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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

South Korea: (just a little..) Street Food Culture!

South Korea is definitely a place that will always be in the good part of my memories.  It could be the good planning which the we had or perhaps because of how everything felt so foreign it actually became an adventure.  Food for sure is one of the many things that highlighted our visit to South Korea.  No doubt Kimchee is a staple around town, but so are many other types of food.  Street food is especially popular and admittedly, I had a feast whenever I was on my feet.  That explains all the long walks but still, a net gain of 5kgs which I have since lost.  So what is the Seoul Street food scene like?


ManduOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEssentially Korean dumplings which can be served fried or in a soup.  Filled with rice noodles, meat and vegetables, these bite size snacks make perfect accompaniment in the sub-zero weather!


TteokbokkiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnlike the skinny ones found in Australia, the ones on the streets of Seoul were plump and with a mild chewiness.  South Korea’s signature sauce which is a little spicy and sweet was just super yums.  Recommended with the dumplings shown above!


Pork buns!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot really a common snack, but in a particular market in Seoul called Namdaemun, hungry crowds often pack these home by the dozens! Hot, and more-ish with a textural wonder thanks to the vegetables in there.  (also available with red bean)


The dragon beard candyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADespite looking so simple, these little delights are skillfully woven by an often charismatic chap.  Sticky honey with peanuts. Imagine the salty-sweet goodness these pack!  Could do with some now!  Often woven on the spot, ask for fresh ones and enjoy the show!


Assorted fried foodsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnything here can be fried.  Sausages, fish cakes and even the infamous rice called called the tteokbokki!  Grab one and be on the run ;)!


Jap JaeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust because you are in the markets does not mean you have to be on your feet. Kick back, call a Jap Jae and enjoy warm tea or if you prefer, some Korean wine; Soju.  The Jap Jae comes with a variety of ingredients.  Make your pick, be it vegetarian or meat.  If meat is preferred I would suggest the pork.  For an extra kick, ask for spicy.  Beats any ordinary pork stir fry your mom makes.


OdengOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGo up North, down South or simply into any 7 Eleven.  Odeng or fishcake is a Korea staple at home or in the stores.  Walk into any convenience store and a pot of Odeng cooked in turnip broth awaits.  If the –25 degrees weather does not kill you, the awesomeness of South Korea will.  Keep calm, have an Odeng.


Hott-teokOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn Malaysia, they serve flakey and airy Roti.  In South Korea, they called it Hott-teok.  Served piping hot with a syrupy cinnamon sugar.  Prepare for food coma.  Because it hits faster than diabetes when its that awesome. Also, if you think your fancy shirt is rare, this pan cake beats that.  Only available during winter, make sure you enjoy one if you are lucky enough. 


Meat skewersOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASticky, tasty and tender with a hint of smokiness, these skewered meat basted with a sweet soy glaze was another simple food made great.  Best eaten with one hand.


Kelam Pan - Egg in bunOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo idea what this is called but it is another food commonly found on the streets of Seoul.  A really nice cake with an egg cracked in the middle and left till cooked.  While I love the cake, the same cannot be said with the egg. 


KebabsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKebabs!  Funny to find them so far away.  But do not underestimate the Koreans.  Freshly chopped cabbage, spicy bugolgi chicken and a generous amount of mayo makes a formidable team. I was sold.  Behold the roll!


These are some of the few food which kept one hand busy which I explored South Korea.  It was an awesome place with so much to offer.  The misconception that a trip to South Korea is an all out Kimchee expedition is clearly wrong.  In fact, the pictures I have taken is probably not even half of the street food I ate.  Definitely worth re-visiting!  South Korea 2013? Nawwwww… maybe 2014!