The temperature has dropped below zero in Korea, and the sun has checked out for the winter. In Korea, that means it’s time to whip out the electric blanket and eat good winter foods and snacks Here are some of the most popular Korean winter foods and snacks to eat around Korea.
1.) Hotteok (호떡)
Hotteok is a top choice for locals to help ward off the cold during the winter. Locals Korean seek out this hot sweet snack because of the warm gooey inside that’ll warm up any cold soul, and also because it’s cheap, delicious, and sold all over Korea. Hotteok is made with a glutinous rice dough and is slighty chewy like a doughtnut without the thick frosting! Hotteok is filled with melted sugar (or syrup), fried, then served in a paper cup (so the sugar doesn’t spill). Some street vendors even put nuts inside which gives the Hotteok an extra ‘oomph’ in the flavor department. Hotteok is priced around 1,000 won and if you get a good deal, you just might get two for that price depending on how nice the ahjusshi or ahjumma is
Tip: You can buy pre-made hotteok and make it at home. So, if the temperature drops below fifty – why bother rambling through streets for a snack when you can stay inside and warm your hands by the stove with your own homemade hotteok! This is an excellent Korean winter snack to eat and is a Seoulistic favorite!
2.) Bungeoppang (붕어빵 / 잉어빵)
Another traditional Korean winter snack is Bungeoppang, and there is nothing like having a bite of this delicious pastry on a freezing cold day. The reason this Korean winter snack is an all time favorite for freezing students is because of its cheap price and steaming insides. For those walking to school in negative degree weather, something as simple as warm and gooey pat inside can do wonders for warming you for an extremely cheap price. Otherwise, the pastry is made into the shape of a goldfish and filled with sweet red bean paste and made on the spot. You can easily find a Bungeoppang snack vendor that sells a pack of three Bungeoppangs for 1,000 won. That’s a steal!
Note: These pastries are also sold under the name of ‘Ingeoppang,’ (잉어빵) which literally translates to ‘Carp Pastry.’
3.) Tteok-Mandu Guk (떡만두국)
Tteok-Manduguk (rice cake-dumpling soup) is a traditional winter food that warms both the body and mind, and is enjoyed by almost all Koreans during the cold winter. Dumplings are prepared and is also consisted of soft rice cakes, which is then bathed in a garlic-savory broth with spring onions and minced beef. This is traditionally served on New Year’s Day which is usually dated in January or February (coldest months out of the year!). This dish will have you saying “mmmmm delicious” over and over until people around you start feeling uncomfortable. Someone will have to poke you back to reality. Yeah, it’s that tasty
4.) Gyerang Bbang (계란 빵)
If you love Egg McMuffins (who doesn’t?), then you must try this awesome Korean winter snack. This traditional snack is so good that it will put you into a food-coma, guaranteed. These egg muffins are a bit like French Toast but more, hmm… Eggy Simply put, it’s just a whole egg inside a piece of hearty bread (very simple to make at home too!). Gyeran Bbangs are served hot and on demand, which makes it a perfect treat for anyone who is on a budget.
5.) Jjinppang (찐빵)
Besides the cold winds and early sunset, Jjinbbang is another sign that winter is present in Korea. This old school Korean winter food is usually only sold during the cold months, making this a hot seller (no pun intended… maybe )! Jjinbbang is made up of wheat flour dough filled with, yeah-you-guessed-it-right, sweet red bean paste! The process of making this delicious snack is done by steaming. Whether you are young or old, people instinctively crave jjinbbang during the winter times and there are even other types of fillings to accustom people’s liking such as meat, vegetables, pizza, and even curry. They usually costs around 500 to 700 won a piece and are usually found usually in any convenience store or small supermarkets. Vendors that specialize in jjinbbang usually make them bigger and awesomer. A good jjinbbang is served fresh out of the steamer and is great for curing your chills
6.) Baked Sweet Potatoes (‘군’ 고구마)
Here’s a delicious Korean comfort food (or vegetable ) for you: gun goguma, aka baked sweet potatoes. Although this winter food is consumed by all ages, it’s favored more by older Koreans who for some reason always seem to carry them around in those supermarket plastic bags when you pick out vegetables. Goguma is best eaten on the spot, right when they come out of the oven. The smell of baked sweet potatoes drifting through the icy cold weather is just priceless.
7.) Waltnut Cake-Snack (호두과자)
Hodugwaja (literally walnut cake-snack) is an excellent on-the-go winter snack in Korea and is well-loved by all cold people in Korea. In Seoul, these are often made and sold on the streets, and for cold people, the whiff of baked goods are pretty hard to resist. That’s why people get a bag of these hotties to munch on while walking the streets. Hodugwaja are also typically sold at highway stops in Korea during the winter time and has become a symbol of long-journey travel during the winter time. So rest assured, wherever you go, you can grab your hands on these walnut cakes almost anywhere you go in Korea! This traditional Korean winter snack consists of a red beans and walnuts, then baked into a small bite size cake.
8.) Tteokbokki (떡볶이)
There were a few ways that Korean people warmed themselves back in the days during the winter: alcohol and spicy foods Well, minus the alcohol, we got one spicy food for you on the list that you all might be familiar with: tteokbokki (떡볶이). This winter snack (although can be eaten during any season) is one of the most famous dishes in South Korea, hands down because of the ultra cheap price tag and availability. And if you’re out and about on the streets doing touristy stuff in the winter time, it’s pretty easy to get cold. And since tteokbokki is sold on pretty much any street, many people stop by to eat this spicy food. But we think the real reason is because people want to heat up from the stoves that the tteokbokki is made from. And since some of these trucks even have plastic drapes to help keep the heat inside during the winter time, we’re pretty darn sure
Tip: All of the street vendors will usually have odeng broth (see #9) available for you to drink for free. Just grab a cup and pour yourself some!
Want to find some restaurants to eat tteokbokki at? Check out our list of 7 Must Eat Ttekbokki places in Seoul!
9.) Odeng and Broth (오뎅)
Odeng is a fish cake skewer sold on any tteokbokki truck. It’s made from a fish and flour paste, together with several different spices, which is then skewered and boiled in a special broth for added taste. A typical Odeng skewer will cost you anywhere from 500 to 700 won, sometimes two for 1,000 won Sure it’s delicious and cheap, but the real reason why this is a great winter food is because the broth it’s cooked in. Any order you get from the truck gets you unlimited access to the odeng broth (odeng gungmul/오뎅국물). This is the real stuff that warms you up inside. And since it’s unlimited refills, you can just drink it up till you get the feeling back in your fingers.
Tip: You can order the cheapest thing on the truck (usually odeng) and drink the broth all you want.
Tip: This is also one of our recommended Korean hangover cures
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