Korean Street Food – The Best Cart Cuisines in Seoul

Curious about the delicious Korean street food?

South Korea is well-known for too many things to count – music, television, and a rich, interesting history are only a few of the things that make Korean culture so unlike any other.

different kinds of Korean street foods and a pair of chopsticks

Whether you’re looking for a quick, salty snack or an adventure for your taste buds, read on to find out about some of the best street food in Korea to get a glimpse of Korean food culture!

Korean Street Food

Korean street food is an aspect of the culture in Korea that is unique and hard to beat. Tasting food sprinkled throughout the streets of South Korea is definitely a must-try experience for any tourist.

These Korean street foods are proof that you don’t need to spend too much to enjoy a good meal. The best part about them is they’re everywhere! You won’t have a hard time searching for street foods in Korea that you can try.

List of must-try South Korean street foods

If you plan to visit Korea anytime soon, it’s best to come prepared and know the food that you wish to try beforehand.

So, we’ve added a list of the most popular street food that you can find in South Korea. Hopefully, you can try all of these!

Sundae (순대)

Sundae is a unique take on the blood sausage phenomenon in Korea. The Korean blood sausage is a dish that is often considered unusual, but it 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.

Korean street food sundae
Source: 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. Don’t knock this blood sausage before you try it!

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Fried snacks (튀김 | twigim)

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

Korean street food fried snacks
Source: http://theunashamedtourist.wordpress.com

Street food vendors in Seoul are well aware of this phenomenon. As a result, they offer various flash-fried vegetables and Korean dumplings 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.

Tteokbokki (떡볶이)

Tteokbokki is not for the faint of heart – this dish comprises unassuming, mild rice cakes saturated in an intense, savory, sweet, and spicy sauce. Korean spicy is definitely more intense than your everyday spicy, so tread lightly!

Korean street food ddeokbokki
Source: http://thelaygastronomer.wordpress.com

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

Hotteok (호떡)

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

Korean street food hotteok
Source: http://koreabapsang.com

Hotteok is a dessert dish that involves griddle cakes fried on a hot plate stuffed with various sweet additions, including different types of sugar, fruits, and syrups. Grab some hotteok the next time you’re craving something sweet – these are especially sweet when the weather gets cooler!

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 food egg bread
Source: http://www.thetattoobank.com

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

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Walnut cakes (호두 과자 | hodu gwaja)

Take a walk on the sweeter side, and try walnut cakes the next time you’re out and about.

Korean street food walnut cakes
Source: 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 cuisines 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 kimbap
Source: http://www.pbs.org

There’s rice and your choice of topping in the seaweed – some of the more popular ingredient choices include kimchi and octopus. This food 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 in the Korean cuisine. Tteok kkochi popular food, for instance, is simply grilled rice cakes skewered on a stick. Unlike the 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) dish above, this one doesn’t have any fish cake.

Korean street food rice cake skewers
Source: http://www.yummly.com

Sometimes simple is best, and the insanely popular spicy rice cakes go to show it! Taste and try Korean rice cake skewers out the next time you’re looking for food 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 sweet potato sticks
Source: http://www.genconnect.com

These sticks are a (slightly) healthier alternative to their cousin, the French fries. However, they’re prepared the same way – deep fried in hot 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. Get ‘em while they’re hot!

Kimchi fried rice (김치볶음밥 | gimchibokkeumbap)

You can’t get more Korean than a Seoul street food dish that combines kimchi and fried rice for your snacking pleasure.

The 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 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 bundaeggi
Source: http://taliasfootsteps.wordpress.com

Despite sounding (and looking) not as enticing as the rest of the dishes on this list, this food 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 deep fried fish paste, served on a chopstick for easy access.

Korean street food hotba
Source: http://www.pinterest.com

Best served steaming hot, 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)

This Korean fried chicken, cup chicken, is unlike any dish you’ll find at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Korean street food cup chicken
Source: 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!

Potato Hot Dogs (감자핫도그 | gamjahatdogeu)

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

Korean Street Food 18 French Fry Hot Dog
Photo credit: http://pinterest.com

This food 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!

Korean Street Food 19 Deep-fried squid
Photo 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 deep-fried squid. Try Korean deep-fried snacks, and be sure to tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Korean street food dessert

If you’ve had your fill of street food, why don’t you try the desserts next? After all, there’s always room for dessert, and you’ll never go wrong with the desserts you’ll find in street food stalls! We’ve also listed the best ones below.

Ice cream-filled Korean waffles (아이스크림 와플)

This one almost doesn’t need an explanation – who doesn’t love ice cream or waffles? This is one of the popular Korean street foods in Seoul, and it pairs two of the best foods on earth and marries them into one easy-to-eat, delicious Korean food that you can eat on the go.

Korean Street Food 14 Ice Cream Filled Waffles
Source: http://wafflesource.com

I personally love that the waffle adds a bit of crunch to the dessert that ice cream doesn’t have on its own – it makes this treat way more satisfying than enjoying each of them solo. Try Korean waffles the next time you’re looking for something light a sweet after a filling Korean meal!

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).

Korean Street Food 15 Cotton Candy
Source: 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, Korean 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?

Korean Street Food 16 Sugar Lollipop
Photo credit: http://blog.daum.net

What you won’t find at home, however, 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! You might find this familiar if you have watched Squid Game.

If you love candy, give the challenge a try – in the best-case scenario, you get two sugar lollipops, and in the worst-case scenario, you still have one!

Korean Fish Bread (붕어빵 | bungeoppang) a.k.a Korean Fish Pastry

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

Korean Street Food 17 Goldfish Bread
Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com

The first thing you’ll notice about this snack is its fish-shaped appearance. This Korean fish-shaped pastry is something all tourists should try.

There are also many different variations of bungeoppang that make this food even more fun and exciting. For example, you’ll see versions of this pastry filled with ice cream and chocolate syrup, apart from the usual red bean paste, 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.

30cm Korean ice cream cone (30cm 아이스크림)

People in Korea don’t mess around when it comes to Korean 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 Food stalls.

Korean Street Food 20 Insanely huge Korean ice cream cone
Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com

30cm ice cream cones in Korea are three to four times the size of your typical Mr. Softee cone, so this dessert is definitely not for the faint of heart or anyone without some serious room in their stomach.

If you love this dessert so much that you put other ice cream fans to shame, 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!

Wrap Up

Before we wrap up, here’s another resource for food-related vocabulary you might want to learn!

All snacks are not created equally – this list encompasses a wide variety of treats, and you’re bound to have a favorite. Please tell us about your favorite Korean food in Seoul, Busan, or any part of the country in the comments below!

Also, let us know if we’re missing anything – we’re ALWAYS ready to taste and try Korean snacks, no matter how unique and new they may be!

Ordering any food from a foreign country can be a bit tough. But knowing how to communicate well in Korean can help a lot! Our structured online course can make the learning process a whole lot easier. You’ll find evident progress in just 90 days. Learn more about it here and start buying with ease.

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