Korean Street Food: A Guide to Unique Delicacies in the South

Last Updated on July 20, 2021 by 90 Day Korean
Korean soup in a black bowl

In this article, we’ll be talking about Korean Street Food.  We promise you; you’ll be in for a treat!

Let’s get to it!

Delicious Korean Street Food

We’ve included the names of dishes in Hangul, the Korean alphabet so that you can find them in Korea more easily. If you can’t read Hangul, it is possible to learn in just ninety minutes using fun associations and stories. It will be helpful when reading menus in Hangul.

Onto our list of delicious Korean Street Food and other delicacies!

Korean Street Food

Whether you like authentic Korean food or prefer fusion food, there’s definitely something for you in Korean cuisine. If you’re into street food, Korea has a lot to offer!

South Korea also offers a wide variety of popular Korean street foods that are definitely worth trying (especially considering the price!).  You can find several popular Korean street food in Seoul and other cities.

Street food in Seoul and other parts of the country can be sold in food carts, street stalls, food trucks, or mobile tents. Just look for them lining up along busy streets and night markets. You usually see people eat Korean street food just along the streets near the stalls where they bought the delicacies.

Street foods are also sold at a very affordable price, so there’s no need to break the bank if you want to try some.

Sundae (순대)

Sundae, the unique take on the blood sausage phenomenon in Korea, is a delicacy that smells and tastes better than it looks. This dish uses various body parts from both pigs and cows to create an unbeatable, complex dish that’s easy to scarf down.

 street food sundaeSource: http://theseoulguide.com

Have you ever tasted lung or liver? If not, 순대 (sundae) can be your introduction. This is mostly served with lung or liver as a garnish. With its inexpensive price tag, don’t knock this Korean blood sausage before you try it!

Tteokbokki (떡볶이)

Tteokbokki is not for the faint of heart. Tteokbokki (떡볶이) are cylinder shaped and usually comprises unassuming; mild rice cakes saturated in an intense, savory, spicy sauce. Spicy in Korea is definitely more intense so tread lightly!

Tteokbokki with red sauseSource: http://thelaygastronomer.wordpress.com

Tteokbokki is an age-old crowd-pleaser and is loved by people of all ages. Tteokbokki is often mixed with fish cakes. Give this fish cake and rice cake pair a try the next time you’re wandering through Seoul. Tteokbokki is definitely a must-eat!

Hotteok (호떡)

If you’re familiar at all with street food in Seoul, chances are you’ve heard of hotteok or Korean Sweet pancake.

Korean Street food Hotteok Korean PancakeSource: http://koreabapsang.com

Hotteok is a dessert dish that involves griddle cakes fried on a hot plate stuffed with various additions, including different sugar, fruits, and syrups. They’re similar to a pancake but with a unique twist. Grab some hotteok the next time you want to eat Korean street food – these are especially sweet when the weather gets cooler! This is one Korean street food that you’ll definitely enjoy.

Egg bread (계란빵 | gyeranppang)

This dish, like fried snacks, is also pretty self-explanatory. A whole egg is stuffed and cooked inside the bread, served warm and crispy.

Korean Street foodSource: http://www.thetattoobank.com

If you need some quick protein and carbs, this dish is an efficient way to do it! Though traditionally eaten as a dessert, egg bread also makes a smart breakfast (it knocks out two food groups at once!).

Walnut cakes (호두 과자 | hodu gwaja)

Try Korean Walnut cakes the next time you’re out and about strolling the busy city streets of Seoul or other cities in Korea.

Korean Street Food Walnut pancakeSource: http://www.seoulistic.com

Packed with protein (both beans and walnuts), walnut cakes are a favorite in Korea that you can feel good about munching on.

Baby gimbap (꼬마 김밥 | kkoma gimbap)

Baby gimbap is one of the popular Korean street food in Seoul to eat on the go – it’s wrapped completely in seaweed, so it’s easy to pick up and snack on with minimal mess.

Korean street food baby kimbapSource: http://www.pbs.org

There’s rice and your choice of topping in the seaweed. This is filling and easy to track down – give it a try the next time you want to snack without the mess!

Rice cake skewers (떡꼬치 | tteokkkochi)

There’s no shortage of rice cakes on the street food scene in South Korea. This popular dish, for instance, is grilled and skewered on a stick. Unlike the 떡볶이 tteokbokki dish above, this one doesn’t have any fish cake.

