Walk through a Korean night market and feel the excitement in the air. It is a hive of activity with tourists and locals alike on the lookout for affordable shopping and delicious eats. Shop for the latest K-pop fashion trends in Myeongdong, have a romantic stroll along the Busan Gwangandaegyo bridge and explore mysterious caves in Jeju, but don’t forget to stop by a night market and eat to your heart’s content. Here are five street foods to try in Korea.

1. TTEOKBOKKI

This combination of soft rice cake, fish cake and gochujang (Korean chilli paste) is arguably one of the most famous Korean street foods. A Korean staple, you can find it in every corner and night market. The chilli sauce has the consist- ency of a cream soup, allowing you to slurp down the spicy goodness. Tteokbokki goes very well with side dishes such as fried calamari, dumplings, shrimp and mozzarella cheese.

2. GYERANPPANG

A simple fusion of two basic breakfast items creates an amazing product, the egg bread. A whole egg, with the yolk still intact and ready to burst with goodness, is laid on top of a sweet golden-brown muffin. The muffins are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. This little snack is surprisingly filling.

3. KOREAN KOGO

“Guilty pleasure” is the keyword when it comes to the Korean kogo. Sausages are deep fried in bread and batter, encrusted with French fry bits on the outside. It is hard to resist this fun and creative snack that is reminiscent of carnivals and amusement parks. Korean kogo is always served piping hot. Dip it into ketchup and enjoy the taste of the fries, batter and sausage.

4. PAJEON

The Korean pancake, pajeon, comes in many different variations. A common filling is leek and green onion. There are variants with prawns, mussels, squid, meat and even kimchi. The whole combination is fried in batter and served hot. Dip your fried pancake into the accompanying soy-based dip to enjoy its savoury goodness.

5. GIMBAP

The Korean cousin of Japanese sushi, gimbap, a seaweed rice roll, resembles a maki, except that it is wrapped with thicker pieces of seaweed and glazed with perilla oil on the outside. Gimbap can be made with differ- ent fillings, with kimchi being one of the popular ones. Some stalls allow patrons to customise their gimbap by offering other ingredients like meat, spinach, tofu, pickled radish, eggs and more. The possibilities are many and vary across different stalls and night markets.

All images: 123rf.com

This article was first published in The Straits Times Classified.
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