Are you a Foodie? Looking for something different and unique to eat? Then check out “10 Must-Eat Korean Street Foods Part 2 (Sweet)” and see how we do street food here in Korea. In part two of this series, we cover our favorite sweet Korean Street Foods…
- Ddalgi Sa-Tang- Candy Coated Strawberries
- Hotteok- Korean Sweet Pancake
- Dalgona or Ppopgi- or Korean Sponge Candy
- Bungeo Ppang, Gukhwa Ppang, Hodu-gwaja- Sweet Korean Bread/Cookies
- Kkwabaegi– Korean Twisted Donuts
About Korean Sweet Street Food
Deciding what to put in this article was much harder that we had anticipated, and my husband and I argued back and forth quite a bit before deciding on our list. Korean sweets are incredibly varied and there were so many that we wanted to talk about. Many people do not understand how popular bakeries are here in Korea and the creativity among the offerings is really incredible.
That being said, however, the article is about street food and not simply sweets, so while we had to eliminate some of our favorites, we did so to stay true to the original goal of showing you “Must-Eat Street Foods”. Below is a collage of some of the desserts that did not make the cut.
While Korean Savory Street Food is often rooted in the country’s history, the Sweet Street Food is rooted in the country’s willingness to open itself up to new ideas wherever they are from and to adopt them to better fit their tastes.
1. Ddalgi Sa-Tang- Candy Coated Strawberries
Korean Ddalgi Sa-Tang or Candy Coated Strawberries actually originated in Northern China and not Korea, though they have now become one of the most popular street foods in the country. Sa-Tang may be better known as as Bing Tang Hulu and was not even originally made with Strawberries but instead featured Hawthorn Berries from China.
Legend has it that the fruit came to symbolize family happiness after a Song Dynasty doctor prescribed the fruit to the emperor’s consort after she fell ill. The fruit healed her and has now become a staple of Lunar New Year’s celebrations all over China.
The current popularity of the treat in Korean is likely related to a social media trend that started a few years ago and today has taken the country by storm. Whether its Strawberries, Orange Slices, grapes or even cherries, Sa-Tang has become a “Must Eat Korean Street Foods” and is certainly one of my favorite treats!!!
For a quick recipe, please check out the following link: http://missmochi.blogspot.com/2013/06/strawberry-bing-tanghulu.html
2. Hotteok- Korean Sweet Pancake
Hotteok is a popular Korean dessert that many believe originated in China, however, food researchers have noted that the delicacy likely originated from further to the West in either India or the Middle East and was actually brought to Korea over the silk road via China.
Whatever the origins, Hotteok is a wonderful snack that has experienced a strong resurgence after some trouble during the 1988 Olympic Games when the government closed down many of the street vendors to ease sidewalk congestion.
Today, it is hard to find a Hotteok stand that doesn’t have a long line of people waiting to order. And why not, who could refuse a Korean pancake stuffed with brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. As the pancake cooks the heat melts the sugar into an amazing sauce that just oozes out as you chew. Yum!!!! That is why Hotteok is number 2 on our list of “Must Eat Korean Street Foods” the sweet edition.
Looking for more information? Check out the following link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/04/dining/history-of-hotteok.html#:~:text=Yet%20hotteok%20itself%20is%20a,and%20sugar%20to%20the%20country.
3. Dalgona or Ppopgi- Korean Sponge Candy
Did someone say Squid Games? Yes, that’s right our 3rd entry to the Korean Street Food Sweet Edition is Dalgona Candy. This newly revived popular street food has gained global popularity after appearing on the Netflix Korean sensation Squid Games.
While the candy was extremely popular during the 1960s thanks to the extreme economic challenges and food shortages that the country faced, it slowly faded from memory as the country’s economy began to take off.
Well today, everything has truly come full circle as a television show has reminded people of their childhood memories and love for this candy. It has now become a favorite street food everywhere and why not, the taste of burnt sugar with baking soda is reminiscent of eating a slightly over toasted marshmallow.
