)

English Translation: Korean Fried Chicken

양념통닭 (Yangnyeom-tongdak) - Korean Fried Chicken

Every time K-dramas features Korean fried chicken, you can't help but crave it. Well, what's not to love in a Korean fried chicken? It is unique, tasty, crunchy, and flavorful. Fried chicken didn't come to Korea until the Americans arrived during World War II. But, Korean fried chicken is different from the Kentucky fried chicken that the Westerns love.

Korean fried chicken is fried twice to achieve the crispy-paper thin skin that cracks at every bite. This Korean street food is also best partnered with beer which they called 치맥 chimaek (fried chicken and beer) in South Korea.

김밥 (Gimbap)

English Translation: Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls

김밥 (Gimbap) - Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls

Gimbap 김밥 (Gimbap), also known as the Korean Sushi, is a Korean street food made with cooked rice and many other toppings rolled up in a gim (a dried sheet of seaweed) and served in bite-sized slices.

닭꼬치 (Ddakkochi)

English Translation: Korean Chicken Skewers

닭꼬치 (Ddakkochi) - Korean Chicken Skewers

Ddakkochi is another Korean street food in a skewer. It is a popular grilled chicken street food with sweet and spicy sauce coating. It is more delicious because the chicken doesn't have bones anymore, so it's more convenient to eat.

You can also find a variety of Chicken skewers with no sauce, just salt, and a very spicy one called bomb-flavored chicken. Well, it's not surprising since Koreans love spicy food.

소떡소떡 (Sotteok Sotteok)

English Translation: Korean Hotdog And Rice Cake Skewers

소떡소떡 (Sotteok Sotteok) - Korean Hotdog and Rice Cake Skewers

Imagine hot dogs and rice cakes in one skewer. How amazing is that? Even the name is so witty because it actually came from So (소) of sausage ( 소세지 soseji) and tteok (떡) from rice cake (떡볶이 Tteokbokki). This mouth-watering Korean street food is made with sausages, and rice cake that is put in skewers then coated with ketchup, red pepper paste-baste spices, and mustard.

만두 (Mandu)

English Translation: Korean Dumplings

만두 (Mandu) - Korean Dumplings

We cannot talk about Korean street food without Korean dumplings or mandu (만두). It is the Korean version of filled dumplings often made with meat, tofu, garlic, glass noodles, and green onions. Historically, mandu is served regularly in a court of the Joseon dynasty, and now, it can be found in the streets of South Korea, especially in the largest cities like Seoul.

Mandu is very similar to gyoza which is a popular Japanese dish. There are varieties of mandu that people can enjoy, like steamed mandu, fried mandu, and boiled mandu. There are also flat mandu and balled mandu whose fillings can be traditional based or regional based.

호떡 (Hotteok)

English Translation: Korean Sweet Pancakes

호떡 (Hotteok) - Korean Sweet Pancakes

Another Korean street food that K-dramas also popularize is the Korean sweet pancake. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll definitely love this sweet syrup-filled Korean street food. It has a Korean Chinese Cuisine origin, which makes it a prevalent dish.

This popular Korean street food is easy to make. You just need wheat flour, milk, water, yeast, and sugar for the dough and cinnamon, brown sugar, honey, and peanuts for the syrup. There are also varieties of hotteok, but the sweet pancake is one of the most popular.

빈대떡 (Bindaetteok)

English Translation: Mung Bean Pancakes

 빈대떡 (Bindaetteok) - Mung Bean Pancakes

Another Korean street food that belongs to the pancake family is the Mung bean pancake. The story behind the mung bean pancake is pretty amazing. In the old times, meat is very expensive for ordinary people. Since they can't afford meat, they just use scraps and fat as an ingredient to make their food flavorful.

The ingredient for mung bean pancakes is pretty simple. This Korean street food uses ground mung beans that are mixed with vegetables or meat and cooked in oil. Because it is oily and has a savory flavor, it is considered one of the greatest dishes to consume when drinking alcohol.

