Baby, it’s cold outside. Let’s bundle up and hit the streets for some eats!
by Cari Kamja 🍠
While part of me is wondering how 2016 passed so quickly, the other part of me is so pumped! Winter means the street carts will start selling some of the best Korean street food ever. My wallet will be totally empty but my heart and stomach will be so happy and full.
Here are six Korean winter street foods you need in your life right now.
If heaven had a taste, it would taste like hotteok.
It’s often translated to be a sort of sweet pancake, but it is so much more than that. Hotteok is a large wad of dough stuffed with cinnamon, nuts, seeds, and sugar and fried on a large stove top. The dough takes on the consistency of a donut and is served piping hot. It’s served in a paper cup to catch the boiling hot insides that you’re probably going to spill on your shirt the first time you try it.
While it might be hard, I strongly suggest waiting a bit for the hotteok to cool, or you’ll burn your mouth off. I’m not kidding – the insides are like lava. Wonderful, delicious, mouthwatering lava.
Gun-Koguma, or Oven-roasted Sweet Potato (군고구마)
Korea loves sweet potatoes, and gun-koguma is the best way to enjoy them!
These bundles of joy are thrown into a large oven and roasted to perfection. You can get just one handed to you in a paper bag, or an entire bag full to share with friends (or hoard for yourself, no judgement here).
Start peeling off the skin (probably burning your fingers in the process – but it’s worth it!) and take a bite into the steaming, bright orange sweet potato fresh from the oven. Part-hand warmer, and part-delicious treat — gun-koguma is the ultimate winter street food, and you will find yourself addicted.
Gun-Bam, a.k.a. Roasted Chestnuts (군밤)
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, anyone? As the weather in Korea starts to cool down, trucks and carts roasting up chestnuts will start to line the streets, filling the air with a mouth watering smell.
You can grab a large bag of these soft, roasted goodies or just enjoy the aroma. Either way, you’ll feel the chill in your bones fade away.
Gyeran Bbang, a.k.a. Egg Bread (계란빵)
This treat is available year-round, but it is best enjoyed in the chilly temperatures of winter here in Korea. Literally called “egg bread,” gyeran bbang has a cornbread-like bottom with a steamed egg on top.
It’s left to sit on the steamer until you’re ready to eat it so that it’s as hot as possible! Its lightly sprinkled with salt too, making this the ultimate savory snack. Like hotteok, this is usually served to you in a paper cup or a small piece of cardboard, so it acts as a hand warmer too!
Boongeobbang, or Sweet Fish Bread (붕어빵)
It’s always a struggle eating in Korea, because half the time their food is too cute to eat! These adorable little fish are called boongeobbang, and they will definitely become your new favorite food.
The outside tastes like a pancake but the insides are traditionally filled with red bean or custard. If you’re up for it though, the latest trend is filling these already sweet treats up with ice cream and sprinkles! Whether you grab a bag of mini fish or go for the giant ice cream version, you’re probably going to want second helpings.
Hodugwaja, a.k.a. Walnut Cookies (호두과자)
If you loved boongeobbang, you’re really going to fall in love with hodugwaja, which literally means “walnut snack/cookie.”
These little morsels of goodness are one of my favorite winter snacks! They became famous in the area of Cheonan, Korea, but they can now be found all over because they are so tasty. The tiny sweets are made from a dough similar to pancakes and filled with a mix of sweet red bean paste and crushed walnuts.
Since walnuts are so good for you, this cookie can definitely be considered a healthy snack so load up on these without any guilt, am I right?
Which of these Korean street foods do you want to try first!? 😋