Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Street Food in Korea

Street Food is, generally, one of the biggest attractions when visiting a place -especially these days- and Korea isn't the exception. Street Food is usually for adventurous people, as not everyone dares to eat food off of the street stalls, to be honest, they don't know what they're missing!

As Mexican, I grew up in a culture filled with Street Food and I LOVE it, I mean, not for nothing Mexican Street Food is considered one of the Most Delicious in the World! So, not only am I used to street food but I am an enthusiast of it; no matter where I go, I gotta have street food. Of course, always being precocious enough as not every street stall meets -at least- the minimum hygienic standards one would look for in a place to eat.

Street Food in Korea has a wide variety that goes from very delicious to pretty nasty things, going through a lot of weird stuff! lol (seriously)

Tteokbokki (떡볶이 – spicy rice cakes). Rice cakes in a spicy red pepper paste sauce, one of my personal favorites, though the taste varies quite a lot depending on the place, but it’s usually very good, tasty and spicy.

Sundae (순대 – blood sausage). Coagulated pig’s blood, glass noodles and barley, with pig or cow intestines for the sausage skin. We have something similar in Mexico called “moronga’, and I find them almost equally disgusting. 

Odeng (오뎅 – fish cakes). They are skewered on a stick and left in a broth, they look like long-gross brown-colored tongues…or something lol It also looks like Mexican food called “pancita”, which is maybe the reason why I don’t like it, though the disgusting taste also contributes.

Twigim (튀김 – Fried Snacks). It’s a variety of things like shrimp, eggs, kimbap, sweet potato, lotus root, peppers, eggplant, etc, dipped in a batter and deep-fried. The good thing here is the variety, it’s always easy to find something you like.

Dalkggochi (닭꼬치 - Chicken skewers). Portions of dark-meat or chicken skewered together and grilled over open coals, covered with a tasty marinade throughout the cooking process. These are good and well, with chicken and/or meat, you can hardly go wrong…though I did get a stomachache both time I had it (true story!).

Jeon – ( - Korean pancakes). It’s a sort of pancake made with vegetables, kimchi (or other stuff) and batter, they’re fried up and made flat and round -just like a pancake!

Hoddeok – (호떡 – Sweet pancakes). A sweet (and in my opinion, much better tasting) version of the previous pancake. These are made of balls of dough and filled with cinnamon, and occasionally nuts. Then they’re put into a shallow pool of oil, squashed to form a pancake, and then flipped to finish cooking and melt the sugar inside.

“Olden Days” Hoddeok (옛날 호떡 - Sweet pancakes). The variation of the previous one , it is prepared in a similar way but this one is cooked in some kind of rotating waffle iron, making it not oily but dry as well as airier and crunchier. They’re both delicious if you ask me, but the first one is better for cold days.
Bungeobbang (붕어빵 - Crispy fish-shaped pastries). This one is a crispy pastry shell stuffed with either sweet red bean paste (not my favorite) or cream (my absolute favorite!). They’re usually served hot and that makes them even yummier.

Gyeranbbang (계란빵 - Egg bread). A sort of oval-shaped piece of bread with an egg baked on top of it. It might not sound very appetizing, but it is actually good. I mean, bread and egg? What can be wrong with that? lol


Ojingeo (오징어 - Grilled Cuttlefish). Dry and grilled cuttlefish, well, needless to say I haven’t tried this one but just by the smell I can tell you not everyone loves it. Though perhaps Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods) would!

Beondegi (번데기 - Silkworm pupae). Silkworm pupae. Toasted warms, pretty much sums the whole thing up. We also have a similar thing in Mexico called “chapulines”. Try them under your own risk, if the smell doesn’t kill you first that is!
Kimbap (김밥 Stuffed Rice rolls). Seaweed stuffed with cucumber, crab, turnip, a bit of sesame oil and a variety of things such as tuna, pork and stuff. I used to look at it as if it was “cheap” suchi…because it sort if looks like it, only this is served the whole role together (though it is cut up) unlike sushi, which is usually laid in a nice way; but now I really like it! I’d say it’s definitely one of the good ones.     

So, if you're looking for a quick bite with the local taste, just hit up the streets of Seoul (or any other city in Korea) and bite away! Have you already tried Korean Street Food? If so, how did you like it? Which one of your favorite?