붕어빵 (Bungeo-Ppang)

English Translation: Korean Fish Shaped Pastry

붕어빵 (Bungeo-Ppang) - Korean Fish Shaped Pastry

If you're a K-drama fan, you are probably already familiar with this Korean street food. It was seen in hit K-drama series like Vicenzo and Reply 1988. Korean fish-shaped pastry is so tasty in the sweet red bean paste fillings. It is a waffle-like freshly toasted fish-shaped bread that is best served warm. Because of its sweetness, it is perfect for dessert.

Pick up the fish-shaped bungeoppang whether you're looking for something somewhat sweet or something out of this planet sweet. There are numerous bungeoppang varieties to choose from, making this cuisine even more enjoyable and interesting, like the one filled with ice cream and the one filled with chocolate syrup.

찐빵 (Jjinppang)

English Translation: Korean Steamed Buns

찐빵 (Jjinppang) - Korean Steamed Buns

Are you up for something not so heavy but satisfying Korean street food? Then, the Korean steamed buns are perfect for you. It is indeed one of the most affordable meals that can be easily found in the street and even in convenience stores. It is a popular Korean snack that is filled with sweetened red bean paste. It can also be filled with vegetables and other kinds of meat.

Since it has been around for more than 250 years, it's no surprise that Korean seemed buns are one of the most popular Korean street food. It is easy to eat because you can just grab it with your bare hands. Some want to put the sauce in it, but the bun itself tastes good even without a sauce.

국화빵 (Gukhwa-Ppang)

English Translation: Chrysanthemum Bread

국화빵 (Gukhwa-Ppang) -  Chrysanthemum Bread

The Chrysanthemum Bread is a Korean street food that is not something with a flower inside. It is only baked in a chrysanthemum-shaped mold using dough and red bean paste. This cutesy but delicious Korean street food is hard to resist because it has the flavor of either honey, peanuts, or walnuts.

밥버거 (Bap Burger)

English Translation: Korean Rice Burger

밥버거 (Bap Burger) - Korean Rice Burger

Rice plus burger, doesn't it sound weird? Not at all! This unique Korean street food will definitely satisfy your cravings because it holds a very delicious taste of rice, buns, meat, and veggies. It gained its popularity not just because of its delicious taste, but it is also one of the most affordable meals that students with a low budget can afford.

In eating Bap Burger, you can be as experimental as you want. You can eat it with kimchi, spicy chicken or pork, and a variety of vegetables. The smokey flavor and crunchy texture will make you wanna crave more.

계란빵 (Gyeran-Ppang)

English Translation: Egg Bread

계란빵 (Gyeran-Ppang) - Egg Bread

This Korean street food might sound as simple as its ingredients egg (gyeran) and bread (ppang), but Korean egg bread offers a unique taste that you'll definitely crave. Egg bread has a sweet and savory flavor that is popular during the winter season because it's steamy and warm when served.

It is also easy to make egg bread. You just need some mixing flour, milk, eggs, baking powder, butter, sugar, and salt to make a dough. Once the ingredients are all perfectly mixed, they will then be put onto a gyeran-ppang machine. Crack a whole egg onto the bread batter and cook it until it's golden brown. After that, you can enjoy your egg bread with a hot drink or any drink you like.

컵밥 (Cupbab)

English Translation: Rice In A Cup

컵밥 (Cupbab) - Rice in a Cup

Koreans have these thing called the “Pali-pali“ culture (빨리빨리 ppallippalli). It refers to a fast-moving lifestyle to be more productive and make every second worth it. No wonder why on-the-go Korean street food such as Rice in a cap (컵밥 Cupbab) is very popular in South Korea.

This Korean street food is often made with Kimchi fried rice as the base and topped with various toppings like sausages, tuna, ham, and egg. It is very cheap and tasty at the same time, that's why Koreans, especially the students, really dig this Korean street food.

