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Street Foods with their Korean Names

Street Foods with their Ko...

Traditional street foods are popular in Korea with locals and foreigners alike. Following are some of the various offerings that can be found all over the country, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic such as markets, metro station entrances, club areas, office buildings, etc. as well as at highway rest stops. Some food vendors operate during daytime, while others come out after dark. Certain street foods are seasonal, such as baked potatoes and roasted chestnuts that are mainly available in the winter. Note that the prices given below apply to Seoul at the time of this posting and are intended to give you a ballpark idea of the cost.

Baked Sweet Potatoes (구워진 고구마) are one of the attractions of early winter as they are harvested in November. They are usually baked over a hot fire in a large iron barrel. Baked sweet potatoes are sweeter than steamed sweet potatoes, and taste best when they are hot. Although prices vary depending on the size, they generally cost about W2,000 for 3 potatoes.

Roasted Chestnuts (불에 구워진 밤) are another late fall/winter treat since they are an autumn nut. Roasted chestnuts are actually broiled and they take a long time to cook thoroughly. Thoroughly cooked chestnuts are not only tastier, but are easier to peel and eat. They are usually sold in small paper bags. The cost varies depending on the size of the bag and the amount of chestnuts, but generally it’s around W2,000-W3,000.

Roasted Ginko Nuts (불에 구워진 은행나무 견과) vendors are a little harder to find than those selling roasted chestnuts. Roasted ginkos are green in colour and are also sold in small paper bags at about the same price as roasted chestnuts for around W2,000-W3,000.

Tteokbokki (떡볶이) - spicy Korean rice cakes. Tteokbokki (also spelled Ddeokboggi) is one of the most famous street dishes in Korea. It has a very distinctive spicy, yet sweet flavor. It is make of Garae Tteok (long, white rice cakes that are sliced and then boiled) mixed with eomuk, boiled fish paste and various fried foods. The whole is then marinated with red pepper paste and cooked over a fire. The broth used to boil the eomuk is often served as a complimentary accompanying drink. A serving of Tteokbokki costs about W2,500-W3,000 with hot eomuk broth included at no charge. ranges from 2,500 won to 3,000 won per serving. The eomuk broth is both free and refillable.

Kkochi Eomuk (꼬치 어묵) - skewered fish cake - are broad and flat and prepared on skewers, then boiled in water that is flavored with radishes and kelp. This creates a richly flavoured broth that can be sipped on while eating the skewers. Regular eomuk is not spicy, however, there is a red one that is marinated in red pepper paste and boiled in only a small amount of broth. This one is spicy.  Locals suggest that the best are the skewers that have been brewing in the broth for a long time. A soy sauce marinade is provided for dipping.  Eomuk skewers will usually cost anywhere a little over or under W1,000.

Bungeobbang (붕어빵)/Ingeobang (잉어빵)  are a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste. Also known as Hwanggeum Ingeobbang (황금 잉어빵 - golden fish shaped bun), they are made of wheat flour and glutinous rice flour dough and filled with red bean paste. They are chewier than hobbang (호빵) because of the glutinous rice flour and are usually priced at 3-5 for W2,000. Bungeoppang vendors can be found everywhere.  Locals like to check out how people eat them. Those who eat the head first are said to be positive and passionate, while those who choose the tail first, are considered by some to be sensitive, romantic and fashion conscious.

Hobbang (호빵) are a steamed bun made of wheat flour dough filled with red bean paste, and other types of fillings including vegetable, pizza, curry, and more. Hoppang, which tends to primarily a winter snack, is generally found in convenience stores or small supermarkets. They usually cost around W1,000. 

Gukhwappang (국화빵) are made by pouring batter into a chrysanthemum-shaped cast, filled with red bean paste, and cooked. Because each little cake is the same size and shape, two people who resemble each other are called gukhwappang. You can buy a bag of 4-6 gukhwappangs for W1,000.

Hodugwaja (호두과자) is a round cake made by pouring batter into a walnut-shaped cast and filling it with red bean paste and a small slice of walnut. A bag costs W3,000 won.

Hotteok (호떡) look like a small pancake.  A ball of flour or glutinous rice dough is filled with a mixture of sugar, ground peanuts and cinnamon powder and then pressed flat on a hot griddle. The cost is about W1,000-W2,000 for 2-3 filled ‘pancakes’. Hotteok are served with small cardboard holders so that they can be held comfortably . While most hotteok have a sweet filling, some special vendors offer an alternative. For example, in Insadong, one can find hotteok made with corn powder and deep fried giving them a doughnut-like appearance or near Namdaemun Market, vegetable and 'glass-noodle' filled options.

Kkultarae (꿀타래) start as a mound of hardened honey and malt that is kneaded and stretched into 16,384 strands that look like a thin, white skein of glossy silk. Kkultarae, meaning honey skein, is filled with a mixture of ten ingredients such as almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, black beans, and black sesame seeds, and then rolled. It was once a royal snack, but today it's available for everyone. You can watch the Kkultarae-maker at work in Insa-dong, the various folk villages, etc.  A box of 10 costs about W5,000.

K4E Note: Korea4Expats.com want the information on this site to be as accurate and complete as possible so if you've noticed any errors or omission on this page, please let us know at info@korea4expats.com

Photo; making hotteock 

Last Updated on 2015-04-13

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