korean street winter food

Must-Try Korean Street Foods in Winter

The cold winter months in South Korea bring forth a diverse array of scrumptious street food snacks that perfectly complement the frosty temperatures. From the hot bowls of eomuk tang to the sweet delights of hotteok, these delicious treats provide comfort and warmth. These snacks, rich in flavors and textures, embody the essence of winter comfort. They make the street food experience in South Korea an integral part of the season’s festivities. The sounds of grills and the wafting steam from savory stews create an inviting atmosphere. To help you keep warm and enjoy some incredibly delicious treats, here is a list of some of the best Korean Street Foods to try in winter!

Odeng (오뎅)- Korean Fish Cakes

Odeng Fish Cakes
A bowl of Odeng on skewers

Odeng, or fish cake, is a very popular Korean street food. These fish cakes are made from ground fish combined with pollack and starch. They are then formed into tasty and savory sausage-like shapes. The odeng is then either boiled or steamed and served alongside a delicious hearty broth known as eomuk tang (어묵탕). The broth is seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, and other spices, adding depth and flavor to the dish. Odeng skewers are commonly sold at street food stalls and markets, making them easily accessible to locals and tourists.

This is a great snack for the winter months. Firstly, the warm broth provides a comforting and soothing element that helps combat the cold weather. Additionally, the savory and umami flavors of the fish cake and broth make it a hearty and flavorful snack, contributing to its popularity during the winter months in South Korea.

Eomuk Tang (어묵탕)- Fish Cake Soup

Eomuk Tang
A bowl of Eomuk Tang

As mentioned, Eomuk Tang is another great Korean soup dish perfect for the cold winter weather. The warm broth is generously seasoned with various spices and induces a delicious, comforting warmth. Moreover, the Odeng absorbs the rich flavors in the soup, giving a delightful and hearty snack. While the chewy softness of the fish cakes is delicious on their own, the broth offers a soothing liquid contrast. Finally, Eomuk Tang is a tasty dish and a quick source of energy and warmth during the cold season, making it an ideal option for anyone seeking both taste and warmth in South Korea!

Bungeoppang (붕어빵)- Korean Fish Shaped Pastry

Bungeoppang Pastry
A box of Bungeoppang

Bungeoppang is another delicious Korean winter snack that is a local favorite. This is a fish-shaped sweet pastry that both children and adults enjoy. With its crispy pancake-like batter, the Bungeoppang offers a satisfying crunch upon the first bite. The insides have a sweet and soft filling, typically made of either red bean, sweet custard, or chocolate. The contrast between the crispy shell and the creamy, flavorful center also creates a delicious merging of textures.

This is the perfect snack to quickly grab and munch on as you stroll the busy night markets or the streets of South Korea. While most similar snacks concentrate mainly on sweetness, Bungeoppang typically strikes a balance, making it loved by various palates. Bungeoppang is especially enjoyed by young children and is a great snack choice for families!

Tteokbokki (떡볶이)- Spicy Korean Rice Cakes

Delicious Tteokbokki
A bowl of Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki is a famous street food made of chewy rice cakes marinated in a sweet and spicy gochujang (red chili paste) sauce. Firstly, the dish has a chewy texture as the rice cakes provide a substantial softness that mixes perfectly with the sauce. The gochujang adds a slight spiciness along with a hint of sweetness. This creates a lovely balance and is a perfect warm dish for cold winter nights.

Furthermore, the communal aspect of enjoying tteokbokki at bustling street stalls enhances its appeal during the winter months. This beloved dish becomes a shared experience, fostering a sense of companionship in the chilly climate! Finally, the affordability of tteokbokki makes it a popular go-to snack. This delicious dish is widely available and is affordable for all to enjoy!

Hotteok (호떡)- Korean Style Pancake

Hotteok Pancakes
A stack of Hotteok Pancakes

Hotteok is a popular Korean street food mixture of glutinous rice and wheat flour. It offers a chewy texture, setting it apart from other normal pancakes. Its filling, typically comprised of brown sugar, honey, peanuts, and cinnamon, makes it unique. This medley creates a sweet and nutty interior, making each bite a delightful experience.

Moreover, hotteok has a crispy outer crust but a soft, gooey texture inside! The warmth from the filling, coupled with the aromatic spices, makes this a great comfort food for winter. Hotteok is another very cheap dish and easily found in most places! Hotteok represents the essence of winter Korean snacks in a single, delicious package.

Roasted Chestnuts Gun-Bam (군밤)

Roasted Gun-Bam Chestnuts
Roasted Chestnuts (Gun-Bam)

Gun-Bam is a beloved Korean street snack that is roasted chestnuts. This is a local favorite winter snack that provides both warmth and nutty goodness in the cold climate. The chestnuts are roasted, enhancing their natural sweetness and smoky flavor. Furthermore, Gun-Bam is a convenient and nutritious snack packed with vitamins and minerals. Filled with fiber and antioxidants, it is delicious and contributes to overall well-being. While some winter snacks are usually unhealthy, roasted chestnuts offer a healthier alternative, making them a guilt-free pleasure.