순대 (Soondae)

English Translation: Korean Sausage

순대 (Soondae) - Korean Sausage

Korean blood sausage 순대 (soondae) is another street food that is popular in South Korea. It's impossible not to find a single street vendor that sells this because it's really popular. Just like what is mentioned above, it is best partnered with rice cakes (떡볶이 tteokbokki). Most street vendors also sell the fusion of soondae  (순대) and tteokbokki (떡볶이).

Soondae is best enjoyed with dipping sauce. However, dipping sauce varies depending on what region of Korea you're in. Some serve soondae with salt, and some offer soondae with making. Just find what suits your taste, and you'll definitely love it.

군고구마 (Gun Goguma)

English Translation: Roasted Sweet Potatoes

군고구마 (Gun Goguma) - Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes is not new because it is widely eaten in different countries as meal or snack. What sets Korean roasted potatoes from others is that it is cooked in a unique way. Korean street vendors use metal drum cans for cooking this Korean street food.

Gun Goguma is usually eaten with honey and butter, but surprisingly, some people love to eat it with kimchi. Well, you can never really go wrong with kimchi.

달고나 (Dalgona)

English Translation: Korean Sponge Candy

달고나 (Dalgona) - Korean Sponge Candy

Calling all the Squid Game fans! This Korean street food is definitely known in the whole world because it was featured in the series Squid Game. It is a dessert perfect for all ages. This trendy Korean street food is hard to resist given its popularity and deliciousness

Making Dalgona is pretty easy. In fact, there are lots of Tiktok tutorials about this. Dalgona is created by melting sugar and adding a pinch of baking soda to the mixture. The sugar will convert into a caramel-colored whipped cream that you may shape whichever you desire.

회오리 감자 (Hweori Gamja)

English Translation: Tornado Potato

회오리 감자 (Hweori Gamja) - Tornado Potato

It might sound dangerous but believe me, it's nothing but a delicious potato Korean street food cut into a spiral and fried on a skewer. Koreans usually put seasonings like cheese, onions, and more to make this more delicious. This also gained popularity in different parts of the world, that are why many people are already familiar with this when they visit South Korea.

 

More Korean Street Food

Korean
(Hangul)
RomanizationEnglish Translation
꼬마 김밥kkoma gimbapbaby gimbab
번데기beondegiboiled silkworm larva
컵 치킨keop chikincup chicken
솜사탕somsatangcotton candy
오징어 튀김ojingeo twigimdeep-fried squid
튀김twigimfried snacks
핫바hasbahot bar
아이스크림 와플aiseukeurim wapeulice cream-filled waffles
김치볶음밥gimchibokkeumbapKimchi fried rice
김치전Kimchijeonkimchi pancake (savory pancake)
구운 가래떡guwun garaetteokKorean grilled bar rice cakes
꽈배기kkwabaegitwisted Korean doughnuts
 길거리토스트gilgeori toastKorean street toast
튀김twigimKorean deep-fries
오뎅국
어묵국
odeng-guk
eomuk-guk
Korean fish cake soup
감자핫도그gamjahatdogeupotato hot dog
고구마 스틱goguma seutiksweet potato sticks
닭강정dakgangjeongSweet Crispy Korean Fried Chicken
설탕뽑기seoltangppopgisugar lollipop
호두 과자hodu gwajawalnut cakes

 

Complete Your Food Trip Experience By Learning Korean

Part of the whole food trip adventure in South Korea is communicating with street vendors about the price and some information about the food. But, how can you do this if you don't know any Korean? Well, it's never too late for you to start learning Korean. For a fun-filled language learning experience, try using Ling App.

Ling App lets you learn essential vocabulary that you'll need in daily life, like ordering food, traveling, greetings, and more. Ling App does not only teach you random words that you can never use in real life. It has a lot of features developed to make language learning effective so that you can master the Korean language in record time.

Learning Korean will definitely open doors to many opportunities. So, make your life tastier by learning Korean with Ling App now.

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