Korean Street Food Rice Cake SkewersSource: http://www.yummly.com

Sometimes simple is best, and the insanely popular spicy rice cakes go to show it! Taste and try this snack out the next time you’re looking for a dish to eat and find a new appreciation for spicy rice cakes.

Sweet potato sticks (고구마 스틱 | goguma seutik)

Did you think we could get through a list of fast and easy Seoul street food delights without including some variation of fried potato?

Korean Street Food: Nakji bokkeumSource: http://www.genconnect.com

These Korean Style fries are a (slightly) healthier alternative to their cousin, the French fries. However, they’re prepared the same way – fried in oil that your doctor probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about. Sweet potatoes are densely packed with nutrients and are a better choice for snacking than the average potato.

Gimchi fried rice (김치볶음밥 | gimchibokkeumbap)

You can’t get more Korean than a Seoul street food dish that combines Gimchi (sometimes spelled as Kimchi) and stir-fried rice for your snacking pleasure. That’s right, the famous Korean side dish can be mixed with rice.

Delicious Stir Fried Korean Fried RiceSource: http://norecipes.com

Made from Korean rice, this dish also includes seaweed and can be topped with a fried egg and sesame seeds if you like. You must eat it warm, and you’ll be quick to realize why this Seoul street food meal is loved by so many!

Bundaeggi (번데기)

Bundaeggi is a boiled silkworm larva.

Wait, come back! Let me explain. Does the fact that the larvae are boiled with sugar and soy make it sound more appealing?

Korean street food bundaeggiSource: http://taliasfootsteps.wordpress.com

Despite sounding (and looking) not as enticing as the rest of the dishes on this list, this is surprisingly popular and can be found throughout most cities in Korea. Grab a cup the next time you come across street vendors serving bundaeggi – think of the story you’ll be able to tell your friends!

Hotba (핫바)

This popular dish is fried fish paste, served on a chopstick for easy access.

Korean street food hotbaSource: http://www.pinterest.com

Hotba is a great salty snack that has a kick to it. Give it a try with ketchup and mustard for the full effect.

Cup chicken (컵 치킨)

How many ways can you prepare fried chicken? This Korean fried chicken, cup chicken, is unlike any dish you’ll find at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Korean street food cup chickenSource: http://fortheloveof.blogspot.com

The spicy sauce that the dish is prepared in makes this fried chicken uniquely Korean while still delivering the crispy, savory, satisfying experience that Korean fried chicken is known (and loved) for. Most Korean fried chicken in cup chicken is mixed with fried tater tots. Talk about a fried food experience! Korean fried chicken is definitely a must-try.

Cotton Candy (솜사탕 | somsatang)

Cotton candy isn’t a dessert limited to fairs and carnivals in Korea – it’s actually one of the most popular desserts sold at street food stalls in big cities like Seoul! Light and fluffy, this is the perfect snack if you’d like something light and sweet without committing to a full-blown dessert (despite the intimidating size of the cotton candy you’ll find in Seoul).

Cotton CandySource: http://jamieliew.com

Korean cotton candy is often shaped in super fun shapes, too – you’ll find cotton candy shaped like flowers and animals just as often as you’ll find traditional, shapeless cotton candy. The best part is that because cotton candy is so commonplace in Korea, you won’t have to deal with waiting in line with twenty children in front of you before you get your snack. Pick up some cotton candy the next time you want a taste of childhood and a delicious treat at the same time – you’ll be glad you did.

Sugar Lollipop (설탕뽑기 | seoltangppopgi)

If candy is more your style than baked goods or cold desserts, these lollipops are street food that is right up your alley. Crisp and very sweet, these lollipops are made from sugar that has been caramelized with a tiny bit of baking soda added to it. Sounds easy enough to make at home, right?

Lolippop brown sugar - Korean streetPhoto credit: http://blog.daum.net

However, what you won’t find at home is the fun contest the dessert vendors usually participate in. If you can bite all around the stars, hearts, and other shapes usually placed in the center of the lollipop without cracking the candy itself, you get another one for free! If you love candy, give the challenge a try – best-case scenario, you get two sugar lollipops, and worst-case scenario, you still have one! Believe us; you must try this snack.

