1. 떡볶이 (Tteokbokk-i)
Since its debut in the 1950s, tteokbokk-i has become one of Korea's most popular street foods. It is a delicious snack that consists of chewy rice cakes, fish cakes and boiled eggs in a spicy gochujang (chili paste) based sauce. You can find tteokbokk-i at a bunshikjip (snack bar), pojangmacha (street stall) or at a restaurant.
2. 김밥 (Kimbap)
Kimbap is a well-known Korean dish and the ideal choice for a doshirak (packed meal). It is made with rice and other ingredients rolled in dried sheets of seaweed laver. Kimbap is extremely convenient to carry on the go and is the perfect addition to your picnic basket!
3. 순대 (Soondae)
Korean soondae is a unique dish of blood sausage made by steaming stuffed intestines. The stuffing is typically made of minced meat, rice, and vegetables. Soondae can be easily found at street vendors and is a great dish to taste if you're looking to try something new.
4. 치맥 (Chimaek)
Chimaek is a very popular term that describes eating KFC – Korean Fried Chicken – while drinking maekju (beer). Korean fried chicken includes both the classic fried chicken and the specially seasoned chicken. Unlike your usual American fried chicken, Korean fried chicken is fried twice, giving it a crunchier and less greasy layer. Enjoy chimaek with a friend for a delicious meal or snack!
5. 막파 (Makpa)
Makpa is a phrase used to describe drinking makgeolli while eating pajeon. Makgeolli, which is a milky Korean rice wine, is the perfect complement to pajeon. But of course, pajeon can be enjoyed with or without makgeolli! Pajeon is a delicious pancake made from a batter that includes eggs, wheat flour, rice flour, scallions and other ingredients like meat. It's great to eat as a snack, appetizer or even a light meal.
6. 팥빙수 (Patbingsu)
Stay cool from the hot Korean summers by trying patbingsu. Patbingsu is a tasty Korean shaved ice dessert that is typically topped with red bean and other ingredients like fresh fruit and condensed milk. If you are not a fan of red beans, you can also try bingsu, which tastes just as good, minus the beans.
7. 짜장면 (Jjajangmyeon)
Jjajangmyeon is a Korean dish that is a favorite among those who like to get food delivered. This noodle dish consists of a thick black gravy sauce, diced meat, and vegetables. It's a great meal to deliver during your stay in Korea!
8. 냉면 (Naengmyeon)
Refresh yourself with the Korean noodle dish, naengmyeon. Originally a delicacy in northern Korea, naengmyeon is now a popular choice among locals who want to stay cool during the summer. Naengmyeon is a dish made of long, thin noodles. Mul naengmyeon consists of a cold soup made from beef, chicken or dongchimi broth while bibim naengmyeon is made with a spicier gochujang (chili paste) sauce.
9. 칼국수 (Kalguksu)
Another noodle dish that you should try in Korea is kalgugsu. The combination of the warm broth and chewy wheat flour noodles is perfect for lunch or dinner. If you love to eat noodles, kalguksu is a must!
10. 삼계탕 (Samgyetang)
Samgyetang is a ginseng chicken soup consisting of a whole young chicken filled with garlic, rice, jujube, and ginseng – all very healthy ingredients. This warm soup is popular during the hot summer days of Korea and is believed to improve your health when eaten on sambok days.
11. 부대찌개 (Budaejjigae)
If you're looking for a little bit of everything, try budaejjigae, which literally translates to army base stew. This dish became popular shortly after the Korean War. Soldiers residing in U.S. army bases would take surplus foods and combine them into a stew. Budaejjigae still remains popular because of its great taste. Budaejjigae is usually made with ham, sausage, spam, baked beans, kimchi, and gochujang. However, it is very customizable as you can add your favorite ingredients including bacon, tofu, instant noodles, tteok (rice cake), cheese and vegetables.
12. 갈비 (Galbi)
If you love Korean BBQ, galbi is a must have! Galbi is a Korean beef short rib dish that is marinated in a sweet and savory sauce consisting of soy sauce, garlic, sugar and other ingredients. To get the full experience, go to a restaurant where you can grill your very own galbi!
13. 비빔밥 (Bibimbap)
If you're looking for a healthier option, try bibimbap! Bibimbap consists of rice mixed with healthy namul (seasoned vegetables) and sliced meat, all topped with a fried egg and some gochujang (chili paste). This savory dish is filling without being too heavy and can easily be altered to accommodate dietary restrictions.
14. 계란빵 (Gyelanbbang)
Gyelanbbang is a delicious treat that you can easily purchase on the streets of Korea. It's a soft muffin-like bread with a whole egg inside. Gyelanbbang is the perfect simple snack to munch on as you explore Korea.
15. 호떡 (Hotteok)
Hotteok is another popular Korean street food that is perfect for those with a sweet tooth! These warm, doughy pancakes are filled with sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Make sure you eat them hot off the griddle to indulge in the slightly crisp exterior and warm, gooey filling.