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Top 10 Must-Try Korean Street Foods in Seoul

Are you planning to travel to Seoul sometime soon? You shouldn’t miss these foods! Today, we’re going to introduce the top ten must-try street foods in Seoul, South Korea. Also, we’ll introduce essential phrases to use when you order food in Korea.

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1. List of 10 Must-Eat Korean Street Foods

There are many delicious and exotic Korean traditional foods that you can—and should—try. However, many travelers struggle to find what to eat in Seoul. Don’t worry; in this article, we’re going to introduce ten Korean street food names, along with their description and many pictures and information about each food so that you’ll know exactly what you’re ordering next time you go to the market in Korea. We’re sure you’ll find a food you love here, maybe even some tteokbokki street food!

Let’s have a look at the list of Korean street foods:

1- 해물파전 (haemulpajeon) — Seafood Pajeon

Seafood Pajeon

해물파전 (haemulpajeon) is a seafood scallion pancake which is a traditional Korean-style pancake. You can eat this versatile Korean street food as a main dish, or a side dish, or even as an appetizer or snack. The most famous Korean-style pancake is the seafood pancake, and if you’re going to cook this by yourself, you can put any ingredients in it such as Kimchi or vegetables.

해물파전 (haemulpajeon) can be found in any markets in Seoul and each store may have a variety of Korean-style pancakes such as 김치전 (gimchijeon) meaning “Kimchi pancake,” 야채전 (yachaejeon) meaning “vegetable pancake,” and so on. So have a look and enjoy the variety!

  • If you’re not familiar with Korean-style pancakes, here are some food images.

2- 김밥 (gimbap) — Korean Traditional Seaweed Rice Rolls

Korean Traditional Seaweed Rice Rolls

김밥 (Gimbap) is a Korean dish of steamed white rice and other ingredients such as ham, egg, and various vegetables, rolled in sheets of dried laver seaweed and served in bite-size slices. Koreans prepare 도시락 (dosirak) or a “lunch box,” which is filled with gimbap when they go on a picnic. Or sometimes they eat it with 떡볶이 (tteokbokki), 순대 (sundae), or 튀김 (twigim) at a 분식집 (bunsikjip) or “snack stand.”

In addition, there’s a variety of Gimbap, including:

  • 참치 김밥 (chamchi gimbap) or “Tuna Gimbap”
  • 야채 김밥 (yachae gimbap) or “Vegetable Gimbap”
  • 김치 김밥 or “Kimchi Gimbap”
  • 불고기 김밥 or “Bulgogi Gimbap”

The price varies depending on which Gimbap you buy, but do read through the long list of gimbap because there are so many! 김밥 can be found easily at markets in Seoul, so don’t miss out on this.

  • If you’re not familiar with Gimbap, here are some food images.

3- 순대 (sundae) — Black Pudding

Black Pudding

순대 (sundae) is a pork sausage, filled with a mix of sweet rice and sweet potato vermicelli noodles. This is normally called “black pudding” in Korea, and many food stands sell this with 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) and 튀김 (twigim) as a set meal.

The sauce offered contains a mixture of salt, ground pepper, and 고춧가루 (gochugaru) or “red chili pepper flakes” to add more flavor.

순대 (sundae) can be found in any markets in Seoul, and also comes in various meals such as:

  • 순댓국 (sundaetguk) which is black pudding soup served in ttukbaegi
  • 순대볶음 (Sundaebokkeum) which is stir-fried black pudding with vegetables and gochujang

These are specialized dishes, so try to find a few famous restaurants in Seoul that make various 순대 (sundae) meals.

  • If you’re not familiar with Sundae, here are some images.

4- 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) — Stir-fried Rice Cake in Gochujang Sauce

Stir-fried Rice Cake in Gochujang Sauce

Your trip isn’t complete if you don’t try this delicious Korean food. 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) is a popular South Korean spicy food that’s made from rice cakes called 떡면 or “rice cake noodles.”

Many ingredients are added when making this meal, such as boiled eggs, fish cakes, scallions, carrots, onions, and more. This meal comes in two different flavors: the original 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) that’s seasoned with spicy gochujang, and 궁중떡볶이 (gungjungtteokbokki) which is a soy sauce-based Tteokbokki.

If you want to add more flavor, simply order extra ingredients (it will cost a little extra). Some popular ingredients are melted cheese or 라면 (ramyeon) meaning “Korean noodle.” You’ll easily find tteokbokki in any Seoul market.

  • If you’re not familiar with Tteokbokki, here are some images.
  • If you’re not familiar with Soy Sauce Tteokbokki, here are some images.

