Street food in Seoul is tasty, cheap, and easy to find. Typically, you step out of your Seoul hotel, walk for half a minute, and find a food vendor. Unless you insist, there is absolutely no need to go inside a restaurant when you can enjoy the many treats sold on the street. However, knowing what you eat is sometimes a good idea. Most travelers agree that when Seoul food in general—and street food in particular—looks bad, it generally tastes amazingly. However, some of the stuff you can find in this Korean city will challenge even the most adventurous of foodies. Think Bear Grylls in the wild, then find his mean on your plate.
The Popular and the Tasty
Some Seoul street foods are definitely a must! The spicy rice cakes tteokbokki are on top of every list you’ll ever find. They contain rice cakes, spicy red pepper sauce, and fish cakes. There are trucks selling this treat everywhere, most of them open till late at night. While the name itself warns they are spicy, you should still be careful. They can get spicier from one vendor to another.
Fried snacks are equally popular in Seoul. You can choose squid, dumplings, vegetables, or sweet potatoes, usually five choices per serving, have them fried, then munch away. If you want to add a little spice, try asking your vendor to give you some tteokbokki sauce as dip. If you find a nice one, they will throw in a few free rice cakes.
Fish cakes are the cheapest food you’ll find on Seoul’s streets. The best part? You don’t really have to place an order. If you stand by a food stand, you just grab a few and eat. Once you’re done, the vendor will count the now empty skewers and tell you how much you owe them. The fish cake broth is not really a separate dish. The broth is free and you can refill your cup any number of times you like.
Photo Kristin Rust by via Trover.com
The Questionable yet Still Amazing
As we move into the questionable category, the dish I’ve selected is blood sausage. No, that is not a just a name, the pig intestines are filled with noodles, barley, and… pork blood. Sounds weird? You bet, but they are absolutely delicious, so make sure you try them.
The Crazy Weird Variety
Adventure in Seoul does not involve any kind of life threatening contraptions. All you have to do is try some of the food… One of the most popular crazy foods is beongdegi, steamed silkworm larvae. Think it sounds bad? Try pig feet or jokbal, live squid (yup, it’s moving while you eat it), or the fermented skate. I’d say the chicken feet are equally bad, but let’s be honest, I am Romanian, in some rural areas of the country, those are added to chicken broth!
Bonus – A Surprisingly Familiar Find
Steamed corn on the cob is quite common in Seoul. Imagine my surprise, as steamed corn is one of the most popular early summer street treats in Romania! We typically add a little salt to it, but this Korean variety is just perfect!