Hi readers, I am compiling a list of possible Korean streets to feature in a food show that will be filmed in Korea this year. This is my preliminary list and because I am on a deadline, I would like to ask you if you have any others that you would like to nominate or a particular stall north of the river (it's for logistics reasons). The show focuses on street food and we are looking for people that have a particular story. Maybe they are the best tteokbokki maker or maybe they were once a gangster or maybe they are an opera singer or maybe they are the best street food cart chef in Seoul. Please let me know and I will try to feature them on the show. The show, Street Food Around the World, will be featured on National Geographic and the Travel Channel. It is the second season for this show. I am helping them with their production in Seoul.
*Pictures. I apologize if I am using some of the pictures without asking first, but I need an image to show the readers what the foods are. If you would like your picture taken down or credited, please let me know.
Boasting a population of over 10 million people. It’s a city that needs fuel to keep going. You’ll often hear Koreans say to each other Balley Balley!, Fast Fast! So food has to be quick to grab, quick to eat and quick to dispose of.
Breakfast: Koreans are not early risers because they drink and stay out late. Most people need to be at school by 8am or at their offices by 10am so they need food they can grab and go.
1) Kimbap: Rice rolls stuffed with cucumber, crab, turnip and wrapped in seaweed with a bit of roasted sesame oil. You’ll see people sell these out of styrofoam coolers on the street or they might have carts where they make it.
VARIATION: Mayak Kimbap. These look like little rolled cigarettes and it is served with a mustard soy sauce for dipping and usually eaten by using a toothpick. Mayak means narcotic and they say it is addictive because once you start eating them, you can’t stop till you eat them all. The famous place is in Kwangjang Market.
2) Egg Toast: An egg sandwich with a Korean twist: veggies and spam! The most famous place for this is Isaac Toast.They toast white bread on a hot top and then cover the bread with a sweet kiwi tasting jam. Then they put a piece of square scrambled egg on one side and thinly sliced veggies on the other. You can add other toppings such as spam, bacon, steak, hamburger,spicy sauce etc...Koreans usually have this with milk or a canned coffee.
Lunch and then after...Like I mentioned Koreans are not early risers. Street Carts usually start coming out around 10:30 and stay open till late. The best places are over by Noryangjin. Which is an area across from the fish markets. Here is a famous cram school area (kid’s studying to pass their college entrance exams or a test to become a doctor or lawyer etc). So they need their food fast and to get back to class. Food here is cheap and hearty.
1) Kimchi Fried Rice: Here you get kimchi fried rice in a cup topped with a fried, over-easy egg. The rice is fried with tiny cubes of ham and roasted seaweed. Variations include cheese and bulgogi.
The famous lady who started the whole trend taught some younger, hungrier guys to do it and now they run the show.
2) Tokkebi Hotdogs: Tokkebi are demon pranksters in Korean Folklore that carry around magical spiked clubs that they can use to cast spells on unassuming people. They can also use the clubs to beat on the ground and conjure up food and drinks and gold. This is a hotdog that is double battered and double fried on a stick. It’s basically a hotdog. To upgrade these hotdogs, some places have been crusting the top with some rame and some french fries. Yum.
3) Savory Pancakes: This is something that is new to the street food scene, but they have been doing very well. It’s hot, griddled pancake that is topped with a sauce, a hotdog and then more toppings. Some variations include: pizza, double cheese, sweet potato, and more.
4) Croquette: Fried Hotdog buns stuffed with cabbage, mayonaise and mustard. Yeah...not my favorite.
5) Bundaeggi: Boiled Silkworm larva served in a cup. This is a nostalgic snack for older people because when Korea was developing there wasn’t enough food. Kids would often get cups of these when they went with their parents in the park. The silkworm are boiled with some soy sauce and sugar.
6) Tteokbokki: Spicy Rice cake noodles with fish cake. This is a Korean favorite dish. Tteokbokki is to Korean kids as what French Fries are to American kids. After school kids would get cups of these (are you starting get that everything is served in cups?) and eat. The sauce is a bit sweet and spicy.
There are many variations and toppings. You can add ramen noodles, eggs, beef, seafood, fried tempura. The sauce is a good universal sauce for everything.
a) Tteokbokki Variation: Yenal tteokbokki: Old fashioned tteokbokki has thinner rice cake noodles that is just fried in oil or coated in red chili flakes and fried in a iron wok. The rice cakes are super crispy. The famous person to do this dish is over at Tongin market and she has been doing it for over 20 years. She is a big hit with the Japanese tourists.
7) Hotteok: Leavened dough that can have some corn starch added to it is stuffed with sugar, ground peanuts and sesame seeds and fried up till a caramel forms in the center. The famous place for the sweet version is in Insadong. One stall in winter often has a line 20 people deep and they have 3 people working the little stall. They should be eaten hot, but one must be careful because it is really frickin hot.
a)Variation: Vegetable Hotteok: In Namdaemun there is a woman that have been stuffing up these hotteok with vegetables and sweet potatoe noodles for years. After they fry up she brushes it with a fruit infused soy sauce. In wintertime it is the place to go and she has a queue around the block. The rumor is that she makes over 1 million dollars a year from these fried snacks (she sells them for 90 cents a piece)
8) Soondae: This is intestine stuffed with rice or sweet potato noodles and pig’s blood. It’s basically a blood sausage served with some steamed liver and lung.
a)Variation: Soondae Bokkum. The blood sausage is cut and stirfried in a spicy sauce.
9) Bongeobbang- Fish shaped bread stuffed with red bean paste. The fish signifies good luck and kids like the shape of it. These days the popular thing to do is make little fish cakes.
/The area of Myeongdong is where you get the fierce competition for street stalls. The only way to survive is to grab the attention of shoppers before someone else does. New concepts start here and either take off or die quickly.
10) Tornado Potato: This is a whole potato that is cut using a special slicer to make a fry that makes it look like a giant spiral. This has become a pretty popular item on the street and the potato can be coated in salt, cheese, and other flavorings. When they first opened, the originators closely guarded it from people taking pictures. Now there are many people that do this but people still like the taste of the potato.
11)Hotba: This is fish paste that is rolled around a wooden chopstick and fried. They sometimes wrap it around a sausage or crabstick. It is then topped with mustard and ketchup.
12) Odeng: Fish cake on a stick and boiled in broth. This is a wintertime favorite dish. After having the fish cake you have a cup of broth.
13) Walnut Bread. Really cool machine that bakes batter in a walnut shaped mold, puts a walnut on top and then red bean paste, flips it and bakes it fully around. These things can get quite hot. The original area for this was Cheonan because this area is rich in Walnuts.
14) Bong Tweggi: This is a rice puff snack that pops out of a pressured machine that makes a loud “BBONGGG” Sound. This snack just uses natural grains and it is popped out. This is a popular bar snack and one that many people eat on the way up a mountain because it tastes good and the weight is light.
15 Dakkocchi: This is chicken on a stick that is barbecued over a grill and basted with a spicy sauce.
16: Dried Octopus, Pressed Fish, and Dried Squid. This is an old style snack that is still popular. The fish is grilled over hot rocks before serving.
17: Steamed Corn on a Stick: Yep, just corn on a chopstick.
18: Egg Bread: This is a sweetened dough that is topped with an egg and cooked in a mini oven. The best ones leave the yolk a little runny.
19. Cup Chicken: This is crisp chicken tossed in a spicy sweet sauce and mixed with fried rice cake and tater tots. This blows all of the fried chicken franchises out of the water. My favorite place is in Hongdae where you can get this with a beer soju cockail.
20. Cocktails in a Bag: This place called vinyl does cocktails in a bag in all different colors.
21. Bbokki: This is a sugar caramel candy with baking soda so it is really crispy. It’s actually a game. If you can get the shape out of the lollipop without breaking it, you can win another candy. In other countries this snack would be called honeycomb.
22. tteokochi: Skewered rice cake that is deep fried and then basted with a sweet red chili sauce.
23: Dragon Bread: Not something very traditional, but it is bread stuffed with pumpkin or bulgogi that is cooked inside of a large pot/oven. The bread gets very hot. The staff have to make sure it doesn’t cook too much and fall to the ground.
24: Gul Tare: Dragon Beard Candy: These guys do a great show where they take a block of fermented honey and turn it into 16,000 strings. It is then stuffed with walnut or peanuts. They sing a chant while they do it in English, Japanese, or Chinese.
Late Night Street Food: Korea is famous for the late night street carts and markets where guests can sit and eat on the side of the road in tents while eating and drinking. The typical drink is soju and the snacks are all various. It can be everything from cooked fish, stirfried chicken gizzards, spicy chicken feet and egg omelet.
25. Kwangjang Market’s Bindaetteok: This crispy mungbean pancake is the star at Kwangjang market where they sell these by the 1000’s every day. This dish was started by north Korean refugees that set up shop at the market because they didn’t have any other opportunity to work.
26. Kwangjang Market’s Bibimbap: This market has a number of barley bibimbap restaurants where guests can get a big bowl of rice topped with various vegetables and a bean paste sauce.