Taste of Korea Tuesdays: serious street eats

Oh, how I love street food.

Pans of sizzling oil. Produce of every imaginable colour and shape. Sweet, sour and savoury notes all mingling as determined middle-aged vendors hawk their fare. Sampling food from street carts is an essential way to understand a cuisine, and by extension, a country as a whole. Not to mention, it adds a whole new dimension of delicious to your culinary discoveries!

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These are gyeranbbang, or steamed egg buns. With a whole egg in their centre, they make for a satisfying snack to hold a wanderer over until their next meal.

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These have the best name possible: Tornado Potato. A hybrid between french fries and chips, I have yet to try one, but they look great! (Deep fried potatoes- is it possible to go wrong?!)

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Snagged this skewer in Insadong. Succulent, lightly seasoned chicken and chunks of green onion. Delicious.

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My favourite cold-weather treat: hotteok! Soft dough is rolled out, and a spoonful of cinnamon sugar with walnuts is placed in the centre and sealed up. They’re fried in oil and flattened using a special press. End result: sweet yet not too heavy. Heaven!

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Chinese-style hotteok is crispy, with a hollow inside lightly coated with the same sugary, nutty filling. Still good, but not nearly as tempting, in this humble blogger’s opinion!

 

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Another form of street food: massive amounts of cabbages appearing at my local grocery store, just in time for kimjang (kimchi-making) season!

 

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Here’s a setup with fries, Korean-style hot dogs, and …what’s that boiling away in the background?

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Yup. Silkworm larvae. The smell of them boiling is quite terrible, especially with the knowledge of what’s in the pot.

For the record, I have sampled a variety of insects in Cambodia- deep-fried tarantulas, water beetles and crickets; stir-fried ants, salted silkworm larvae. Eating insects was a psychological challenge, and many were not nearly as bad as expected- but the silkworms were truly revolting!

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Don’t worry, if you missed your chance at the market, you can get a can at your local grocery store!


In the interest of ending this post with a food that’s actually appetizing, I bring you: a ham and cheese croquette! Guaranteed to taste just fine and contain 0% real insects.


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If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you can learn about other street eats in Seoul, including many options I’ve yet to try! Stay tuned 😉 

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4 thoughts on “Taste of Korea Tuesdays: serious street eats

  1. The tornado potatoes are amazing, and the hot dog potatoes are also pretty cool, but very unhealthy. You seem very clued up on Korean food, if you get the time please check out my Korean Foodporn post and tell me what you think, let me know of any errors. 😉 I shall have to write up my own version of Korean street food one day…but I must ask what did you think of the sundae? That was a pretty common street food when I was last in Seoul.

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    • Mmm, I do enjoy sundae. It’s funny, it’s actually the first thing I tried here. Disoriented and jetlagged, I wandered from my hotel to the nearest supermarket and pointed to two random dishes in the deli section- sundae and ddeokbokki. That was my first dinner! I thought, “I’m fairly certain this is blood sausage, but maybe I’ll wait til I finish eating it til I look it up.” I was not wrong!

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