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Discover 30 Must-Try Korean Street Food | What to eat and where

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As a Korean American living in Korea, I often crave and think about a lot of my childhood memories of all the different types of street food in Korea. Korean street food can be quite overwhelming when you don’t know the names, the ingredients, or what to order. Most people are familiar with Korean BBQ, Kimchi Jjigae (Stew), and other popular dishes. So I have written this extensive post on street food in Korea. I have broken them down into different sections, from Traditional to Modern, this Korean street food list should be perfect for any foodie or someone unsure of what to try. 

Be sure to grab my free downloadable Korean street food checklist here!  

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Korean Street Food in Myeongdong

Korean Street Food – 30 Must-Try Korean Street Food

There are so many delicious Korean street foods and nowadays it’s harder to find some of the traditional street foods available. There are Korean street foods all over, but many people can easily find Seoul street foods the best. Usually, you can only grab street food in Korea at a 시장 or traditional market. When I was a kid, it was so easy to find a lot of these available everywhere you went. However, the government has put some rules down on where many of these vendors can put their stalls. There are still some available on different corners, it just varies and can be more difficult. You might also be interested in trying some Korean Instant Noodles, you can read all about it here.

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Traditional Korean Street Food

Traditional Korean street food is some of the food I crave the most. It’s unforgivingly Korean. A lot of dishes in Korea have never changed their recipes to modernize to western culture like many Japanese and Chinese cuisines. In the US, I ate a lot of these traditional dishes and it was never picked up by foreigners and ultimately was made by Koreans for Koreans back then. 


Kimbap 김밥 – Dried Seaweed Rice Roll

This is probably one of the more well-known traditional Korean street food. I grew up eating this so often and it’s easily accessible in Korean markets in the US. My mom would make this or we would buy it at the local store. It’s similar to a sushi roll but different. There is no raw fish, it’s usually made with beef, ham, or tuna and carrots, pickled radish, cucumbers, and other vegetables. It’s a great snack to get because you can easily take it anywhere with you and enjoy it on a picnic. 

Eomuk (Korean Word) or Odeng (Japanese Borrowed Word) – Fish Cake

Alright, you might be wondering why there are 2 words being used to describe this dish. Well when I was young, we always called it Odeng. However, Odeng is a Japanese borrowed word (there are others) that Koreans were kind of forced to use when the Japanese occupied Korea. Koreans have recently been taking back their traditional Korean words like Eomuk, however, Korean’s know both words. 

Eomuk is a fish cake soup. It is often paired with Tteokbokki, which is a spicy rice cake. The fish cake is served on a stick and it is charged per stick. They used to be super cheap at about 100 won each but recently are around 1000 won each ~ $1USD. It’s great to drink some of the soup during a cold winter day. 


Tteokbokki – Spicy Rice Cake

These are spicy rice cakes. These rice cakes are usually made fresh daily and are very long. In some restaurants, they are so long that you will need to cut them yourselves with some scissors. With Tteokbokki, you often eat some fried food called twigim like fried shrimp and fried veggies. It’s great to dip into the sauce. Like I stated above, Eomuk Fish Cake and Tteokbokki often make the best combination. 

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Netflix's Kalguksu at Gwangjang Market - Kimchi Mandu Street Food

Mandu 만두

This is absolutely one of my favorite dishes. I remember making them with my family on New Year’s Day. These are meat-filled dumplings that can be fried like a potsticker or steamed. Sometimes they are in soup and sometimes not. If you haven’t watched  Netflix’s Street Food: Asia on the Seoul, South Korea episode on Netflix, I highly suggest you watch it. You will see one of the famous places to get Kalguksu (which technically isn’t street food since you have to sit and wait for it to be made). I highly recommend eating her kimchi mandu though. 

Dried Squid 오징어

I think about this all the time. This was something my mom would make me at home all the time and I would ask for it consistently as a kid. It’s a street snack and it’s pretty much a roasted or toasted dried squid. It’s so good to eat warm and sometimes you dip it in mayo. If you love squid, I highly recommend trying it. It’s like jerky, so it’s chewy, smokey, and sometimes sweet. 

