Have you had a chance to try Korean winter foods?
The Korean winter gets very cold, so staying in indoors is the way to go! Thankfully, that leaves plenty of time for cooking.
In order to make the winter more comfortable, Koreans have many tasty snacks and dishes that they like to eat during these cold few months.
We’ll fill you in so you can give some of these a try!
Note: If you can’t read the Korean alphabet yet, you can download a free guide to learn in 60 minutes here.
Winter Snacks & Street Food
Korean Winter Food #1: 호떡(hotteok)
Hot, sweet, and gooey inside, Hotteok is the perfect winter comfort snack. It tastes a little bit like a donut, with a syrupy inside and an outside covered in sugar. When you buy it, it is nice and hot so it is a great food for those cold winter months.
Korean Winter Food #2: 봉어빵 (bongeo bbang)
This snack gets its name, ‘fish bread’, from the shape of the presses used to make it. The goldfish shaped pastry hides a red bean paste center. This snack is sometimes called 잉어빵 (ing-eo bbang) and is usually sold in groups of three.
The identical shape of each snack has led to the word 봉어빵 (bong-oe-bbang) being used as a slang expression meaning ‘exactly alike’.
Korean Winter Food #3: 군밤(gunbap) & 군고구마 (gun goguma)
These simple snacks are simply roasted chestnuts or sweet potatoes. Both are warm and sweet, making them a popular winter snack.
Korean Winter Food #4: 떡볶이(ttokpokki)
These spicy rice-cakes are one of the most well-known snacks in Korea. They are popular throughout the year, but are eaten more often in the winter months.
If you want to try ttokpokki with a twist, head to Tongil Market (Just west of Gyeongbuk Palace) and try some fried ttokpokki.
Korean Winter Food #5: 찰옥수수 (chan oksusu)
When it gets really cold in Korea, you’ll need to wear gloves. In addition to the gloves, Koreans often buy ‘hot packs’ which they hold in order to keep their hands warm.
A natural alternative to using ‘hot packs’ is to buy some steamed corn and hold it to warm up your hands. You can then eat it afterwards!
Korean Winter Food #6: 호두과자 (hodu gwaja)
A staple of truck stops around Korea, these warm snacks contain walnuts and red bean paste. They are very popular with people traveling long journeys.
If you aren’t planning any trips this winter then don’t worry. They are sold on the streets of Seoul, too!
Korean Winter Food #7: 죽 (juk)
No, this isn’t an article about Scottish oats. Korea has its own version of porridge, too.
Korean rice porridge, or ‘juk’, is great at warming you up in winter. Red bean porridge is another winter favorite among Koreans.
Korean Winter Food #8: 만두국(manduguk) & 떡국(ddeokguk)
These two soups are often eaten during the cold winter months. Like porridge, they are extremely filling!
Mandu-guk contains dumplings whereas ddok-guk is full of rice-cakes. If you can’t decide between the two, then you can sit on the fence and order 떡만두국(ddok-mandu-guk). It has both dumplings and rice-cakes in it.
Korean Winter Food #9: 오곡밥(ogokbap)
Are you getting your five-a-day? This simple dish is made from five different types of rice. The different flavors of each variety of rice make it interesting to eat on its own, but it is usually enjoyed as part of a meal.
Now that you know more about Korean winter foods, you can give them a try! Do you have a favorite Korean winter food?
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