5- 튀김 (twigim)

Twigim

튀김 (twigim), direct translation being “fried” in English, is Korean-style fried vegetables that taste great with 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) and 순대 (sundae). You can even order 순대튀김 (sundaetwigim) or “fried black pudding” which is one of the most famous dishes that Koreans order at food stands. If you’re looking for some very tasty Korean exotic food, this might just be for you. If you want something more adventurous, we suggest eating it with Ttokbokki sauce to add spiciness.

  • If you’re not familiar with 튀김 (twigim) here are some images.

6- 한과 (hangwa)

Hangwa

한과 (hangwa) are traditional Korean confections and they have a variety of sweets. These Korean confections appear in traditional Korean ceremonies such as weddings and ancestral rites.

In addition, if you go to a touristic area such as 인사동 (insadong), there are a number of Korean traditional tea cafes that sell 한과 (hangwa). There are several varieties of hangwa you can try while traveling in South Korea:

Ingredients in these confections are very healthy, so you can’t miss out on these delicious Korean confections!

  • If you’re not familiar with original 한과 (hangwa), here are some images.

Do you want to try some more sweets? Try some Korean rice snacks such as:

7- 만두 (mandu)

Mandu

If you’re a big fan of dumplings, you can’t miss out on 만두 (mandu) in Korea. You can easily find frozen dumplings at any supermarket in South Korea, and of course you can eat them at a restaurant too. There are many kinds of dumplings, including:

8- 회오리 감자 (hoeori gamja)

Tornado Potato with Sausage

회오리 감자 (hoeori gamja) or “spiral potatos,” also known as 트위스트 감자 (teuwiseuteu gamja) meaning “twist potatoes” or ‘토네이도 감자 (toneido gamja) meaning “tornado potatoes,” are a popular street food in South Korea. They’re deep fried spiral-cut whole potatos on a skewer. You can enjoy this food with different kinds of spices.

  • Here are some images, if you’re not familiar with this food.

9- 뽑기 (ppopgi)

Korean Candy

뽑기 (ppopgi) or 달고나 (dalgona) is a Korean candy made with melted sugar and baking soda. This was a popular Korean street food back in the 70s and 80s, but it’s become difficult to find these days. Koreans aged between thirty and forty may feel nostalgic when they see this on the street since it was the most popular street food during their childhood.

  • Here are some images, if you’re not familiar with this food.

10- 호떡 (hotteok)

Hotteok

호떡 (hotteok) is a Korean pancake and a popular street food in Korea, especially during the winter. The original is filled with brown sugar, honey, chopped peanuts, and cinnamon. It also comes in different flavors, including:

  • 녹차 호떡 (nokcha hotteok) — “green tea hotteok” [Image]
  • 복분자 호떡 (bokbunja hotteok) — bokbunja rubus coreanus hotteok [Image]
  • 옥수수 호떡 (oksusu hotteok) — “corn hotteok” [Image]
  • 피자 호떡 (pija hotteok) — “pizza hotteok” [Image]

If you like it, you can buy a DIY 호떡 (hotteok) package at a local supermarket. This is perhaps one of the easiest Korean street food recipes that you can find in South Korea.They are easy to make, so give it a try.

  • If you’re not familiar with the original 호떡 (hotteok), here are food images.

2. Phrases to Use When Ordering Korean Street Food

When someone asks “What’s the most popular food in South Korea?” you’re now confident enough to talk about our local Korean street food. You’ve also learned about must-have Korean street foods. So now, let’s try to learn some Korean phrases that’ll come in handy when you order food in South Korea. These are basic phrases, so if you want to learn more, feel free to visit KoreanClass101. We have many free lessons on how to order at a restaurant.

1- What to Say when You Enter a Cafe or Restaurant

2- What to Say When You Order Some Food

  • ~ 주세요 (~juseyo) — “Please give me ~”
  • 추천해 주시겠어요? (chucheonhae jusigesseoyo?) — “Do you have any recommendations?”
  • 이거 많이 매워요? (igeo mani maewoyo?) — “Is this spicy?”

3- What to Say When You Leave a Cafe or Restaurant

3. How Can KoreanClass101 Help You with Korean?

We hope you enjoyed reading our Seoul food guide and hope you have a great time trying different kinds of traditional Korean food in Seoul.

Do you want to learn more about essential phrases in Korean? KoreanClass101 has many lessons to teach you what to say when you enter a cafeteria or a restaurant in South Korea, so feel free to check out these pages as well:

Got some questions about grammar or Korean culture? We have a forum page where you can ask a question to Korean natives. We hope you enjoyed reading this article and good luck with your Korean studies! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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