What to Eat at a Korean Market

It’s no secret that Sam and I enjoy food, and Seoul’s Namdaemun Market is just the place to get our fix. Here is a recent video we made in which we tried to sample as much food from the local market vendors as possible, all in the name of ‘research’. We sure were stuffed by the end of it! It is the best way to try local food in Seoul, Busan or other Korean cities and for a cheap price too!

Hotteok

This is my personal favourite and it is a dish that I almost mention bi-postly. I had it for the first time last winter because I was freezing outside and I simply wanted something warm to hold in my hands. If people are lining up for it it must be good, right? It was! Hotteok is a small sweet pancake that is filled with a sweet mixture that consists of brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, and peanuts! It’s a treat that you can’t go wrong with, just be careful because that brown sugar is hotter than you’d think.

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Tornado Chips

This is a snack I had to try because it looks so fun. Tornado chips look like a potato spiral on a stick, and they are deep-fried before your eyes in a matter of seconds. Once the food vendor hands you the skewer with the chips still sizzling, you can sprinkle some cheese powder or chilli powder on top for a little added flavour.

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Pajeon

Pajeon is a Korean pancake made with eggs, flour, and a lot of green onions! There are various kinds of pajeon including kimchi, beef, and pork, but my favourite one so far has been the seafood pajeon which has a little bit of octopus – enough to make you feel adventurous, but not so overpowering as to scare off the first timer. This dish is usually enjoyed with a bowl of makgeolli, which is a Korean rice wine that looks a bit milky in colour.

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Hot dog / Rice Cake / Fish Cake on a Stick

An assortment of fried things on a stick can be found in the markets. Some of the most popular ones are rice cakes dipped in fish batter. You can also find hot dogs that have been dipped in batter and encrusted with potato chunks. In this video we sampled an assortment which included rice cakes, lobster cakes, and sausage all wrapped in fish batter. A bit unusual but quite tasty!

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Mandu

Mandu are dumplings, the most popular of which are filled with kimchi or beef. I have noticed that most people order them as a precursor to the meal, but I find them filling enough to be enjoyed on their own. Dip them in a little soy sauce while they are still steaming and enjoy!

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Soft-Serve Ice Cream

Soft-serve ice cream can be found at market across the city. If you’re looking to try a truly Korean flavour, then go for green tea. Of course you can also enjoy the usual flavours: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

What are some of your favourite street snacks?

They don’t have to be Korean. 😉

Join the Conversation

22 Comments

    1. says: Audrey

      The beef dumplings are good, and the kimchi ones are even better! Didn’t expect fermented cabbage could ever taste good in a dumpling, but it does!

  1. I loooooooovvvveeedddd your video of Namdaemun Market, and the film editing is very professional and fun! I’m always attracted to the smell, taste and culture of markets, they definitely draw you closer to the local life.

    Now that Halloween is over, will Audrey be posting up her reaction to Sam’s début as a belly-dancer?

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks Shing! Namdaemun Market is an incredible maze of food, clothes, and random knick-knacks. It was lots of fun to film there! Haha, no photo evidence of Sam as a belly-dancer…yet. 😉

  2. That food looks awesome. Think my favourite is the hotteok though. Never tried Korean food actually, but after reading this I might just have to pop into the nearest Korean restaurant here in Phnom Penh (of which there are plenty weirdly).

    1. says: Audrey

      Mmm, yes, the hotteok is my favourite street snack in Korea! I hope you get to try it sometime. 😀

  3. Yummy yummy! I used to love eating the hotteok in Myeong-dong. It was sweet and had beans inside. The good stuff. My second favorite was down in Busan, it had nuts in it 😀

    1. says: Audrey

      Mmm, the one with nuts sounds really good! I think I ate too much of the sweet red bean paste when I first moved here, so now I can’t even look at it…haha 😀

    1. says: Audrey

      They are pretty tasty! It’s the perfect snack for walking and munching around town. 😉

    1. says: Audrey

      This was my first time having tornado chips ever! But yes, everything you see here was pretty tasty. 😉

  4. says: Vanessa

    I have to admit, I didn’t think any Korean food would really appeal to me, but these all look great. I might pass on adding octopus to anything however. 🙂

    1. says: Audrey

      Hotteok is the best! You’ll enjoy them so much more in the wintertime. They make the perfect warm, gooey snack while strolling the streets. 😉

  5. says: Charli l Wanderlusters

    Ok so I need to sample the delights of Seoul’s Namdaemun Market. Why do I always read your foodie posts when I’m hungry. Nothing I have in my fridge looks appealing after seeing your pics!

    1. says: Audrey

      Hehe, Namdaemun is the place to go when you’re craving some Korean street food. There is so much to choose from!

  6. Thanks for this post and video. I haven’t looked into Korea as a travel destination too much yet. Here in Taiwan where I work, the most common Korean foods are hotpot, barbecue, and those stone-bowl rice things. I have no idea what they’re called, even in Mandarin. These were all very interesting looking foods, and it’s gone a little further to putting Korea onto my “must see” list.

    I was surprised when I saw the images of the market. First thing I though was, “Wow! Looks just like Taipei!” Vendors frying and grilling stuff. Big bins of discount clothes. Only the signs and the choices of crazy costumes was really different.

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