Top 5 Korean Snacks, Street Foods, and Side Dishes You Should Definitely Try in South Korea pt.1

This list is OUTDATED! I’ve combined all Korean Food lists into this single post.

When you go to Korea, you should eat as much as can possibly fit into your stomach. Having spent the last three years here, I eat Korean food on a daily basis. In that time, I have amassed a big list of favorite things to eat which I hope to share with everyone. Because I would like you to eat a lot in your travels here, I have separated main dishes and snacks into two separate posts for your consumption benefit. I hope you get fat with these amazing street foods and snacks when you come to Korea. You can find the first food related Korea post here.

#5 Pickled and Fermented Spicy Cabbage (I guess)/ Kimchi / 김치

Kimchi is the signature side dish in Korea. Cabbage is cleaned and filled with salt to draw out the water (watch the video). Then, it is prepared with a red paste and left to ferment for weeks, months, or longer. Kimchi, much like wine, apparently gets better with age. It is also quite expensive to buy prepared in stores, as they can go for about 9,000 won ($8.50 USD) a kilo (2.2 lbs for you Americans that can’t convert). Because of this, many people make kimchi for the rest of the year sometime in September or October when the cabbage is cheapest and store it in specifically designed “kimchi refrigerators” (I’m not joking). As Koreans eat kimchi with anything, you won’t have trouble finding it at any “kimbap restaurant” or pretty much anywhere.

So, if it is the signature side dish, why is it ranked so low? Because it is overrated (at least for my foreigner taste buds). Have you ever woken up one day and thought, “man, I really want to have some cabbage today!” No, no one outside of Korea has ever thought of that because cabbage is a very average (or below) vegetable. I do like cabbage sometimes and I do recommend that you try kimchi once, but it is not the be-all and end-all of Korean cuisine. There are many snacks that taste better. In fact, I recommend kimchi more for its cultural impact on Korean people, than its actual taste. Besides, it will be free with most meals, so just try it.

If you are more familiar with Korean cuisine, it might be prudent to add that there is not just one kind of kimchi. There are actually more than twenty kinds which can be found at any large super market if you want to sample them all. For the purposes of this article, kimchi will mean the most common type of Korean kimchi (the red cabbage one).

Related Articles / Links on other Sites:

1) Best Kimchi (To be honest, kimchi is found with ANY meal, but this ppyeohaejangguk place has my favorite kimchi)

Related Articles / Useful links on This Site:

1) Best Korean Main Course Dishes pt.1

2) Evaluation: King Sejong Tomb in Korea [UNESCO World Heritage Site]

3) Three Things to do in Southern Seoul

4) Three More Things to do in Southern Seoul

#4 Chicken Skewers / Dak Kochi / 닭 꼬치

Dak Kochi

The idea is very simple: Grill some chicken and some green onions on a stick and put some sauce on it, but it is still very delicious. In many of the markets or shopping centers in Korea, you will see people selling Dak Kochi on the street. While many are out year round, you can see them especially in the late fall or early spring when it is just warm enough to be outside at night. They are a great street food, and the vendors are usually some of the friendliest people around. They cost about 2000 won each ($1.80 USD) so grab one to hold you over until your next big meal!

Related Articles / Useful Links on other Sites:

1) A pretty good stand

Related Articles / Useful links on This Site:

1) Best Korean Main Course Dishes pt.1

2) Evaluation: King Sejong Tomb in Korea [UNESCO World Heritage Site]

3) Three Things to do in Southern Seoul

4) Three More Things to do in Southern Seoul

#3 Kimchi Dumplings / Kimchi Mandu / 김치만두

Kimchi Mandu

The Korean dumpling is very similar to the Chinese one in that it is something wrapped in flour and steamed. Kimchi mandu has kimchi, other ground vegetables, and (probably) pork. This makes it taste much better than a meat dumpling and is a euphoria of flavors in your mouth that comes completely unexpected if you have had kimchi before. While you could easily eat kimchi mandu as your main meal, it is best if ordered as a side dish to a main meal. It is easily found at any kimbap restaurant and is around 2500 won ($2.20 USD) for a serving of seven dumplings (usually).

At first read, this sounds disgusting, especially given the glowing review I just gave kimchi. But this goes to show, all kimchi is not the same. One thing I do love about kimchi is that it is similar to an egg in that it tastes very different depending on how you prepare it. If you grill it, eat it cold, or have it very finely diced, it can seem like they are completely different foods. Kimchi mandu is a fantastic side dish and I don’t know how to conclude these paragraphs!

Related Articles / Useful links on This Site:

1) Best Korean Main Course Dishes pt.1

2) Evaluation: King Sejong Tomb in Korea [UNESCO World Heritage Site]

3) Three Things to do in Southern Seoul

4) Three More Things to do in Southern Seoul

#2 Syrup Filled Pancakes / Hottok / 호떡

hotteok

Hottok is Korea’s version of a pancake where the syrup is on the inside instead of the top. This is very convenient as it is a street food that many people eat on the go without the use of a fork (imagine the mess otherwise!) Hottok is very hot, so carts that prepare it spring up in many markets and shopping centers only in the winter. The syrup tends to have some nuts in the blend, which gives it a delicious texture, and the flour itself is very thick and rich. I am not sure of the exact nutritional values, but I am certain that it is not good, so do yourself a favor only eat one don’t look them up. They are around 700 won (.50 cents) and can be found in any shopping area.

Related Articles / Useful Links on other Sites:

1) Sunshin University area has some good Hotteok

Related Articles / Useful links on This Site:

1) Best Korean Main Course Dishes pt.1

2) Evaluation: King Sejong Tomb in Korea [UNESCO World Heritage Site]

3) Three Things to do in Southern Seoul

4) Three More Things to do in Southern Seoul

#1  Egg in a Bread / Kyeranppang / 계란빵

GyeranpangThe formula looks so simple, bread and egg. Maybe other people have thought about this before, but the Korean kyeranppang is the best street snack out there. I really hate the winter, but along with hotteok (#2), I look forward to vendors selling this egg bread delight. Along with hotteok, it is usually only sold in the winter, but again, pretty much anywhere. I know that is kind of discouraging for a newcomer to the country, so I have mapped out a place in Hongdae (a nice nightlife area) where I usually get my kyeranppang fix. If you know where to get this outside of Korea, let me know!

Related Articles / Useful Links on other Sites:

1) Hongdae Kyeranppang

Related Articles / Useful links on This Site:

1) Best Korean Main Course Dishes pt.1

2) Evaluation: King Sejong Tomb in Korea [UNESCO World Heritage Site]

3) Three Things to do in Southern Seoul

4) Three More Things to do in Southern Seoul

Just making this list made me hungry.

Follow Me

Julio Moreno

Julio is a California native who has lived abroad since 2009 as an expat in South Korea and New Zealand. He is especially passionate about experiencing other cultures and visiting as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.
Follow Me

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Korean Snacks, Street Foods, and Side Dishes You Should Definitely Try in South Korea pt.1

    • May 10, 2013 at 2:27 am
      Permalink

      I hope you try some of these. I have never seen these foods outside of Korea except for Korean BBQ.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge