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The street food culture in South Korea makes up a prominent part of the country’s food scene. Not only is the street food in South Korea delicious, it’s also relatively affordable which makes it great for backpackers or those simply traveling on a restrictive budget.

South Korean street food, often referred to as “pojangmacha” or “bunsik,” can be found in various locations throughout the country, including its bustling markets such as the Sinpo International Market which offers up many traditional Korean snacks, shopping districts, and in and around popular tourist attractions.

8 Street Foods You Must Try in South Korea

Vibrant flavors and unique combinations come together to create dishes and snacks that are simply fun and adventurous to eat. Each region of South Korea also has its own specialty street food items, which means variety around every corner

In addition to hitting the streets to sample the authentic flavors of South Korea, you can also shop for a wide range of popular Korean snacks and beverages at a Korean online store where you’ll find items like Green Tea Choco Pies, Korean Banana Flavored Milk, and Purple Sweet Potato Chips.

Without further ado, let me take you to the streets of South Korea to introduce you to the following must try local foods that are sure to delight your taste buds.


One of the most popular street foods which you should try when you are in South Korea is tteokbokki. In simple words, these are rice cakes made from glutinous rice flour which are most often coated with a spicy, savory sauce.

The typical sauce that is used is a fermented red chili pepper paste mixed with soy sauce, garlic and often sesame oi , which collectively gives the dish its signature flavor and spiciness.

Tteokbokki is known as a comfort food typically served hot and is often paired with other ingredients including fish cakes (oden), boiled eggs, sliced scallions, cabbage, carrots, and occasionally cheese or ramyeon. You’ll find it not only at street food stalls and markets, but also restaurants throughout South Korea.


Some of the best things to do in Seoul  include visiting its palaces such as Changdeokgung Palace & Secret Garden and Gyeongbokgung Palace. But Seoul is equally famous for its street food scene, offering up the popular Gwangjang Market.

Kimbap is especially popular is Seoul and consists of seaweed rice rolls filled with various ingredients which make them look very similar to Japanese sushi rolls but offer up a very distinctive Korean flavor. It’s an ultra-convenient snack that is portable and easy to eat on the go.

The main component of kimbap is steamed white rice seasoned with sesame oil and salt. The rice is spread thinly on a sheet of dried seaweed, known as gim or nori. Fillings such as chicken, fish, eggs, or cheese are then placed on top of the rice and then the whole thing is rolled tightly using a bamboo mat.

There are a variety of fillings used for kimbap which means you are almost guaranteed to find a version that suits your individual tastes. The fillings for kimbap may include vegetables such as carrots, spinach, cucumbers, pickled radish, or strips of seasoned burdock root.

Non vegetarians can find versions prepared with ham, beef, or fish. Some variations of kimbap also incorporate ingredients like kimchi, cheese, or mayonnaise for added flavor.

Tokkebi Hot Dog

South Korea offers up a unique twist to the beloved hot dog. Tokkebi hot dogs, or Korean corn dogs, are another popular street food item in South Korea that often combines both savory and sweet flavors.  The Korean treat typically consists of a hot dog or sausage, skewered on a stick, which is then coated with a layer of rice or wheat flour batter.

The batter that is used is often mixed with ingredients like cornmeal or panko breadcrumbs to add texture and flavor. The coated hot dog is then deep-fried until it becomes crispy and golden brown with a delightful crunchy outer layer. It may not be the healthiest of snacks but they are definitely delicious.

What really sets Tokkebi hot dogs apart is the variety of toppings and fillings that usually accompany them. After frying, the hot dog is often rolled in various toppings such as sugar, cheese, or crushed potatoes. Some variations even use mozzarella cheese, sausage slices, or even rice cakes inside the batter.

Dak Gangjeong

Move over KFC, because in Korea it’s all about dak gangjeong. These bite-sized pieces of crispy glazed chicken offers a sweet and savory dish with a fun crunchy texture. Dak gangjeong is often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, but can definitely be made to serve as a main dish.

Boneless and skinless chicken pieces are fried until crispy and golden brown. The chicken is then coated with a sticky glaze concoction of soy sauce, honey, sugar, garlic, ginger, and sometimes Korean chili paste for those that like a bit of spice.

The glaze is simmered until it thickens and coats the chicken like a caramelized glaze, creating a shiny and flavorful coating. The chicken bites are often then garnished with sesame seeds and chopped green onions for a bit if added flavor and visual appeal.

The best part about dak gangjeong is that you can find it practically anywhere in South Korea.


Mandu is a type of Korean dumpling which comes in a variety of different styles which is often dependent on where you are in South Korea. Varieties include pan-fried dumplings known as yaki mandu which sport a soft and chewy texture, mul mandu which are often served with soup and cooked in a clear and savory broth, steamed mandu which present a soft and delicate texture, and finally deep-fried and crispy mandu.

This versatile dish comes in various shapes, sizes, and fillings. Typical mandu fillings may include ground pork, beef, or chicken alongside vegetables such as cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, and onions.The fillings are usually mixed together, seasoned, and then wrapped within the dough.

The dough used for mandu can be made from wheat flour, rice flour, or a combination of both. It is usually slightly thicker and chewier compared to other dumplings you may have had elsewhere.


Street food isn’t typically the healthiest of options but gungoguma offers up just that. Gungoguma is a variety of sweet potato with a bright purple skin and a yellowish or white flesh which offers a sweet flavor and a moist, tender texture when cooked.

One popular way to try gungoguma is by seeking out roasted ones at street or market stalls which often become prevalent during Korea’s autumn season when the potatoes are being harvested. Roasted gungoguma has a soft and sweet flesh with a slightly caramelized exterior.

The potatoes can be boiled, steamed, roasted, or even mashed. Gungoguma is even used as an ingredient in desserts besides being served alone or in savory dishes.

While the dessert options that incorporate gungoguma may be less healthy than just eating them plain, you may want to indulge in sweet potato rice cakes known as goguma tteok or sweet potato porridge which is locally called goguma juk.


Check out any beginner’s guide to Korean food and they will probably tell you to start off with basics such as dakkochi when diving into South Korea’s street food scene.

This popular and convenient Korean street food is simply skewered grilled boneless chicken. The chicken chunks are seasoned with a flavorful marinade before being grilled to give them a bit of excitement. The marinade can vary but commonly includes a combination of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, and sometimes spicy gochujang.

The chicken skewers are often grilled over an open flame which gives them a smoky and charred flavor. The grilling process gives the chicken a delicious caramelized exterior while keeping the meat tender and juicy on the inside.


And finally, we of course must end our Korean street food tour with dessert. Kkwabaegi is a fried pastry whose distinctive twisted shape has made them also known as Korean twisted donuts.

Kkwabaegi is made from simple dough that typically includes flour, sugar, yeast, milk, eggs, and sometimes butter or oil. The dough is mixed and kneaded until it becomes smooth and elastic and then rolled into long, thin ropes which get twisted into delicious braids.

The donuts are deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. They may then be coated with sugar or sweet toppings such as chocolate, cinnamon sugar, or red bean paste.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



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