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Pajeon – Scallion Pancakes

This is a popular favorite with many people. Pajeon is a scallion pancake, sometimes served with other items, but Pajeon is usually just rice flour, water, eggs, and scallions. It is cooked on a stovetop and it’s served with soy sauce. Some pancakes may be filled with seafood or meat depending on the location and delicacy. Other options also include Kimchi Pancake and Potato Pancakes. 

Kimchi Pancake 김치전

This is made similarly to Pajeon, except instead of scallions it is made with kimchi. I love both but I had to highlight the kimchi pancake because this one is cooked just as often as the Pajeon and you can usually find the 2 together. So it depends on if you want something spicy or not. These will be common to find in traditional markets. 

Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts are a popular street food during the winter months. It’s often found on every corner and it’s easy to grab and bring anywhere you go. It’s absolutely delicious. It reminds me of the holidays and plays some nostalgia to Korea. 

Sweet Potatoes

One of the easiest street foods to find and it’s often found even at convenience stores. It’s so popular that you can find it everywhere. Many Korean’s will buy these in bulk and roast them at home as well. Just peel the skin back and enjoy. 

Japchae – Glass noodles with veggies and meat

This is a popular banchan or side dish in Korea. It’s made with a sweet potato glass style noodle and mixed with beef, carrots, and other small veggies. They add sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar to make the flavor. Others will add their own flairs to the dish and some may include different ingredients. It’s a must-try dish in South Korea if you love noodles. This is most popular found at a Korean traditional market. 

Sundae – Korean Blood Sausage

This is made with potato noodles and pork blood. It’s a popular dish to have with fried things, jeon (pancake/fried items), and is a popular favorite. Although when it comes to many foreigners the decision is quite split in who likes it and who doesn’t. For me, it’s not something I crave, but it is something I can eat. 


Bindaetteok – Mungbean Pancakes

These are absolutely delicious and harder to find these days. It’s most popularly found at Gwangjang Market. I highly suggest you visit Gwangjang market to grab one of these, it’s about 3,000 won for one and they are fairly big and can be easily shared with others. Bindaetteok is made by grinding soaked mung beans, adding vegetables and meat. It is pan-fried into a round, flat shape. They often serve it in a dixie cup for you to walk around and eat. 

Modern Korean Street food

These are popular modern Korean street food that is fairly new and often has a little bit of fusion. They are and aren’t solely Korean. Some are adopted from western culture and made Korean style. I will explain in detail a bit of each below. 

Korean Hot Dog - Korean Street Food
Korean Hot Dog

Hot Dog or Sausage with Cheese 핫도그 – Korean Corndog

These are a popular Korean street food that is found everywhere, but I find the best one is found at Myeonglang Hotdog 명랑핫도그 stands. These are made with rice flour versus regular flour and are deep-fried. The exterior is oftentimes more crunch and they are filled with sausages (hotdogs), cheese, and other options. They will coat them in sugar if you want, I prefer without just because I have more of a Western taste. They also have other options for the batter which include sweet potatoes. 

Another option to get there is something called 소떡소떡 sotteok sotteok, which literally translates to sausage rice cake sausage rice cake. This is a popular dish to get and you can grab it from Myeonglang Hotdog 명랑핫도그 and some street vendors. It is served on a stick. They will roast it and the tteok will get a little crunchy on the outside and is sometimes filled with cheese. They will top the items with a spicy bbq style sauce which is absolutely delicious. 

I also recommend ordering the cheddar hot dog, it’s a classic and one of my favorites. 

Lobster with Cheese

This is popular, but not common. There’s a difference I would say. This is a popular street food that can only be found in Myeongdong. However, due to COVID, I’m not sure if they are still in business. They always had a long line and they barbequed this beautiful lobster tail that they would cover in cheese. It was absolutely delicious and perfect to grab.

Korean Egg Bread - Korean Street Food
Korean Egg Bread

Gyeran-Bbang 계란빵 – Korean Egg Bread 

This is a common and popular street food that can be found in markets, Hongdae, and Myeongdong street food market. They are pretty much a salted sunny-side-up egg cooked inside of a pancake with the density of cornbread. The fluffy, oblong-shaped loaf of bread is sweet and savory. My favorites have been in Hongdae and I crave these every once in a while. 

