I feel like autumn arrived yesterday but after a blink, winter is here.

When I first planned moving to Asia, this was all I could think of:

Because… It’s Asia, right? Asia’s full of street food wherever you go!

So today, I’ll introduce Korean street food you can encounter in winter.
First things first, let’s learn their names and see their translations.

  1. Boong-uh Bbang or Ing-uh Bbang (붕어빵 or 잉어빵; literally translated: “gold fish/koi bread”)
  2. Hodduk (호떡)
  3. Uh-mook or O-deng (어묵 or 오뎅; fishcake)
  4. Goon Goguma (군고구마; grilled sweet potato)
  5. Ho-bbang or Jjin-bbang(호빵 or 찐빵)
  6. Gyeran Bbang (계란빵; egg bread)
  7. Garay-dduk (가래떡; white rice cake)
  8. Takoyaki (타코야끼; Octopus bread // Japanese snack but very common on Korean streets)
  9. Goonbahm (군밤; roasted chestnuts)
  10. Gookhwa Bbang (국화빵; chrysanthemum bread)

You can find some of these snacks at convenience stores like GS 25, CU, Mini Stop, Seven Eleven and more.

   

You might have seen a lot of those and wondered what they were. Ready to know what they really are?

 

[From here and below: all images are imported from Google]

<<Boong-uh Bbang / Ing-uh Bbang>>

“Paht/Pizza/Cream boong-uh bbang hana jooseyo.”
(Could I have one red bean/pizza/cream boong-uh bbang please?)

Yes, Boong-uh means goldfish and Ing-uh means koi. No worries, these are not real fish but just fish-shaped delicious snacks.

  👈 And it just looks like this!

Now, let’s discover what’s IN it.
There are a few variations…

 

 

The basic kind.
Inside this fish bun, it’s red bean paste.

 

 

 👈cream   👈 pizza

 

<<Hodduk>>

“Hodduk hana jooseyo.” (Could I have one hodduk please?)

Hodduk in general is a flat bread with molten sugar and nuts inside it. However, different types of ho-dduk developed over time, and now you can choose ho-dduk type depending on your appetite.
🚫WARNING: Be careful when you take the first bite. It may be unbearably hot.

  1. Regular Hodduk – Exactly as I explained above. 👆 It’s a flatten bread (it’s totally different from western ‘flatbread’😂) and if you take a bite, you’ll see molten sugar mixed with different nuts inside.

    

2. See-aht Hodduk – See-at means seeds 🌱. This type of Hodduk developed from the second biggest and the beautiful port city of Korea, Busan. On the top of regular hodduk (with less sugar), the hodduk maker will cut your hodduk in half and pour different types of seeds and nuts including sunflower seeds and peanuts.

 

3. Joong-gook Hodduk / Gong-gahl Hodduk – Gong gahl means lie/fake, and Joong-gook means China in Korea. It is told that this hodduk came from China. The crust is very crispy and inside, it’s coated with sugar and nuts. This hodduk is usually served when cool, but occasionally you’ll find warm gong-gahl hodduks as well.

 

 

<<Uh-mook / O-deng>>

“Uh-mook hana jooseyo.” (Could I have one uh-mook please?)

Uh-mook or O-deng is fishcake and yes, that’s the best translation… It’s a blended fish paste…? But that doesn’t sound appealing.. Actually uh-mook is one of the most common street food despite the season. You’ll find them in ddukbokki and you’ll see them at convenience stores at all seasons! O-deng and uh-mook have the same meaning, but o-deng is a Japanese word, so Koreans prefer using uh-mook than o-deing although o-deng is still commonly used.

   

On the left, that’s what it’s called uh-mook. When Koreans eat this, they also get a cup of broth from the tank and drink it while eating uh-mook. On the right, it’s rice cake on skewers. Rice cakes put in uh-mook broth is called ‘mool-dduk‘.

 

<<Goon Goguma>>

“Goon goguma eecheonwoneh myutgae ehyo?”
(How many sweet potatoes do I get for 2,000won?)

“Eecheonwon uhchi jooseyo.”
(I’ll take 2,000won worth of it.)

Goguma means sweet potato, goon(or goo-woon) means grilled. Good goguma is grilled goguma. It’s pure sweet potato with no additives but the kind commonly used to make this delicious snack is ‘hobahk goguma(pumpkin goguma)’. Healthy winter snack! If you get a chance, try goon goguma with a piece of kimchi. If you’re a fan of kimchi, you’ll love it!

   

 

<<Ho-bbang / Jjin-bbang>>

“ho-bbang hana jooseyo.” (Could I have one ho-bbang please?)

Ho-bbang or jjin-bbang usually refer to the same food. a round, soft-looking bun that has red bean paste in it. In winter, it’s pretty common to see the ‘ho-bbang machines’ at convenience stores and usually there are more than one flavor in the machine.

<From the top left to right>
Red bean / Milk / Vegetable / Pizza
Curry / Bulgogi dumpling / Honey seed / Egg

You want them anytime? Go to the closest grocery and look for these!:

After a few seconds, you’ll have a hot ho-bbang in your hands. 🙂

 

<<Gyeran-bbang>>

“gyeran-bbang hana jooseyo.” (Could I have one gyeran-bbang please?)

Gyeran translates into egg. Bbang, I think you got the idea, it’s ‘bread’ or ‘bun’. Gyeran-bbang is a small bun with egg on it. It seems to be disappearing lately, but still, I’m sure you’ll spot enough of these on streets in Korea. It’s known to be nutritious than other snacks since it’s not that sweet. It’s also a great choice for a meal replacement if you didn’t have enough time to eat.

<<Garay-dduk>>

“Garay-dduk hana jooseyo.” (Could I have one garay-dduk please?)

This is something that’s less common to see on streets. Garay-dduk, is a long rod of rice cake, and if you find them on the street, all of the times you’ll find it grilled. It’s also common to eat it with cheese. If you want to try but don’t see any, go to the closest ‘Sulbing(yes, that bingsoo place!)’ and ask for garay-dduk.

 👈This is the regular kind.

 👈 With cheese.

 

<<Takoyaki>>

“Takoyaki urmah ehyo?”
(How much is takoyaki?)

“Eecheonwon uhchi jooseyo.”
(I’ll take 2,000won worth of it.)

Takoyaki is known as ‘octopus bread’ and is from Japan but is also very common on Korean streets as well. It’s round, has octopus pieces, and decorated with some sauces and the dancing flake on the top.

 

<<Goonbahm>>

“Goonbahm urmah ehyo?”
(How much is tasted chestnuts?)

“Eecheonwon uhchi jooseyo.”
(I’ll take 2,000won worth of it.)

Like goon goguma, which was introduced above, goonbahm is also considered as a very healthy winter snacks. It’s roasted chestnut with no additives. These days, it’s easy to spot ‘nude goonbahm’ and don’t worry, it means the shell is removed.

 

Gookhwa-bbang (국화빵; chrysanthemum bread)

“Gookhwa-bbang urmah ehyo?”
(How much is gookhwa-bbang?)

“Eecheonwon uhchi jooseyo.”
(I’ll take 2,000won worth of it.)

Gookhwa is mums, the flower. Bbang, like mentioned several times above, means bread or buns. Gookhwa-bbang is a mum-shaped bun with red bean paste in it.

 

 

Hope you learned something about Korean winter street food, and if you see a stall,
be brave and go try buying in Korean with the language guide we put under each item!

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