Korea's Street Food

When I think of street food I think of Thailand. Bowls of soup and rice, whole roasted fish, meat jammed onto a stick and dripping with sauce, blenders whirling fruit smoothies, everything spicy and delicious and extremely cheap. Thailand does it right, Vietnam does it right, and South Korea's not too shabby either. Korea's got a ton of street food, if you can find the right street. My biggest problem with Korean street food is finding it. Once you know where it is, you're good to go. Myeong-Dong in Seoul, one of South Korea's most famous shopping districts, is an awesome place to stuff your face with delicious street food. If they sell it in Korea, Myeong-Dong's got it, plus a whole lot more. From sausage to rice cake, from fried potatoes to sweet potatoes, there's no way you won't find something delicious. I'm personally a fan of the cinnamon pancakes, but a word of warning, the inner goo is unbelievably hot, I burn myself almost every time I get one. Also good are the sweet cream fish, the fat sausages on sticks, ddok-bokkee rice cake swimming in a red hot sauce, and... lots. Lots of it is really good and really cheap. My problem is that whenever I'm in this part of Seoul there are so many good proper restaurants it's hard to save the space for the street food. As always here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.
Doesn't matter where you are in Korea, you're likely to see a scene like this come nightfall.  People of all ages packed around a brightly lit food stall, steam rising over their heads.  These people are waiting for Deokbokkee and chicken feet, I think.



Fried potatoes are famous the world over, but here's Korea's "twist" on them.  Take the potato, skin it, but it in a way that creates a kind of ring swirling down, deep fry the potato,dip the fried potato in a bit of spices, and boom.  Sort of like french fries wrapped around a stick.  The best part of all of this is that a lot of this street food is served on incredibly sharp wooden skewers, so as you navigate the thousands of people on the street, you constantly risk being stabbed, or causing someone else to be stabbed in the face.  It adds a danger element that normal shopping is lacking.

Everywhere you go, you'll see roast chestnuts.  I've seen them in Spain and Turkey and also Korea.  Korea's really got the best system, as roasting chestnuts here happens in a way that's basically safe.  In Spain or Turkey, I forget, they just light a fire in a barrel, put a basket over the top and cook.  I'm never sure if it's a hobo fire, or a place to eat.
A lot of Korean street food is just straight up food, without a lot of decoration or adornment.  You'll see people eating corn on the cob, you'll see people eating sweet potatoes wrapped in foil, both plain with not much more than a dash of salt.

My favorite, just meat on a stick.  Maybe some mustard, maybe some ketchup, but usually just an impossibly difficult to eat skewer, and five mini-sausages.  

This is one of the more complicated street foods, and I have no idea what it is.  That being said, it appears to be... I really don't know, some kind of batter that's wrapped around either rice cake or a hot dog and then deep fried.

One of my least favorite options is the seafood.  Pressed and grilled octopus, squid, and cuttlefish gives the air around the cart a sharp fishy smell that I'm not a huge fan of.  But no mention of street food in Korea would be complete without a nod to the squid.

I believe that this is squid or octopus, roasted and eaten like jerky.  I imagine it's good if you're into it.


More twisty potatoes.  These things were selling non-stop.  By far the most popular item on the street.

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