Guide to Korean Street Food

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Visitors to South Korea will find it a country of culinary contrasts. On the one hand, traditional restaurants serve dishes that are made from simple ingredients and have been painstakingly prepared.

On the other, you’ll find the quick convenience of Korean street food. Tasty, cheap and incredibly diverse, for many this is at the heart of Korean cuisine.

So get your trip planned, sort out your currency, get your backpacker travel insurance and hit the streets of Korea for a culinary experience never to forget.

 

Ddeokbokki

The king of Korean street food, ddeokbokki consists of cylindrical rice cakes cooked in a rich chilli paste accompanied by small pieces of fish cake.

Over the years, the recipe for this staple street dish has changed, but since the 1950s the version you find roadside has remained relatively consistent.

It can get mighty cold during the winter and there’s no better dish to keep you warm than a serving of spicy, hearty ddeokbokki.

 

Sausages

You’ll find a huge array of sausage variants lining the streets of South Korea. From the typically Western corn dog to the rice cake stuffed kind, vendors have used their imaginations to create a veritable smorgasbord of sausage treats.

The most common however, is perhaps ‘sundae.’ Nothing to do with ice cream, these blood sausages are served in pig intestines and filled with rice, noodles and meat.
 

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Mandu

Similar to those found in Mongolia, Turkey, China and Japan, mandu are the Korean take on dumplings, thought to have been introduced to the country during the 14th century.

There are a range of fillings and sizes available, from the smaller variants filled with noodles and meat, to the larger mandu stuffed with red bean paste.

They usually come accompanied with a dipping sauce made from vinegar and soy sauce.

 

Bungeoppang

Doughy pastries filled with sweet red bean paste, the literal translation of bungeoppang is ‘crucian carp bread’ – a reference to the snacks fishy shape.

Most frequently sold during the winter, these hot snacks are a delicious but filling treat.

If you’re visiting during the summer, settle for bungeoppang waffles filled with ice cream and red bean paste, sold at most supermarkets.

 

Sugar cookies

Another traditional sweet treat, sugar cookies are thin and brittle discs served on a lollipop stick.

They are made from pure sugar which has been poured into a mould and heated on a hot griddle until caramelized and hardened.

The aim is to eat it without snapping the mould in two…near impossible!

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