Tornado Potato – Fried spiraled potato on a stick

This is a popular street snack among kids. It’s pretty much like a spiraled potato chip and sometimes topped with powdered cheese. It’s quite delicious and it looks pretty freaking awesome. I highly suggest grabbing one for those who love Instagram photos and just to grab an interesting snack. It’s very popular and can easily be found at any of the markets and is a popular Myeongdong street food.

Korean Fried Chicken

Korean fried chicken can literally be found anywhere. There are millions of restaurants and millions of vendors who serve this all over South Korea. There’s a good reason why. Korean fried chicken is a tad different than western fried chicken in my opinion. I find it to be more crispy, you have the option of plain or with the sauce. There are options to add powdered cheese and seasonings. It’s often served with beer, and the combination is called chimaek.

Korean Street Food Desserts

If you have a sweet tooth, then these desserts are for you. I highly recommend trying many of these desserts. These are some of the best Korean desserts. 



Probably one of my favorite Korean street foods. This amazing dessert can be found everywhere during the colder seasons. Sometimes it’s available all year long. This is a sweet pancake filled with melted brown sugar, nuts, and seeds. Some only have the brown sugar filling. The nuts and seeds are predominantly a Busan classic. 

Bungeoppang 붕어빵

This fish-shaped bread is filled with red bean paste. Some are filled with ice cream similar to the Japanese style and some are filled with yellow custard. The most typical version is with the red beans. Do not mistake the red beans for chocolate. Most westerners do and then are shocked or surprised when it’s not what they expected. This is a traditional Korean street food dessert. These are popular all throughout Korea. 

Waffles 생크림 와플

This is one of my favorite snacks because it’s a little more crunchy than a typical waffle let’s say from Belgium. They fold these waffles in half and usually top them with some popular toppings like whipped cream, Nutella and banana, strawberries, and so many more. It’s absolutely delicious and I highly suggest trying it. They have many stores that even sell these, but it started out as popular Korean street food. 

Strawberries on a stick 딸기

This is a beautiful dessert to grab in South Korea, however, I do warn with caution. If you have sensitive teeth, this can be a problem for you. These are best to get when fresh. These are strawberries on a stick covered in a clear sugar-hard coating. The hard coating if too much and dried, can be very hard on the teeth and almost feel like you are chewing on glass. If done properly, they are quite delicious and the sugar is thin and easy to breakthrough. These are easy to find in Hongdae. 

Dalgona (Modern Name) or Ppopgi (Korean Traditional Name)

This was one of my favorite things to get as a kid. I remember getting them and eating them with my cousins. This traditional snack actually was starting to disappear slowly, but due to the popular KDrama squid games, it’s quickly making a comeback. These sweet treats were usually found nearby public schools where students can grab them. If you were able to break the shape, sometimes you were rewarded a second one. 

They are made from sugar and baking soda and placed into a round container. A cookie-cutter is pressed on them to make the shape in the middle. It tastes like a crunchy toffee. There are many shapes. The traditional shapes consist of a circle, star, triangle, or umbrella. However, many of the newer vendors also have shape from Pororo and other popular cartoons. 

Tteok – Korean Rice Cake sometimes filled with red beans

There are a variety of different types of tteok. These are popular to find in many of the street food vendors. Some are beautifully made to look like roses and some are simple like songpyeon. They are a traditional Korean food made of rice powder. They are often made and eaten around Chuseok – Korean Thanksgiving. Some are filled with chestnuts, beans, jujubes, or sesame seeds.



You can sometimes find these available as Korean street food, however, I would say it’s more common to find these at cafes in Korea. I added this because it is a must-try food you should have in Korea. Bingsu is traditional ice shaved dessert often topped with fruit, chocolate, cheesecake, and a cream sauce. It’s really good and perfect to enjoy during the summer months. I highly suggest going to Sulbingsu to grab one if unable to find it from a street vendor. 

