Top 12 Korean Traditional Snacks You must try!
In this article we will introduce you to the top 12 korean traditional snacks you absolutely must try as you travel south korea, or at wherever your country is right now if there’s available.
Korea is undeniably a k-pop, k-drama, beauty paradise, but you also need to know that korea is also food nations, food paradise. Let’s go beyond the usual dishes and seek out some Korean traditional snacks.
Here is the list of 12 Korean traditional snacks you have to try. It’s hard to find these snacks outside of Korea, so do remember to hunt them down the next time you visit the country.
Kimchi mandu (kimchi dumplings)
Kimchi Mandu 만두 is actually a korean version of Jiaozi (China) and Gyoza (Japan) dumplings. kimchi dumplings are filled with a mixture of kimchi, pork, tofu, bean sprouts, onions, and scallions. Korean Mandu can be fried for a crunchy texture or steamed.
Yakgwa (Korean honey cookies)
Yakgwa is a traditional honey cookie that’s shaped like a flower. yak actually means medicine, and gwa means sweet. Yakgwa is so named because of the health benefits and sweetness that honey has.
This snack is prepared by deep-frying instead of baking, made with simple ingredients like sesame oil, rice wine, honey, and ginger.
Bungeoppang (붕어빵) is a fish shaped pastry that are often filled with something inside. In the old times, the only available fillings were sweetened red bean paste, but as time goes by, it created more choices for their fillings, such as custard, nutella, and even peanut butter.
Gangjeong (Sweet rice puff)
Gangjeong is a sweet rice puff snack that looks similar to yoghurt bars and crispy rice. It was the improvisation of the origins Chinese snack called sachima.
To make this, a sugar syrup is used to hold all the contents of gangjeong together. Gangjeong comes in lots of flavors of seeds and nuts and even dried fruit.
Goguma Mattang (Korean sweet potatoes)
Goguma Mattang (고구마 맛탕) is a deep fried chunky sweet potatoes that are coated with caramelized sugar. It taste crunchy outside and soft inside.
Actually, Mattang originated in China. They have a cooking method called 拔絲 (básī), which roughly describes the sugar caramelization process. Then later on Korean reinvented this mattang into Goguma mattang, korean version of mattang.
Hodugwaja (Korean walnut pastry)
Hodugwaja (호두과자) is a popular Korean street snacks, it’s a walnut shaped cookie or better known as Korean walnut cake or Korean walnut cookie. Korean walnut pastry is filled with sweetened red bean paste and small chunky walnuts. The taste of Korean walnut pastry is quite similar to Korean fish shaped pastry – bunggeoppang (붕어빵).
Chapssaltteok (red bean mochi)
Chapssaltteok (찹쌀떡) is a Korean version of Japanese mochi rice cake, daifuku. I guess many of you can guess from it’s appearance that this was a korean version of Mochi rice cake. It is a popular Korean snack during winter months.
This is also a popular gift for wishing someone good luck. Chapssaltteok dough is made with glutinous rice, so it has a soft and chewy texture. And, inside is filled with sweet red bean paste, so it’s described as red bean mochi.
Songpyeon (Pine rice cakes)
Songpyeon is a traditional Korean food made of rice powder. It is a type of tteok, small rice cakes, traditionally eaten during the Korean autumn harvest festival, Chuseok. It is a popular symbol of traditional Korean culture as it was told that this food is a symbol of prosperity and success.
Songpyeon is usually filled with a red bean paste and comes in a various colours. These colours are created using natural ingredients such as gardenia seeds, mugwort, cinnamon, and dried fruit powders. The rice cakes are then steamed on a layer of pine needles.
While the traditional ones come shaped like a half-moon, many people have gone the extra mile during the festive season to create more intricate designs.
Dakgangjeong (korean popcorn chicken)
Korean popcorn chicken (Dakgangjeong, 닭강정) is a popular Korean street snack in Korea, I believe you already tried this somewhere either in korea or your own country. This chicken is deep fried and coated with Korea’s spicy and sweet sauce. This is a really good simple fillings food when you need an instant gratifications for your hungry stomach.
Dalgona Candy (Korean sugar candy)
Many of us will imagine Dalgona coffee as we first heard Dalgona, however, it’s not just about coffee guys. Korean sugar candy dalgona, also known as ppopgi, is actually an old school korean sugar candy that many local Koreans enjoyed during their childhood. It is really easy to make, it’s only requires two ingredients: sugar and baking soda.
Hotteok (Korean pancake)
Hotteok is a popular Korean street food that’s essentially pancakes filled with brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts and seeds. Same like the other, this food is actually also origniated from China, which known as shao bing in Chinese. It was brought into Korea during the Qing Dynasty when Chinese merchants come to do some trading in Korea.
It taste chewy inside and crispy bite outside when it’s fried. It has various flavors, but honey and brown sugar are the most mainstream taste people ordered.
Gukhwappang (Chrysanthemum bread)
I believe we all imagine flower, or tea, when we heard Chrysanthemum word. However, this one is not flower nor tea, this one is korean bread that takes form of chrysanthemum, without the flower taste of course.
it taste more like Japanese taiyaki. You can find this bread in Insadong as you pass by looking for korean traditional souvenirs to bring back home. This Chrysanthemum bread usually filled with sweet red bean, however some stalls offers other flavor such as honey and peanut.
So these is the list of 12 Korean Traditional Snacks you absolutely must try at least once a lifetime. Let us know which one do you like? or you have another choice? Many of them are hard to find abroad, that’s why make sure you try it when you travel south korea.