Eating Korean street food should be on everyone’s things-to-do-in-Seoul bucketlist! It’s delicious, cheap and everywhere. Good combo! So if you’re itching to eat some spicy tteokbokki and some fried snacks, Korean style, here’s a few tips for you newbies out there!
Unless you’re Bear Grylls, you’d probably like to know what food is going in your mouth. And although there definitely is variety among Korean street food, the most popular and common Korean street foods you’ll find are below. Here’s a list of the most common foods along with a few tips:Spicy Rice Cakes
This quintessential Korean street food is made from rice cakes (tteok, 떡), spicy red pepper sauce (gochujang, 고추장) and fish cakes (odeng, 오뎅). It’s a favorite for students and office workers alike (basically just anyone looking for a quick bite to eat on the go). It’s extremely popular, so it’s found everywhere in Korea, and there are always trucks that sell this red gold late at night too. Warning, it can get quite spicy (depending on the vendor).
Tip: If you don’t want to order a full serving and just want a little taste, see next tip 🙂
Looking for awesome tteokbokki? Try these 7 Place for Must Eat Tteokbokki in Seoul!
Approximate price: 2,500 won
Another reason Korean street food is so popular is because of the variety of foods (i.e. hardboiled eggs, sweet potatoes, shrimp, dumplings, vegetables, etc.) that are deep fried to satisfy your snacking cravings. Order one serving of fried snacks, and you can pick and choose from a number of items (for example, 2 squid, 1 dumpling, 1 vegetable, 1 sweet potato – 5 total). Load up on your favorites or just get all of the same thing. These tents are like Burger King — “Have it Your Way!”
Tip: You can dip these fried snacks in soy sauce if you want. But if you want to have a bit of spice in it, you can ask the vendor to mix the fried snacks in the tteokbokki sauce. It’ll give you a bit of sauce, and they’ll throw in a few rice cakes as well. And it’s totally free 🙂
Language tip: mucheo juseyo – 무쳐 주세요 – please mix/season it (in the tteokbokki sauce)
Fried Snacks to Choose From: 고구마 (goguma) – sweet potato; 계란 (gyeran) – hardboiled egg; 고추 (gochu) – pepper; 야채 (yachae) – vegetables; 오징어 (ojingeo) – squid; 만두 (mandu) – dumplings; 김말이 (gimmari) – gimbap rolls; 새우 (saeu) – shrimp
For some reason, pig intestines stuffed with cellophane noodles, barley and pork blood is quite popular in Korea. Every order comes with a side of liver (gan, 간) and other non-specific innards (naejang, 내장). Slightly season it with salt, and you have one of Korea’s most representative street food dishes. It’s not one for dainty princesses and there are even local Koreans that don’t like this gritty Korean street food. But those that eat it, swear by it. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a shot :).
Tip: You can ask for more, less, or none of the sides [liver (gan), innards (naejang)].
If you love the stuff, why not check out an entire town dedicated to this dish? Read about Sundae Town along in our post on Seoul Food Towns for Korean Food Lovers.
Approximate price: 500 won
Fish cakes are the cheapest of snacks you can find. You don’t have to order this one at all. Just grab a stick and start eating as many as you like. The vendor will count up the skewers before you leave to tell you how much owe.
Fish Cake Broth
(odeng gungmul, 오뎅국물)
The broth the fish cakes are bathed in is completely free with unlimited refills. Pick up a cup and pour yourself (it’s usually self-serve) that hearty broth for the beautiful price of free :).
Tip: Odeng Broth is a great hangover cure. See this along with a few other Korean hangover cures here 🙂