It seems as though great food is even easier to find in Busan than Seoul, I’m certainly partial to the various flavors found here. On this 6 day trip to Busan, we practically ate every meal at roadside vendors’ stalls because you don’t have to go any further to find amazing food! Today I’ve put together a list of what I consider to be the Top 5 “can’t miss” street foods in Busan! The stalls are all concentrated around BIFF square vicinity and will introduce you to these favorites: brown sugar cakes, spicy rice cakes, rice rolls, fishcake soup, and dumplings!
This article is translated by Tom Eldridge.
There are countless snacks to choose from in Korea, and the flavors found in street stalls, restaurants, and small shops are all entirely unique. Usually, I just went with whatever jumped out at me first since the only way to find out if you like something is to try it! There are several prominent snacks found in Busan, and I’d like to share with everybody my personal favorites!
|Where can I find the must eat street food?
Although you can find street food everywhere, Seomyeon station and Nampo station areas are the most popular choices for tourists- the atmosphere somewhat reminds me of Ximending in Taipei.
There are more choices in Nampo, however in the case that you are not particularly interested in seafood (as in my case), Seomyeon is also certainly a fine option. There you will find vendors selling spicy rice cakes and brown sugar cakes, although the price can be a bit high.
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|Real Sponge Cake, Kaelan Ban (1000 Won)
I call it a “Real Sponge Cake” because in Chinese we call sponge cakes “egg cakes” and there is really an egg inside these!!! Actually these are comparable to what you might find in Seoul, so I wouldn’t say it’s a “must eat” but it never hurt to try! The most unique aspect of the cakes here is the ketchup inside (weird, right?)! The sponge cakes in Seoul lack ketchup, so they seem simply to be sponge cakes with a boiled egg stuffed inside! If you’re a sponge cake lover, these are definitely worth a try.
|Spicy Rice Cake, Dok Boggi (3000 Won)
The stalls selling the rice cakes in Seomyeon are all incredibly similar, so just try whichever one catches your eye! That being said, in the end we did discover that there are some subtle differences in ingredients among vendors, so you may just have to try them all! The one we tried on our first day contained konjac~ it was delicious, spicy, and a perfect compliment to the fishcake soup we had! It especially hits the spot if the weather is cold!
The rice cakes are not as small as those found in Taiwan, rather more similar in size and texture to tempura. The vendor will be glad to help you cut it down to size, and usually will ask you if you’d like egg or blood sausage (not every vendor has blood sausage, so just observe carefully or ask if they have “soondea”).
At Nampo we indulged in a serving of shockingly spicy rice cakes! It was AMAZING but if you are not prepared for the spice level you will most definitely burst out in a coughing fit after your first bite! This stuff is no joke! I suggest you have several drinks on the ready (fishcake soup is also a nice complement) or you may end up wishing you were dead! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 🙂
|Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cake, Hodok (1000 Won)
You absolutely must try a brown sugar cake in Busan!!!! No ifs, ands, or buts about it! I’ve tried these heavenly biscuits before while in Seoul, and when I heard they originated in Busan I obviously had no choice but to come investigate the matter personally! I’m not kidding at all when I say brown sugar cakes were the sole reason I made the trip! There are 3-4 vendors in Nampu that sell these delicacies, naturally we chose the one with a couple of handsome guys manning the stand (there were several reasons to drool here!), I had actually seen them before on a TV program travel segment. This stand is also relatively cheap compared to its neighbors! The handsome boss will passionately chat with you while in line like it’s the first time he’s seen a lady in years! The line can be rather extreme here, for good reason.
The perfectly fried cakes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside (if you try one in Seomyeon or another stand they may be cooked using a different technique and therefore may have a different consistency).
Sunflower seeds are stuffed inside the glazed flaky crispy shell, and a cinnamon-like flavor lingers after each bite. The experience can be compared to a piping hot Taiwan suncake (plus seeds). These brown sugar cakes are so absurdly heavenly that for the following four days we had a hard time staying away from this stand and trying other food!
|Korean Rice Roll, Kimbab (3000 Won for 2 rolls)
To be completely honest with you guys, Korean sushi is DAMN good! These massive rolls hit the spot every time. Japanese sushi has more of a sour taste and the rolls are a bit bigger, whereas Korean sushi is unique because of the quality of the nori, or perhaps due to the fragrance of the sesame oil; whatever it is I can’t help but eating whatever is in front of me until it disappears! Absolutely irresistible!
|Korean Dumplings, Mandu (3000 Won for a half dozen)
The most fundamental street food in Korea has to be spicy rice cakes, fishcake soup, and dumplings~ dumplings can vary in size substantially, the ones we ordered today were small ones because the big ones looked like a snack we have in Taiwan. 6 dumplings for 2 people is just right, if I had any more I think I’d be uncomfortably full…if you’d like to try some other snacks you can always wrap ’em up and have a dumpling or two for a midnight snack!
Since the dumplings are cooked in the beginning of the day, the vendors will toss them back in the pot for a moment to heat them back up when you order one~ the dumpling I ordered had chives inside. The dumplings had a pungent smell, but I didn’t mind at all since I was still on the rebound from the suuuuuper spicy ricecakes described above (same vendor actually). The exterior of the dumplings are pleasantly crispy and the filling is generous~ I really liked them! Absolutely recommended.
Next time you find yourself in Busan you’ll know exactly what snacks to look for! Happy Trails!
|Activities&Day Tours in Busan
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–Geojedo Island Day Tour
–Busan Tower Ticket
–Korea Rail Pass (KR PASS) 2/3/4/5 Days
–Busan East Coast Cultural Day Tour
–Busan Night Tour
–Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage Site
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