Can someone say… Delicious… That’s why Dalgona is number 3 on our “Must Eat Korean Street Foods” the sweet edition.
For more information and a quick recipe, try the following link: https://www.koreanbapsang.com/dalgona-spongy-candy/
4. Bungeo Ppang, Gukhwa Ppang, Hodu-gwaja- Korean Bread or Cookies
These street foods are all lumped together because of their similar nature. Bread or Ppang is an important component in Korean society and all of these snacks are sweet versions that have become favorite comfort foods particularly during the colder months.
The first of these breads is Bungeo Ppang and loosely translates to carp bread due to its fish shape. To my husband’s great relief however, no fish were killed in the making of this product. It just looks like a fish.
That being said, the traditional red bean filling is surprisingly sweet and comforting on a cold Autumn day. While the dish is a Korean staple it originated in the 1930s and is similar to the Japanese Taiyakii.
My favorite, Gukhwa Ppang or Chrysanthemum Bread is another of these wonderful concoctions and gets its name from the mold it is cooked in which is shaped like a flower. The snack is smaller and lighter than the Bungeo Ppang, but be careful, the bean filled center can be very hot.
Lastly, Hodu-gwaja or Korean Walnut Cookies. These “Cookies” are similar to the first two Ppang but are cooked in a mold in the image of a walnut and also have nuts mixed in with the sweet red bean filling. As with the other ppang, these are extremely popular in the Autumn and Winter time and if you walk down any busy street, you are likely to smell their sweet aroma before you ever see them.
All of these foods are staples of the Korean Autumn and Winter and are great ways to stay warm when the weather turns brisk. That is why they are number 4 in our “Must Eat Korean Street Foods” sweet edition.
5. Kkwabaegi– Korean Twisted Donut
Of all of our entrants in this category, surprisingly, the twisted donut has the longest history regarding the Korean peninsula. The treat has been traced back to the Joseon Dynasty prior to any Western influences and likely originated from the Chinese pastry yóutiáoin, which was much harder in texture and was typically served during holidays or for special events.
Kkwabaegi is similar to a western donut but has more of a chewy texture thanks to the gluttonous rice flour that is used. This provides a really nice mouth feel and makes the snack food seem more filling and hearty to me.
For many years the snack was a favorite street food among Koreans, but recently in some of the major cities the shops have been disappearing due to rising real estate costs. They are still a staple at markets however and you should have no trouble finding one if you look in any touristy district.
To me, this is one of the best grab and go foods in all of Korea, as it is cheap, fulfilling and delicious. For that reason, it made our list of “Must Eat Korean Street Foods” the sweet edition at number 5.
For more information see the following link: https://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Culture/view?articleId=186701#:~:text=According%20to%20ancient%20historical%20documents,originated%20from%20China’s%20Hangzhou%20region.
6. Hoeori Gamja- The Korean Tornado Potato
While not technically a “Sweet Food” Potato Chips have always been considered a snack food and here in Korea, they have taken it to another level. The Tornado Potato was an internet sensation in 2007 and continues to be popular after nearly 15 years.
Patented by Jeong Eun Suk of Agricultural Hoeori Inc., the potato is spiral cut, lightly battered and fried, then dipped in a powdered flavoring of your choice all while being presented on a long wooden skewer. After all, who doesn’t love food on a stick… For this reason it makes our honorable mention list at number 6.
For more information, please check out the following link: https://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Culture/view?articleId=186701#:~:text=According%20to%20ancient%20historical%20documents,originated%20from%20China’s%20Hangzhou%20region.
What is Your Favorite Street Food?
If you like the post, please hit like and enter your email below to subscribe. In the comments below, please tell us what your favorite street food is where you live… I can’t wait to read all about it in the comments. As always, thanks again and let’s find new ways to make the most out of life’s everyday moments!!!!