Beginner’s Guide to Korean Street Food (with Tips!) – Seoulistic

Beginner’s Guide to Korean Street Food (with Tips!)

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!

Food Options

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
(tteokbokki, 떡볶이)
Approximate price: 2,500 won

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!

Fried Snacks
(twigim, 튀김)
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 

Blood Sausage
(sundae, 순대)
Approximate price: 3,000 won

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.

The Extras 

Fish Cakes
(odeng, 오뎅)
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)
Price: Free

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 🙂

Keith
Keith
Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

8 Comments

  1. kim says:

    Great now I know what to order if I run out of money in korea, crap loads of fish cakes

  2. Mara says:

    If you’re used to spicy Mexican food (like me ^_^) would you be all right eating the spicy food in Korea?

  3. Kim, yeah you are right lots of Fish cakes heheh 😀 😀

  4. Natasha says:

    In Puerto Rico we have Blood Sausage too!! But we call it “Morcilla” instead and it’s filled with pork blood too, and other stuff I’m still not sure. But there are other ones filled with meat too! I never understood how my uncle likes it.

  5. GIM says:

    Finland is also afflicted with Blood Sausage. I do not understand the attraction, but the Finns have a lot of variations on that theme. For my money, the fried snacks are at the top of the list, followed be the fishcakes.

    Mara, if you are used to real spicy Mexican food, you will not notice that there is spicy food in Korea. I had a Korean sauce once that was said to be quite spicy. It was roughly at the level of a very weak salsa, that had just enough pepper in it to let you know that the cook knew about it. No jalapenos or habaneros. But very good, nonetheless. Except for blood sausage.

  6. Gustavo says:

    In Brazil we also have the blood sausage, it’s called “chouriço” and is slightly similar to the korean one. Some people here love it and other people hate it. 🙂

  7. Minju Oh says:

    This web site is awesome! If possible, I want to use these articles as a source for my project which is an application that I and my friends have to make for foreign travelers in Korea.
    Can I use these articles in my applicaiton and link this site?

  8. kim says:

    thanks! was intimidated to try the fish cakes in korea, but I LOVE FISH CAKES! i will approach with more confidence when i return in december =)

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