Let’s be honest, not many people like the taste of kimchi. However, Koreans who are brought up eating it, not only like it, but consider it their national dish!
When I am in Seoul and the surrounding areas, I am always on the look out for some tasty street food to satisfy my cravings. As long as there’s no kimchi in sight, I will gladly try anything (well, most things)! There are so many snacks or street foods from Korea that I could include in this list (no place for ice cream corn cones or even potato hot dogs, I’m afraid!) but I am limited to just five this time. So, without further ado, my top 5 snacks that are tastier than kimchi are as follows, counting up from 5-1:
5. Hotteok is a filled pancake that was brought to Korea by the Chinese in the 19th century. The Hotteok begins in the shape of a stuffed ball and is filled by anything sweet, such as jam, honey, or cinnamon. Once filled, the ball is flattened in a girdle to create the shape of the pancake. Hotteok is a very popular street food snack all over South Korea.
4. Mandu is the Korean steamed dumpling. Very similar to a Chinese baozi or a Japanese gyoza, mandu can be made in many varieties, such as steamed mandu, boiled mandu, or grilled mandu, and can be filled with anything from seafood to meat (though no kimchi here, thank you!).
3. The Bungeoppang is simply a delectable snack that is found in grocery stores all over South Korea. In essence, the bungeoppang is a breaded snack that can contain many different fillings. It bears a similarity to taiyaki in Japanese cuisine, but instead of being filled with azuki bean paste or even custard like taiyaki, the bungeoppang I’m talking about, that you can buy frozen in the grocery stores, are literally full of flavoursome ice cream, which is a great way to cool down in the searing Korean summer.
2. Tteokbokki is the immensely popular spicy rice cake, and made of spring onion, garlic, soy sauce, and even diced sausage. These can be eaten as a starter to a main meal, or just as a quick snack. They are also very popular in the streets of Seoul from pojangmacha stalls. Tteokbokki was also once part of Korean Royal Court Cuisine.
1. Kimbap is my number one choice of Korean snack. Why have kimchi or anything covered with the stuff (like cucumbers) when you could just buy or make a roll of kimbap and fill it with your preferred delicacy? Kimbap is a rice based snack rolled in nori (seaweed) and you can have meat or veg as the filling inside. It’s a very tasty snack, pretty unique to Korea (although it’s very like sushi rolls admittedly), and can be eaten at pretty much any time of the day or night!
I have included many more street food snacks in my Korean Foodporn article. Buy, hey, anything’s gotta be better than kimchi, right?!