Who Is the Champion of
Korean Street Food?
The Big Match between
Big Stars & Rising Stars
Trying local food is an important part of every trip. Some people would prefer to go to a restaurant, but the trend these days is eating street food. It is a good way to experience the food culture of a country at a low price. Korea boasts a long history of street food and has become a paradise of simple dishes you can eat on the go. Passing by the delicious smells would stimulate the appetite of any pedestrian. There are many fun ways to choose what street food to eat. Just now, <Korea Agrafood> is hosting a big match of Korean street food’s big stars versus rising stars. It’s up to you to decide the winners.
1. Kim Tteok Sun
His name is short for “gimbap, topokki, and sun-dae”
Kim Tteok Sun. Who is he? A Korean guy? No! This is the abbreviation of the most representative of Korean street foods: gimbap, topokki (teokbokki) and sun-dae. They are perfect dishes by themselves, but when brought altogether and accompanied by a fish cake broth, they become a special “street food meal” matching any expensive restaurant course.
Gimbap is made of sticky rice mixed with sugar, salt and vinegar, and various other ingredients such as strips of crabmeat, fish cake, fried eggs, spinach, carrots, cucumber, and radish. All these ingredients are then rolled in seaweed and cut into bite-size pieces. New types of gimbap have been introduced in recent years - gimbap filled with kimchi, tuna, cheese, and many other flavors. But when eaten on the street, kkoma gimbap (kid gimbap) is the best. It is a miniature gimbap prepared with just radish, carrots and spinach. The small size makes it very easy to eat.
Topokki, made with red pepper paste and red pepper powder, is very spicy both to Koreans and to foreigners. The Korean government surveyed 1,984 foreigners asking them to choose their favorite Korean food, and surprisingly, 313 of the respondents named topokki. So the dish came in the chart third. The snack is loved by people of all ages. It is made by stirring chewy tteok (rice cake), fish cake, and vegetables in an orange-colored sweet and spicy gochujang sauce.
This dish is boiled or steamed cow or pig intestines stuffed with various ingredients. It is a kind of blood sausage, so in the past many foreigners hated it. Nevertheless, the trend has changed and these days the unique chewy taste of sun-dae fascinates many foreign visitors.
2. Fish Cake
The Broth Is to Die for
Every food stand in Korea has fish cakes. Tasting chewy and soft, it is a good snack to alleviate one’s hunger.
What’s more, the anchovy or crab broth it is cooked in perfectly matches any food - whether sweet, spicy, or salty. No wonder the broth is a bosom buddy to any type of a street dish. Fish cake and a cup of broth will warm your body and mind on a cold day.
3. Fried Foods
Crispy and Delicious
Fried food and soy sauce are good friends, but they taste out of this world when accompanied by topokki. The most popular fried foods include shrimp, vegetables, and squid fritter. The ingredients are battered and fried, so the outside is crispy, while the insides remain soft.
4. Dak Kkochi - Chicken on Skewers
Grilling to Thank for Lower Fat and Improved Taste
You can easily spot skewered chicken on the street by the smell and smoke. The cooks lightly grill the pieces of chicken once, apply sauce, and grill them again. The taste is chewy, sweet, and spicy. Bite-sized chicken on skewers mixed with pieces of tteok and green onion is not only delicious but also fun to eat.
Gust Wind of Street
This is potato cut in a screw shape and fried. It is as thin as a nacho chip, so it is really crispy. You can enjoy it with a variety of sauces such as cheese, barbecue, and chili. Its great taste and unusual shape have made the snack a sensation in the Sinchon and Myeong-dong areas of Seoul.
Melt in Your Mouth
Insa-dong Street is a hot place among foreigners. Every day, there is a long waiting line on this street. If you wait, on the other end of the line, you can find kkultarae. It is a Korean dessert made of fine strands of honey and maltose. It looks similar to the Chinese dragon’s beard candy and for this reason is sometimes called “dragon’s mustache.” Tasting not very sweet, kkultarae melts in your mouth like cotton candy. Clerks are attending to customers with a show explaining how kkultarae is made.
There is often a crowd in a famous walking area, Ssamji-gil. If you ask people, “what happened?” they will answer, “we are going to buy dung.” In Ssamji-gil, you can see bread in the shape of dung. It is modeled on the area’s mascot, Ddongchimi. Though looking a bit disgusting, this soft bread filled with sweet red beans taste quite delicious.
I Am Tired of Waiting for My Hamburger. Sh*t (Jenjang).
Many burgers have been developed in Korea. But this time, a swear word enters the name? “sh*t burger.” The name was given to it by the people who waited for the burger in line till they had kicked their heels.
The burger is made by baking bread with butter and adding grilled golden-brown patty, cabbage, and sauce. The patty and sauce are so good that people are eager to stand in line so long they want to swear.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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