How to Say ‘Street Food’ in Korean

Street food stand in South Korea

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Sometimes the munchies might hit you when you’re out and about with no chance to sit down and eat. Luckily, Korea has some amazing street food!

We’ll show you how to say ‘street food’ in Korean.

In addition, we’ll give some example uses, as well as fun ways to remember the term.

Here we go! 

A street store selling Korean food in front of another Korean store

This lesson is written in both English and Hangul (the Korean Alphabet). You don’t need to know Hangeul to learn the words in this lesson, but it will definitely make learning Korean easier and faster.

You can learn the Korean alphabet here in about 1 hour using fun stories and associations.

‘Street Food’ in Korean

The word for how to say street food in Korean is 길거리 음식 (gilgeori eumsik). You may have already learned in our other lessons that the word 길거리 (gilgeori) means ‘street’ in Korean, while the word 음식 (eumsik) means ‘food’. So the word in Korean, just like in English, is formed by simply combining these two words into one.

If you’re excited to try all the wonderful Korean street food there is to offer, but don’t know where to begin, then check out our picks for some of the best street food in Korea.

How to Remember “Street Food” in Korean

To remember the phrase 길거리 음식 (gilgeori eumsik) we’ll create an association with a story in English. This will aide in recall when we need to remember it.

If you’ve read our guide for how to say ‘street’ in Korean then you’ll know our associations for 길 (gil) and 거리 (geori) are fish gills and goalie which we can use in this association. Imagine that the goalie is guarding some fish gill street food on the street.

For 음식 (eumsik | food) we’ll use a phrase that sounds similar. It kind of sounds like I’m sick so we’ll go with that (associations don’t have to be exact, they just have to be easy enough that they help you remember the target word or phrase).


Association:

“I wanted to try Korean Street Food but the gill goalie kept fighting with me and now I’m sick.” (길거리 음식 | gilgeori eumsik)


Creating a vivid image of this story (especially if it looks very ridiculous to you) will help you recall it even better since strange and unusual things are easier for our brains to remember.

What associations did you come up with? Let us know in the comments below!

About Korean Street Food

Korean cities sure have plenty of great street food going on! The term “street food” means “food that is sold from the side of the road.”  It’s cheap, it gets done fast, and while it’s simple, it’s also surprisingly filling. You might even want to substitute a regular meal just to taste the different street foods available in areas like Myeongdong or Gangnam in Seoul!

Since you know how to say “street food” in Korea, make sure you get out and use it. If you’re living or traveling in Korea, you might try asking some questions using some common phrases. Use these phrases along with the Korean word for street food and ask the locals for their recommendation of the best street food. 

A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?

Sample Sentences

korean street food

Formal:

한국에서는 다양한 길거리 음식이 있으세요? (hangugeseoneun dayanghan gilgeori eumsigi isseuseyo?)

Does Korea have diverse street food available?

한국에서는 어떤 길거리 음식을 있으세요? (hangugeseoneun eotteon gilgeori eumsigeul isseuseyo?)

What kind of street food does Korea have?

Standard:

한국빼고 어느 나라에서는 다양한 길거리 음식 문화가 있을까요? (hangukppaego eoneu naraeseoneun dayanghan gilgeori eumsik munhwaga isseulkkayo?)

Excluding Korea, which countries have diverse street food cultures?

아직 전통적인 한국의 길거리 음식을 먹어 본 적 있어요? (ajik jeontongjeogin hangugui gilgeori eumsigeul meogeo bon jeok isseoyo?)

Have you tried traditional Korean street food yet?

서울 어디서 제일 맛있는 길거리 음식을 먹어 볼 수 있을까요? (seoul eodiseo jeil masinneun gilgeori eumsigeul meogeo bol su isseulkkayo?)

Where in Seoul can I have the most delicious street food?

Informal:

어떤 길거리 음식을 제일 좋아해? (eotteon gilgeori eumsigeul jeil joahae? )

What is your favorite street food?

So what Korean street food will you try first? What’s your favorite? Do you know other important Korean words for getting street food? Let us know in the comments below!

Want more Korean phrases? Click here for a complete list!

Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto

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