Despite the South Korean government's rigorous funding and promotion for high-end Korean chefs and restaurants, simple authentic Korean street food has garnered more respect and recognition online from foodies and travel savants.
Even notoriously spicy food, which marketing experts advise to “water-down” for global customers, has developed its own devout following from food-daredevils.
In this hilarious video ‘Fire Noodle Challenge in London', Josh Carrott, an online celebrity of sorts (thanks to his series of YouTube videos), interviews British people and asks them about Korean food, music and culture.
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. The sheer number of carts, food stalls and ad hoc restaurants is only matched by the Korean appetite[...] 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.
Blogger and travel author Mark Wiens, posted a YouTube video where he shows and talks about popular Korean street food:
On the Migrationology site Wiens elaborates on each food he introduced in the video:
If you like to snack, you’ll have lots to do in South Korea! [...] Instead of wolfing down bowls of rice and full dishes, Korean street food is often reserved for things that can be eaten standing up, especially catering to Seoulites that are running from subway to subway. Stuff on sticks or things can can be eaten with toothpicks are common.
For readers who want to give Korean street food a try in the comfort of their own kitchens, here are tutorial videos for two of the most widely-loved street foods:
1) Tteokbokki- Sliced rice cake, additionally with fish cake, cooked in the Korean chili paste. Its sweet, spicy and chewy
2)Hotteok or Hoddeok, a variety of filled Korean pancake
And if you are a foodie daredevil, you might want to try Sannakji- fresh baby octopus eaten alive while it's still wriggling! This dish is not being promoted widely, but has attracted a lot of attention from foodies who seem unable to resist it.
For viewers with a light stomach here's a video showing the final dish, without the scene of how it is consumed.
(And if you want to watch how it is eaten, there are a few videos online: like this one.)