Korean Snacks, Banchan & Street Foods | Korean Language Challenge Culture & Cuisine

I thought that today, I would do something a little bit different for my Korean update.

Since I recently spoke about Korean dining etiquette on the blog, I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about Korean food. And I thought the easiest way to do that would be with Korean snacks (plus I get to eat everything which is a bonus, well, if I like it)!

Made my own “box” and I’ll unbox it for you today.

Korean Snacks, Street Foods & Banchan | Eurolinguiste

I wanted to get a nice mix of items, so I have actual snacks, a couple of street foods and even a couple of banchan 반찬 (side dishes).

So I’ll start with the street foods I have since I made them and I wanted to try them out while they were still warm!

Korean Street Foods

Hotteok

This is Hotteok 호떡, a Korean pancake. They are usually eaten during the winter, and even though it’s summer, hey, pancakes…

Essentially, these are wheat flour, water, milk, sugar, and yeast and they are filled with things like brown sugar, peanuts or sesame seeds. I bought this, a kit to make them (and pumpkin flavored because I love everything pumpkin).

Hotteok Korean Pancakes | Korean Street Foods, Snacks & Banchan | Eurolinguiste

Hotteok Korean Pancakes | Korean Street Foods, Snacks & Banchan | Eurolinguiste

Tteokbokki

The second street food I have is Tteokbokki 떡볶이. These are spicy rice cakes made with chili paste, fish cakes, soy sauce, garlic, green onion and a couple other ingredients. I’ll have a recipe up on the blog for this one in the near future, so I’ll be sure to include a link as soon as it’s available.

Other delicious Korean street foods you can try include:
– Korean kogo (a corn dog made with french fries instead of ordinary batter)
– Egg bread
– Ice cream
– Torpedo potato

Korean Side Dishes

Kimchi

Now I’ll move onto the banchan, or the side dishes. These are usually served alongside Korean meals and you can get anywhere from 2-12 different of these side dishes depending on the restaurant. When eating with a group, there is actually an etiquette involved in eating these that I didn’t mention in my Korean dining etiquette post, so I’ll mention it here. When you get down to just one piece left, the polite thing to do is to request a new plate of the banchan from your waiter or waitress rather than eat that last tasty morsel.

So the first banchan that I have is kimchi 김치 which is spicy fermented cabbage (although it can be made with other things). My dad, who coincidentally lived in Korea for a few weeks, is a huge fan of kimchi and he’s even made it himself. But I had already finished the jar he had given me so today, I have this jar from Ha Sun Jung (I wasn’t able to find it online, so I’ve included a link to one of the most popular I can find on Amazon).

Salted Seaweed

This one is pretty self explanatory. It’s seaweed with salt. You can use it to make a salad or eat it as a stir fry, 미역줄기 볶음. I found a great recipe on I am a Food Blog for the salad if you’re interested. The package that I found at the local Korean market is Wang Korea, but there were quite a few choices for this one.

Other banchan you can get include cucumber kimchi, marinated mung bean sprouts, cubed radish kimchi, stir fried dried anchovies, soy glazed lotus root, dried shredded squid, and japchae (glass noodles).

And now, we’ll move on to the snacks!

Korean Snacks

Okay, so I did quite a bit of research for this one and I wasn’t able to find a few of the items on the list, but I want to mention them because I know they’re pretty popular. The first are Oiji Honey Chips 허니버터칩. I know these are really popular, but I sadly, wasn’t able to find them. Some of the others snacks I missed were sweet cakes 찹쌀약과, rice balls, pumpkin monaca, red bean jelly, and fish pastries. So I’ll be sure to include more information on some of these in the accompanying blog post. But for now, I’ll share what I was able to find.

Ginger Crackers

First are these ginger crackers made by Wang Korea. I’m a little bit skeptical about these because ginger can be a hit or miss with me. I love pickled ginger and a ginger sauces, but I don’t like ginger candies or ginger beer. So I was kind of afraid of this one before trying it.

I had read on a few sites that this is a preferred snack for the older generation of Koreans, but after tasting these crackers (which were more like wafer sugar cookies), I would imagine that these could be enjoyed by anyone looking for a light, sweet snack.

Seaweed Crackers

I also have these seaweed crackers from Surasang. They seemed to be a rice cracker and upon opening the bag, the seaweed smell was quite overpowering. The taste took a little getting used to, but they weren’t bad. Again, I couldn’t find the exact crackers I bought, but these are pretty close.

Rice Crackers

These, I’ve had before. Not this particular brand, but I’ve had rice crackers in the past. They are light and airy and are definitely a nice snack, so I can see why they’re popular. The crackers that I tried out are from Bin Bin and they are delicious. They have a tapioca powder that coats them and it gives them a subtle, sweet taste that just makes them addicting.

Shrimp Crackers

To keep the biscuit/cracker theme going I also had shrimp crackers from Nongshim. I have always been curious about chips and crackers that come in this flavor, but this was my first time trying them out and I was not a fan.

They smelled and tasted like the fish food I used to feed my goldfish when I was a kid and I just couldn’t get past that. I know that people are a huge fan of the shrimp crackers from Nongshim, but they just were not for me.

Choco Corn

Alright, I have two more. Another snack I had were choco corns. They are shaped like cheese puffs, but definitely don’t look like them…

They have a sweet chocolate flavor, almost like a cereal. They weren’t too bad, but I just thought their shape was pretty hilarious.

Pepero Lotte

And I saved what I think will be the best for last. These are Pepero 빼빼로. They look a lot like Pocky and they’re taste was quite similar. These are cookie sticks dipped in chocolate and the ones I have also have almonds mixed into the chocolate.

Pepero is made by Lotte which is apparently a huge deal in Korea. So much so that they even have their own theme park in Seoul.

Alright, that’s all that I have for you today. I hope that you enjoyed discovering some of these Korean snacks with me.

Korean Food Vocabulary

Transliteration Korean English
Gansik 간식 snacks
Banchan 반찬 side dishes
Hotteok 호떡 a Korean pancake
Tteokbokki 떡볶이 a spicy rice cake dish
Kimchi 김치 spicy fermented cabbage
Gilgeoli eumsig 길거리 음식 street food
Miyeogjulgi bokk-eum 미역줄기 볶음 stir fried seaweed stems
Pepero 빼빼로 cookie sticks dipped in chocolate
Heonibeoteochib 허니버터칩 Honey butter chips
Chabssal-yaggwa 찹쌀약과 Korean sweet cakes

What about you?

Any street foods or snacks from other countries that you love?

Any you’d like to try out but haven’t yet had the chance? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!

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I'm a language lover, traveler and musician sharing my adventures and language learning tips over at Eurolinguiste. Join me on Facebook for daily language learning and travel tips!

  • In a video by another blogger I’ve just seen, that you can get ice-cream served either with potato chips or French fries (these being actually dipped or dunked in the ice-cream), the choice is yours. The blogger found it too strange, so she didn’t try it, but I’d love to try the potato chips version.

    In Korea, there are some big companies, who own everything: they have shopping malls, theme parks, banks, etc. Lotte is one of these. So it’s not really a popular company or brand, it’s just they have money, so they are everywhere.

    • I’ve seen some of the crazy ice cream that they have (like this one https://www.pinterest.com/pin/286330488783977282/), but I didn’t know that you could get it with fries or chips. It makes me think of the old trend of dipping fries into a Wendy’s frosty here in the US.

      I didn’t know about the companies in Korea having all sorts of businesses around the country outside of what they primarily do. Thanks for the tidbit!