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10 Must-try South Korean Snacks

June 15th, 2009 by

South Korea has its own share of traditional snacks, from baked goods stuffed with bean paste to the steamed silkworm pupae. If you find yourself adventurous for some exotic delicacy or just hungry from a day’s sightseeing, then head for the nearest street food vendor (pojangmacha) and order up some tasty Korean treats.


Beondegi - stewed and seasoned silkworm pupae served by street vendors. They are also popular accompaniments to liquor in bars and are available in cans for grocery purchases.  The canned versions have a boiled hotdog aroma, which does not help in making the product appealing, but the deep-fried variety tastes like deep-fried peanut skin filled with a woody foie gras-like paste.
Gimbap - steamed white rice (bap) rolled in sheets of dried seaweed (gim) together with meat and a variety of vegetables and served cold in bite-sized pieces. The rice may be seasoned with salt and sesame or parilla oil. Gimbap is a popular picnic item and comes with a bowl of kimchi for dipping.

Hobbang - a hot snack made of pre-cooked rice flour filled with bean paste. The hobbang is kept in a steamer to be served in convenience stores around Korean cities.

Hotteok - Korean filled pancakes served during the winter months. Handfuls of stiff wheat-flour dough are stuffed with a delicious mix of brown sugar, honey, chopped peanuts, and cinnamon, placed on a greased griddle, then pressed into a flat circle with a special tool. Ready-to-cook hotteok mixes are available in Korean supermarkets, complete with the fillings in a separate plastic bag.

Tteokbokki - a street food made by broiling meat, vegetables, eggs, and seasonings in water, then topped with gingko nuts and walnuts before serving.

Twibap - literally meaning, “puffed rice”, this puffy cookie is made from rice or corn.

Oksusu cha – literally meaning, “corn tea”, this drink is made from boiled roasted corn kernels, and does not actually contain tea leaves. To prepare it, the kernels are dried and roasted until they turn golden brown. The roasted corn is then brewed until the boiling water turns a pale yellow. The strained drink is naturally sweet, although sugar may be added for taste.

Gyeongju bread – bakeries are popular in the heritage town of Gyeongju, and one type of pastry is renowned here most of all. It is a type of pancake stuffed with sweet red bean paste.

Bungeoppang – fish-shaped pastry filled with red bean paste. This snack is made by pouring batter into a waffle iron with grooves that are shaped like fish, then added with red bean paste and closed off with more batter. Another variety called Gukwappang is floral in shape; both are served hot and enjoyed during the winter season.


Eomuk – boiled fish paste that is sold in street carts during the winter months, and commonly accompanies soju or other beverages. The eomuk is skewered before boiling in broth and dipped first in soy sauce before eating, a soft snack with a bit of a fishy smell to it. The broth is sometimes served along for sipping and dipping. Eomuk may be prepared by deep-frying during the colder months.

4 Responses to “10 Must-try South Korean Snacks”

  1. 7 Most Disgusting Insect Delicacies on Earth Says:

    […] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, […]

  2. Ponjangmacha: Korea’s Street Food Vendors Says:

    […] by makeshift plastic tents, while trucks and vans are converted into kitchens where all kinds of greasy food are prepared. These street vendors are so commonplace that they are regularly featured in Korean […]

  3. Adam Leigh Says:

    There is one more brilliant street snack to add to the list. It is a sweet not a savoury and I have no idea what it is called. You will recognize it right away beacause the vendors have a distinct round oven that they bake the snacks in. The vendor places an egg, sugar and cinnamon plus other secret ingredients into an oval, metal, one-serving baking container. The container goes in the round gas oven on a rotating platform. Once the container has completed one full turn of the oven it is fully baked. These treats are sweet, hot, yummy and cheap. A poor man’s creme brulee perhaps? Bon Appetit as they say in Korea!

  4. Marie Frenette Says:

    Isn’t that 계란빵 Egg Bread?


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