I ate all kinds of street food while I was in Seoul, not just hotteoks, walnut cakes and tornado potatoes. I would have dedicated a single post to every item, but to be honest, there were some that I just didn’t know enough about to justify doing so! So, I decided to put a little of everything into one post to give you a little more insight into what some of Seoul street food is like. Keep in mind that there is a lot more out there than this, but these are definitely some popular options that I saw – and ate – again and again.
This is a serving of rice cakes in hot sauce (ddeokbokee, I think), and the picture at the top of the post is the tray of rice cakes and hot sauce at a vendor’s stand. The rice cakes are sort of like huge, thick chewy noodles and the sauce is hot – both temperature-wise and spice-wise! This particular batch also had fish paste and some cut up sausages in there.
Don’t be fooled by the corndog-like appearance of these snacks-on-sticks. The lower skewer is some sort of fish paste mixed with vegetables and fried, while top the top skewer has the same mixture wrapped around a hot dog. Since there is no coating, these aren’t crispy, but they do have a nice texture and a slightly fishy flavor. The hot dog version was my favorite since it was a bit saltier. Both were good with hot sauce.
This skewer is stacked with three types of sausages, one of which was meat wrapped around a rice cake and fried. No idea what kind of sausages or meat (pork, if I had to guess), but with the bit of bbq sauce that the vendor put on, these were delicious.
You shouldn’t have any problems finding this dish. It’s very simple: fish paste on a stick in a lightly flavored broth. the broth is usually served in a cup with the stick of fish paste. I saw this at upscale department stores and on the street. It’s not fancy, but satisfying and fairly light. The broth is really nice as a light soup if it’s chilly outside. If you’re not a big fan of fish, the flavor is not strong and similar to a mild miso soup, so it’s worth a try.
I can find these bacon-wrapped hot dogs at home in LA, where the street vendors put them on buns and top them with grilled peppers and onions. I didn’t try the Seoul version!
I can’t resist including one more photo of the lovely looking tornado potato display that the vendor put up. He wasn’t happy about the photos even though I bought one, so just remember to be polite if you ask for a photo and not to be obnoxiously taking a dozen and getting in the way of customers (which I wasn’t, for the record).
This version of popcorn, which was slightly sweet and not very salty, reminded me a bit of kettle corn. I think I like the extra saltiness of kettle corn better, but in big bags this was a popular street snack – especially with some of the younger kids I saw out with their families.
Here’s one that I didn’t try: silkworm larvae. The smell was interesting. First, it reminded me of a nice charcoal barbeque, then it took on a slight hint of burning mothballs, which made it less appealing to me (and my American tastebuds). That said, they were very popular.
I’m ending this with something sweet, a huge mango and vanilla soft serve ice cream cone that I picked up just a few blocks from my hotel. This place had a line down the street for the foot-high ice cream cones that cost only 1,000 won (less than a dollar). The mango and vanilla flavors were both really fresh and clear, making this one of the best soft serves I’ve had in recent memory.