Howdy & welcome!
Now I firmly believe that a good life should be a balance between hard work and indulgence and a good diet should be a good balance of diet and exercise. But seriously when you’re in Seoul just forget about your diet for a sec, I mean lets be honest, besides K-pop and K-beauty – South Korea is renown for it’s cuisine! Not only are the food absolutely delicious but they are super affordable and readily available!
I stayed at a hotel in the heart of Myeong-dong, Seoul – which is basically the shopping hotspot of the city, vision back to back skincare and fashion stores and streets lines with carts of food! When I was in Seoul in 2014, I was not yet a skincare fanatic or makeup enthusiast so I actually skipped all the shopping (yes, I can see heads shaking) but I made up for that by eating… yes, we ate ALOT.
In all honesty, not being able to speak Korean was a massive barrier for us and ordering food was pretty hard. But hey body language is universal so there’s no excuses! 😉
This is obviously not an extensive list, but it’s definitely a list of street food that I crave for even now! 😛
Tornado Potato/ Hweori Gamja
Tornado Potato is basically a deep fried potato that has been thinly sliced and seasoned with salt or cheese (depending on the flavour you pick). You can also opt for one that is wrapped around a sausage (as above), but I prefer the plain cheesy ones. This is best eaten straight after it comes out of the frying pan, because of the freezing weather there in Seoul (at the time), once out the potatoes can cool rapidly leaving them less crunchy and less appetising.. So eat em as soon as you can! There’s plenty of Tornado potato stores in Myeong-dong, obviously its a hot favourite! 😉
Sugar Lollipop/ Bbopkki
These were my favourite! Basically just a honey comb that has been flatten out and engraved with cutesy pictures. Apparently if you can take out the ‘picture’ without breaking the lollipop then you get it free – not easy! It has a burnt caramel taste to it and its crunchy and super thin – definitely something I would recommend!
Now, I’ve used the term ‘Fried Squid’ but I don’t think it adequately explains it. This stores sells everything squid related from fried Squid, to dried squid, grilled squid and this other flat-crips-like squid thing which I don’t exactly know what it is. I like these packaged squid because it’s handy so you can eat as you explore the city! Nothing magical about it though, just practically packaged shredded squid that will keep your mouth occupied until you see something else you wanna eat 🙂 .
French Fry-covered Hot Dogs/ Gamja Hot Dog
Korea’s French Fry-covered Hot Dogs was something I knew I had to try, before arriving in Korea I had researched about it and something about it sounded so delicious (I dunno, maybe the fact that its a deep fried sausage and fries combo?!). Now this took some hunting for and eventually I found them. They don’t give it to you straight away because they have to reheat it (either by microwaving it or re-deep frying it) then they dress it up with a decent amount of tomato sauce (Ketup) and mustard. Its wasn’t as crunchy as I have envisioned it to be, rather it was a bit dough-like and the sausage wasn’t anything special. Overall it was okay (it looks great tho), I guess you can try it if you have some calories to spare.
FRESH Pomegranate Juice
I absolutely L-O-V-E-D the pomegranate juice – they are freshly juiced in front of you, the one downside is that it’s quite expensive ($5 AUD per bag)! It’s a delicate balance of sweetness and sourness. You can taste the freshness of the pomegranate and the hint of bitter reminds you how healthy it is for you. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but once you’re hooked there’s no going back!
This is a traditional Korean/Chinese sweet. Basically it’s stringed sugar, pulled so fine that the ‘sugar candy’ become tiny threads which they then use to wrap around a mixture of nuts. If you’re lucky enough you may get to witness the whole production process which is rather entertaining. This isn’t something that we went ga-ga over, it was interesting and the product involved a lot of skills to make but it was rather too simple-tasting for us 😐 .
My little sister literally went bananas over this! Her addiction to K-drama meant that the first thing we did when we got settled in Seoul was hunt for these bad boys. Her addiction to it was so intense that I eventually gave in and tried them just to see what the fuss was about (at the time something about banana and milk sounded non-apitising).. then I was just as crazy as she was about it. The banana milk tastes .. fresh? Like it was a refreshing drink and the banana flavour was pretty genuine (I still don’t think they used real bananas anyways). You can find these in the Seven Eleven Stores, which are all over the place, the packaging is also really fun.
I’d walked pass a lot of stores selling Hotteok but never once thought about buying them only because they looked a little plain to me. Hotteok is basically a pan-fried pancake with sweet filling (generally brown sugar) .. No fancy fries on top or dipped in any luscious looking red sauce. But it was my parents who’d brought back some to the hotel one day and suggested we try them. To our surprise it was actually quite good, nice and crispy on the outside and hot and sweet on the inside perfect for the cold winter season in Seoul.
Tornado Ice cream
This mother of all ice creams was on my sister’s ‘Hit-list’ since the day we knew we were heading to Seoul for a family trip. She’d seen every post about it, watched every youtube video and have listed all the possible places to find it before we even packed our bags… But disappointingly, when we got to Seoul we couldn’t find it because it was winter and obviously no one in the right mind would eat ice cream when it’s snowing outside. For six days her face was that of devastation, her sole purpose for this trip was to indulge in this ‘Tornado Ice-cream’ and thank god we found it on our last day there!
In fact, it was a complete coincidence, we were lost and my sister (who obviously haven’t given up on the hunt yet) found it with her sharp – hunters- eyes and so we got three massive ice cream and walked around Myeong-dong with it on a cold and snowy winters night. We could actually see parents looking at us in disapproval, little kids were begging their parents to get them some after they’d seen three adults indulging in them. Because it was so cold, the ice cream tasted like snow flakes – it was like I was eating a litre worth of snowflakes that melted delicately in my warm mouth. I think the fun factor was the biggest winner for these babies, so if you’re heading to Seoul, be a big baby and get one of these! 😉
🙂 🙂 🙂
And that’s the end of my Seoul Street Food list, like I said there’s obviously a lot more street food in Seoul so I suggest you pack your bags and visit to find out for yourself how great the foods are! 😉
I hope you enjoyed it and until next time, stay curious!