Goldfish Bread (붕어빵 | bungeoppang)

Think of goldfish bread, or bungeoppang in Korean, as delicious pancake-like, fish-shaped bread filled with sweet red bean paste deliciousness. This fish-shaped pastry is a popular Street food in Seoul. Prepared with a mold similar to a waffle iron, this is best when served warm. The warmth combined with the crunch of the freshly toasted bread and the sweetness of the red bean paste filling makes for a delicious and easy-to-eat dessert treat.

Fish pasty pancakePhoto credit: http://www.pinterest.com

The first thing you’ll notice about this snack is its fish-shaped appearance, almost like a fish pancake. There are also many different variations of bungeoppang that make this even more fun and exciting. For example, you’ll see versions of this pastry filled with chocolate syrup, red beans, or honey taking the sweetness factor to the next level. Whether you’re craving something mildly sweet or something out-of-this-world sweet, pick up the fish-shaped bungeoppang. That is, if you’d like to eat Korean dessert snacks, which are a little more substantial than candy. If you find yourself in Seoul, you must try this interesting-looking snack.

Potato Hot dog (감자핫도그 | gamjahatdogeu)

Calling all cars – this is NOT a drill! One of the snacks that I am most excited about on this list is the potato hot dog, a crowd favorite in South Korea.

Street CusinePhoto credit: http://pinterest.com

This is literally a hot dog cooked to perfection and then covered in crispy, golden potatoes. What’s not to love? Pick up a potato-covered hot dog the next time you want to kill two birds with one stone (and have a great time doing it).

Deep-fried squid (오징어 튀김 | ojingeo twigim)

If you’re a squid lover, look no further – this deep-fried snack is for you!

Fried DishesPhoto credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Why would you order small pieces when you can go big and order the entire squid? Definitely not for the mildly hungry; this is perfect if you’re looking for a filling, easy-to-eat replacement for a meal and think you can handle eating an entire squid. Try Korean deep-fried snacks, and be sure to tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Fried snacks (튀김 | twigim)

Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like! Everybody loves to eat Korean fried street food.

Korean Street Foods 19 Deep-fried squidSource: http://theunashamedtourist.wordpress.com

Everyone loves fried food — fried chicken, french fries, Japanese tempura. Vendors of Korean dishes, specifically street food in Seoul, are well aware of this phenomenon. As a result, they offer various flash-fried vegetables and dumplings (made with ground meat and vegetables)  to satisfy your craving for flaky, fried goodness. Doctors say not to overdo it on the oil, but this is a great once-in-a-while treat that’s easy to eat on the go.

30cm Korean ice cream cone (30cm 아이스크림)

People in Korea don’t mess around when it comes to street foods in general, but they REALLY don’t mess around when it comes to ice cream. If you’re in search of one this summer, there is no better place to satisfy your craving than Korean street food stalls in Korea.

Popular Street FoodPhoto credit: http://www.pinterest.com

30cm ice cream cones in Seoul are three to four times the size of your typical Mr. Softee cone. Definitely pick up one of these bad boys so you can tell your friends back home that you successfully finished a monster ice cream cone!

Have you tried any of the street foods on this list? If so, what’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

    25 replies to "Korean Street Food: A Guide to Unique Delicacies in the South"

    • Avatar for Ivon Ivon

      I’ve tried most of these dishes and I can tell you for me Korean food is the best including their bbq. I’ve visited Asia in many occasions but can’t wait to visit Korea ❤️

    • Avatar for HAN-DA-EUN HAN-DA-EUN HAN-DA-EUN HAN-DA-EUN

      OMG!!!!!!Korean foods are just soo amazing!!!!!I’m in love with them and I cant wait to go to SEOUL,SOUTH KOREA and have these foods. seeing them itself is making my mouth water, at least I must try to cook them, and thanks for the information, it helped a lot and learned a lot about KOREA’s food
      THANK YOU!!!!!
      KAMSAHABNIDA!!!!

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Thanks for your passionate comment, Da-Eun! ^^

      • Avatar for Ivon Ivon

        So agree with you ..loveee their food

    • Avatar for Carmelita Reynolds Carmelita Reynolds

      Am loving Korean food,have tried making kimchi lately, love it…

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Great work, Carmelita! How does your kimchi taste? ^^

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