Street Food in Korea and Stuff On Sticks!

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.






  1. michelle says

    So unfair. I am now starving. That meat on a stick that Adam is wielding third photo from the bottom looks soooo good. And the french fry hot dog is awesome.

  2. says

    I love this. It makes me all the more psyched for my upcomming trip to China and Tibet. They’re going to have to load me on my own plane to heave me back to the states I plan to eat so much.

  3. says

    Korea + Food + Street Vendors = Delicious. I only wish I could cook the wonderful meals I had while I was there! My friend treated me to a Korean style brunch at her house and it brought back some great memories for my taste buds! 😉

  4. Angela says

    And lastly, I thought I’d add a comment to this post with one of the most beautiful, happiest things the planet has ever seen. Matt taking a picture of Adam eating a French Fry-Wrapped Hot Dog. On a stick. Yes. I’m crying. Look at it. Love it. You two are every bit of delicious as two people should be.

  5. says

    I am half-Korean and I haven’t been back to Korea since I was a small child. Looking at your posts makes me home sick for my mom’s food! I love every picture you took. Thank you for your post :) Gotta make me some kimbap now!

  6. says

    Matt this is an awesome post! Thanks for helping me feel like I just went to Korea for a few minutes!

    When I went to Mexico City on a photography tour with Penny de los Santos in July, we saw so much street food and so many markets…and I do mean…soooo many! It was so eye opening and amazing being surrounded by new everything to me. And your Korea experience I can only imagine was equally as fascinating and amazing!

  7. says

    I did see on a travel show that somewhere in Korea (I think) there are deep friend Starfish on a stick! The travel host ate it and said it wasn’t bad, but anything deep friend isn’t too bad (usually!).

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  8. says

    The concept of the food truck smacks dab on the essence of street food. And, that fry-wrapped hotdog on a stick just looks surreal, but inviting. It’s almost like an armament of some kind… in bright yellow LOL!

  9. says

    What a trip! Those pop up food stalls are fabulous. The French Fry wrapped hot dog….quite the treat. Back in college I would have slammed that at 3am.

  10. says

    Yay! I live in Seoul and it’s so much fun to read your post about all the awesome street food. Please come back and visit soon!

  11. says

    Weiner wrapped in potatoes… this is prime example why I love street food. It’s cheap and its a dream come true!

  12. says

    I wholeheartedly enjoyed your entire post, but found myself unreasonably obsessed with the roll of toilet paper in the first picture. It looks like toilet paper. Is it toilet paper? Why?

  13. says

    Just found your blog through bakerella!!! In love… I love the travel!! I’m a stay at home mom of two with a major itch to travel… One of my new fav blogs.. Food on a stick? Seriously? In lurveeeee…

  14. says

    Asians are amazing at presenting food on a stick and for the most part I can enjoy…it’s the skewered bugs or scorpions that make great photos but have no place in my belly! :) Cheers!

  15. says

    Oh my. I am thoroughly overwhelmed just watching Matt’s video, and SO excited to eat things on a stick! I love that you appreciate the little things, like the magic of a French fry-wrapped hot dog, or just how badass that lady in the purple latex apron is :)

  16. says

    Fantastic pictures. Especially love the woman dressed to the nines manning her food cart. That french fry covered hotdog is unbelievable. Who would have thought such uber American fast food would be invented in Korea.

  17. says

    There is a bar in LA that sort of replicates the pojangmacha. The bar’s called DwitGolMok, which literally means “back alley” in Korean. It’s in Koreatown and it’s hard to find, but pretty dang awesome.

    I’m currently in Korea and even though I pass by vendors every day, your photos somehow make everything look more delicious!

  18. says

    That fries enveloping a sausage has got to steal the limelight; of all the most fusion of stuff. And on the streets of Korea to boot.
    Pleasant, this resembles Taiwan to an extent.

  19. says

    Love your post~!! Ddoekbokki is one of my favorites, too~^^ Please try ddeokboki street in Bundang next time~ There are some pretty good places~

  20. Hanna says

    Great to see my city captured in street food snippets. I adore all of the food stalls, pojangmachas, and outdoor markets that are so ubiquitous here. Come back soon!