Gun-Bam emerges as a great winter snack, seamlessly combining flavor, nutrition, and the joy of street food exploration. It’s the perfect on-the-go snack, is very healthy, and is simply delicious!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes- Gun-Goguma (군고구마)

Roasted Gun-Goguma
Delicious Roasted Gun-Goguma

Gun-Goguma, or roasted sweet potatoes, are another lovely winter snack in South Korea, loved for their simplicity and deliciousness. Firstly, the orange color of the potatoes, when roasted, enhances both their visual appeal and their tasty look. Moreover, the natural sweetness increases as it roasts, contrasting with the crisp outer layer. The snack’s high fiber content contributes to a sense of satiety, making it a wholesome choice for winter munching.

The sweet aroma from vendors’ carts that fills the air invites you to savor this lovely wintery delight. The convenience of Gun-Goguma as an on-the-go snack makes it a popular choice during winter strolls or festive outings. The snack is much healthier than most fried or sugary snacks and is a lovely alternative for health-conscious people! In conclusion, Gun-Goguma’s delicious simplicity, strong sweetness, and warming qualities make it an exemplary winter street food in South Korea.

Ramyeon (라면)

Traditional Ramyeon
A pot of hot Ramyeon

Ramyeon (라면) is a popular Korean instant noodle dish that has become an essential comfort snack, particularly during the colder months. Firstly, Ramyeon noodles are popular in Korea and almost everywhere! The quick preparation makes it a convenient snack for those seeking immediate satisfaction. Moreover, the spicy and savory broth, often topped with beef, kimchi, or seafood, offers a highly satisfying taste. Secondly, the soft noodles made from wheat or starch have a lovely chewiness that compliments the broth perfectly. The versatility of ramyeon allows for personalization with additional ingredients like vegetables, eggs, or slices of meat, intensifying both texture and taste.

While there is a misconception that instant noodles are simply a cheap convenience, ramyeon is also enjoyed as a culinary delight. While the cup noodle versions are certainly cheap and quick, Ramyeon can also be prepared as a gastronomic delight in many kitchens. Its affordability and widespread availability make it an accessible choice for many. This is one of the most quintessential snacks worldwide for winter!

Egg Pastry- Gyeranppang (계란빵) 

Gyeranppang (Egg Pastry)
Delicious Gyeranppang

Gyeranppang, another popular Korean snack, is a delicious merging of fluffy bread and a whole egg, meticulously baked to perfection! This winter treat is loved for its simplicity, with the egg stuffed within the soft dough, creating a scrumptious blend of textures when eaten. Moreover, the hint of sweetness of the bread mixes perfectly with the taste of the egg, providing a lovely contrast that caters to various taste buds. Gyeranppang’s warm and delectable aroma emanating from street-side stalls is irresistibly inviting during the colder seasons.

Secondly, this easy, on-the-go snack can be enjoyed while strolling the vibrant streets on a cold night. While some street foods may require utensils, gyeranppang provides a convenient, mess-free option. The lovely warmth of the delicious baked bread and the delightful taste of a savory, whole egg make gyeranppang a perfect winter snack!

Korean Blood Sausage- Sundae (순대)

Sundae Korean Blood Sausages
A plate of Sundae (blood sausages)

Sundae is a delicious blood sausage that is loved as being a distinctive and savory delight, very well-suited for winter consumption. Firstly, the sundae is made of a seasoned mixture of pig’s blood, rice noodles, and barley. It is then filled within a natural casing, usually from pig intestines. While this doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, it’s the standard way of making sausages, and Sundae is delicious! Moreover, it is seasoned with herbs, ginger, garlic, and spices, bringing out its lovely soft texture and taste. Secondly, this winter delicacy is usually steamed or grilled, offering warmth and a truly satisfying experience. The act of grilling sundae releases a delightful smokiness and creates a crisp exterior that contrasts with the tender filling. Furthermore, the rich iron in the pig’s blood contributes to the snack’s nutritional value.

Sundae is typically enjoyed alongside a hearty BBQ or a plate of tteokbokki. This perfectly balances the rice cakes’ sweet and spicy heat and the sausage’s tasty richness. The combination of textures and flavors makes sundae an ideal winter snack, offering warmth and culinary satisfaction.

South Korea: A Winter Food Heaven

Winter in South Korea is a great time to visit the country, whether you are a big family, a couple, or a solo traveler. While the temperatures can get cold in most parts of the country, the vibrant energy and festive vibes are highly contagious. This is only enhanced by the vibrant tapestry of street foods, with each dish filling you with warmth and unmatched flavor. Street stalls cook delicious treats, producing a variety of aromas that draw locals and visitors alike. From warm, savory broths to crispy fried treats, these street dishes showcase South Korea’s best offers during the cold winter.
South Korea’s street food culture is renowned worldwide, and the quality of the cuisine in the wintertime is equally sublime. This is a great place to celebrate the festive season with your loved ones or to explore a country deep with history, culture, modernity, and hospitable locals!

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