Korea’s Unique Street Foods in Hongdae


Korea’s Unique Street Foods in Hongdae

Korea’s Unique Street Foods in HongdaePhoto credit: Korea Tourism Organization

In Korea, university towns are always full of energy and excitement. One of Korea’s most well-known campus towns is the Hongik University Station (Seoul Subway Line 2) area, often referred to as the street of youth. There are numerous clubs that are popular among young Koreans and a variety of street performances taking place every day. The bustling streets are flanked by clothing shops selling original items, as well as inexpensive yet tasty restaurants for students with a tight budget. In particular, the Hongdae (Hongik University) area is famous for its unique street food. Read on to take a look at some of the popular kinds of street food sold at the food alley near Exit 9 of Hongik University Station, where many of the area’s great restaurants are clustered together.

Waffle: Big in Name, Taste, and Size

King Kong Waffle takes its name from the enormous size of its waffles. It has its main store in Hongdae with other branches found in various locations, including the Konkuk University and Sungshin Women’s University areas. The menu offers a wide range of selections, including a cheese waffle generously covered in mozzarella cheese, a whipped cream waffle, the King Kong Waffle, a mini waffle, and more. The most popular menu item is the Mayak Waffle, where “mayak” is a Korean word for drugs. It is made by sprinkling sugar powder on a fresh-baked waffle, then placing a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream with whipped cream over it, and finishing it off with 4 flavors of syrup and colorful crunchy bits.

These waffles are special not only because of their enormous sizes, but also because they are served on a skewer, making them perfectly tailored to Korean street food. Skewered dishes sold on the street are easy and convenient to eat in bites without getting one’s hands dirty. As the waffles are surprisingly huge, you should be careful not to let it fall off the skewer when you take a bite.

  • ☞Location: Seogyo Plaza 1st floor, 357-1 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  • ☞Menu and price: mini waffle 1,500 won, whipped cream waffle 2,500 won, cheese waffle 3,000 won, mayak waffle 3,000 won
  • ☞Hours: 12:00 – 23:00

Ice Cream Bungeoppang

Bungeoppang is one of the most traditional Korean winter street snacks. It is made by pouring flour dough into the bungeo (carp)-shaped black cast iron mold and filling it with red bean paste before baking it. Bungeoppangs are tasty at a very affordable price, so it has always been on Korea’s favorite winter snack list. Bungeoppangs are traditionally filled with red bean paste, but other types of fillings have recently gained popularity, such as custard cream, chocolate, sweet potato paste, and more. At ‘Abung’ (short for ice cream bungeoppang) in Hongdae, you can try a uniquely upgraded version of the traditional bungeoppang. Customers can choose to add either red bean paste or custard cream fillings into a fresh-baked bungeoppang through its open mouth. The rest of the hollow inside is then filled to the max with yogurt ice cream, then chocolate syrup is drizzled on top before it is finished by being lanced onto a fruit fondue skewer made with pineapples, grapes, and other fruits. The unique taste and appearance of a bungeoppang stuffed with yogurt ice cream with a choice of red bean paste or custard cream fillings and the chocolate-covered fruit fondue skewer bring the eating experience to a whole new level.

  • ☞Location: 365-19 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  • ☞Menu and price: ice cream bungeoppang 3,000 won, fruit fondue 1,000 won
  • ☞Hours: 11:00 – 21:00

Cheese-covered Sweet and Sour Chicken

Dakgangjeong is a popular street food in Korea made by deep frying bite-sized, boneless chicken pieces and simmering them down with sweet and sour marinade. ‘Hong cup’ serves dakgangjeong in paper cups, and the price and amount vary according to the size of the cups (small, medium, large, and jumbo). Once customers choose a cup size, chicken pieces are fried and mixed with marinade right on the spot. ‘Hong cup’ also adds potatoes and rice cakes to chicken, so it’s fun to uncover these hidden delicacies underneath dakgangjeong. In particular, the cheese dakgangjeong, which has a copious amount of cheese topping, is the most popular menu item here. The rich cheese taste together with the sweet and sour marinade of dakgangjeong creates a special taste.

  • ☞Location: 365-16, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  • ☞Menu and price: sweet and sour chicken 2,500 – 10,000 won, cheese sweet and sour chicken 3,000 – 11,500 won, cup beer 2,000 won
  • ☞Hours: 12:00 – 02:00

Whole Fried Squid ‘Ozzang’

‘Ozzang’ is skewered squid that is deep fried whole. In Korea, one can easily find street stalls selling deep-fried squid, but none that fries a squid whole like Ozzang. With this novel attempt, Ozzang has become a widely popular street food of Hongdae that is enjoyed by locals and international tourists alike for its rare deep-frying technique and finished look.

Clean taste and crispiness is guaranteed since they make sure to change the oil once or twice a day. Deep-fried squid flavors include plain, spicy, and sweet onion. Plain is the base flavor without the addition of any sauce, while the spicy and sweet onion flavors are the most popular with their special powdered spices. As Ozzang on its own can be a little greasy, it is a good idea to wash them down with a beer or a soft drink.

  • ☞Location: 366-12, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  • ☞Menu and price: plain 6,000 won, spicy 7,000 won, sweet onion 7,000 won

Korean-style Pancake Hotteok

Hotteok is a Korean-style pancake made by filling wheat or glutinous rice flour dough with brown sugar and frying it in oil. ‘Hotteok-ui-sin (literally meaning God of Hotteok)’ in Hongdae is always packed with people who come to taste its crisp, non-greasy hotteoks. While the shop is famous for its kkul-hotteok, stuffed heavily with sugar, peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sunflower seeds, an even more popular item here is the japchae-hotteok, which is filled with japchae (a traditional Korean dish made by stir-frying glass noodles with various vegetables). Every bite of japchae-hotteok is packed with a pleasant traditional taste of Korea. These hearty hotteoks can make for a convenient meal on a busy day. Prices are 1,000 won for kkul-hotteok and 2,000 won for japchae-hotteok.

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