Street Food in Korea and Stuff On Sticks!

by Matt on August 23, 2011

There is no shortage of quick and tasty food in Seoul and Jeonju. In fact, it’s hard to not stumble into a stand somewhere serving bubbling ddeokbokki or frying up the small disks of hoddeok, the sweet pancakes ready to be consumed on the spot.

I’m not quite sure I can make this point enough regarding street food.

It is everywhere.

The sheer number of carts, food stalls and ad hoc restaurants is only matched by the Korean appetite. It seems insatiable and I felt so completely at home. Walk up to any stand or vendor and you’ll most likely be greeted with a smile and an urge to stop and enjoy their offerings. In more crowded markets like Gwangjuang Market in Seoul you’ll even feel the competition for your business as stall operator after stall operator gently pleads for you to have a seat.

You can choose to be overwhelmed or you can choose to tackle it head on. I bet you can’t guess which one we did.

Not to make anyone dizzy, but here’s a quick slightly sped up video of my walk through Gwangjang Market. I don’t think I could even keep track of the amount of food stalls.


Our pop-up has nothing on pojangmacha

See this? Take a food truck, add a tent, some seating, amplify the concept and experience and you have pojangmacha. You can stop in for a bite to eat, drink some soju or makkoli, all relatively inexpensively. I love this.  Will we be seeing pojangmacha pop up in Los Angeles, I wonder?

Not wanting to miss a thing, we made sure to hit the street food not only in Seoul but in Jeonju as well. Walking through the streets, the sights, sounds and smells of Korean food was enough to send me into overload. It was the perfect late night meal.

Plenty of ddeokbukki, one of my most favorite dishes on the planet. It’s sliced rice cake and fish cake cooked in gochujang, the Korean chili paste. It’s warm and spicy, chewy and filling. Our meal also consisted of deep fried vegetables and soondae, Korean blood sausage. If you are a fan of Spanish morcilla you’ll enjoy soondae. We finished it off with pieces of kimbap, Korean rice rolls which I could eat every single day.


You’d think after rolling me back to Seoul I would have had my fill of street fare. Absolutely not. We hadn’t even begun to sample Korean food on a stick.




I think I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.


There’n even a stick section at the convenience store!

And lastly, I thought I’d close out this post with one of the most beautiful, happiest things the planet has ever seen. A French Fry-Wrapped Hot Dog. On a stick. Yes. I’m crying. Look at it. Love it. It was as every bit of delicious as it should be.

I can’t wait to go back.