Sikhye Sweet Rice Drink

This is a sweet drink that is often served as a dessert or after a meal. It’s a sweet rice drink that also helps with digestion. You can often find large bottles of homemade Sikhye in the streets. It has a bit of a cinnamon flavor and reminds me a lot of Mexican Horchata but is different. 

Kkwabaegi 꽈배기 

This is a traditional Korean sugar twist donut. These are popular Korean street food, but I suggest getting them at Smile Kkwabaegi. It’s honestly the best place and if you have the chance, the place in Jamsilsanae area is the best because she makes them with cinnamon sugar. She makes them absolutely fresh and they are perfect with a little bit of crunch. The shops are typically closed on Sundays. 

Manju 만주

Technically this is a Japanese dish, however, it’s still a popular treat to get in the subways of Korea. Honestly, the smell of Manjoo will literally fill the hallways of the subways. Your nose alone will lead you to these wonderful cream-filled snacks. These snacks are freshly made bread in the shape of corn filled with custard cream. You can get a bag of these at many subway locations. 

Korean Street Snacks – 과자

These are snacks we would considered to be used in the car, an option compared to chips, etc. Most of these are made of rice, wheat, and corn. 

Ppeongtwigi 뻥튀기 – Popped Rice 

This is a popular driving snack in Korea. You might find a Bongo truck filled with lots of these types of snacks on the back of his truck. These are a rice fluffy cracker in the shape of a circle and curved. It’s interesting to see them being made. They will use a popper which gets them hot and they will shoot the disc out. They are slightly sweet but perfect to snack on. It’s great for kids and something I grew up eating so many times.

Yugwa 유과

This is a traditional Korean confection, is made with glutinous rice flour. It’s often deep-fried to get that popped up and hollow inside. It is coated with a natural sweetest from a fruit. This is something many kids will like to eat since they are sweet and fun to eat. They are quite addicting as well. 

Milponggwaja 밀펑과자 Milpong Puffed Wheat 

These actually remind me of that North American cereal called smacks. It’s pretty much the same puffed wheat that is coated in honey and made to stick together in a round cylinder shape. These have a little bit of a smoky taste from being toasted on a pan or charcoal. 

Where to get Korean street food

There are a lot of places to get street food in Korea. I would just try to find your local 시장 or market and explore some of the street food in that area. 

If you are worried about communication, I suggest taking a Korean street food tour. I used to offer this as an option, however, due to COVID, I have been unable to make this happen. Some of the day tours in Seoul even offer a Korean cooking class where you can get some Korean street food recipes. 

Gwangjang Market in Seoul

This is one of the most traditional Korean Markets to grab traditional Korean street food. Its most famously known for Bindaetteok, Kalguksu, Mayak Kimbap, and Mandu. This one has been featured on Netflix’s Street Food: Asia on the Seoul, South Korea episode. Read more about what to eat at Gwangjang Market. 

Myeongdong Street Food
Myeongdong Street Food Market

Myeongdong Street Food in Seoul

If you are more interested in Modern Korean Street food, then I highly suggest you visit Myeongdong Street food stalls. They have more of the modern options and it’s pretty amazing. I’ve had some amazingly good street food and they are one of the only places that have Dragon’s Beards. It’s worth checking out and I hope they survive after COVID. This area has been hit pretty hard and it’s been less popular with locals since it’s a major tourist destination. 

Haeundae Market in Busan

If you happen to be in Busan, I suggest making a trip to Haeundae Market in Busan. The other option in Busan is Jalgalgji Fishmarket for some Korean fish and seafood street food options. Although, the atmosphere is quite different. Haeundae Market in Busan has a lot of delicious Korean street food. 

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  1. This is the most thorough post I’ve seen yet on Korean street food! Very well written! I had a roommate in college who was Korean and I used to love it when she would bring back food her grandmother made for my roommate to share with all of us. I love, love, love kimchi pancakes! So happy I discovered your page! Enjoyed reading it very much.

    1. Awee! I truly appreciate it! Thank you so much! I’m half Korean so I grew up eating a lot of this food as a kid. We visited Korea every other year and I lived in Korea for over 3 years. I’m so glad you found my post! Hopefully it inspires you to try more Korean street food options!

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