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!
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.
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?!)
Snagged this skewer in Insadong. Succulent, lightly seasoned chicken and chunks of green onion. Delicious.
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!
Here’s a setup with fries, Korean-style hot dogs, and …what’s that boiling away in the background?
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!
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 😉