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Your Guide to Korean Street Food + NYC, LA & Chicago Must-Tries!

by Jay Kang on Apr 05, 2024

Your Guide to Korean Street Food + NYC, LA & Chicago Must-Tries!
Hey foodies! Ever scrolled through Instagram and gotten major food envy from all those popping Korean street eats?
Yeah, me too. So, buckle up for a crash course in some seriously delicious Korean street food!

1. Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes):
Think chewy rice cakes swimming in a sweet and spicy gochujang sauce (think Korean sriracha).
These bad boys are like the mac and cheese of Korea - pure comfort food!
These days, you can find them in all sorts of crazy flavors, from creamy cheese to Rosé Tteokbokki, inspired by the creamy tomato pasta sauce but with a kick of gochujang for a unique twist.
Pro Tip: In Korea, tteokbokki is a beloved street food often enjoyed alongside Korean Fried Chicken (KFC).  Think super crispy, juicy chicken with bold flavors that perfectly complement the chewy rice cakes and spicy sauce of tteokbokki.

One iconic pairing is Kyochon's Honey Chicken with Yup Dduk's tteokbokki. Yup Dduk, a popular Korean restaurant chain known for their super spicy take on tteokbokki, elevates this classic combo to a whole new level. While the original Yup Dduk locations were concentrated in the NYC area, the good news is they've expanded! Yup Dduk even has a location in LA  -  so West Coast foodies can now experience this legendary flavor combination for themselves.

2. Korean Hot Dogs (Corn Dogs?! Not Quite!):
Forget your ballpark corn dog, these Korean hot dogs are on a whole other level. They're dipped in a batter that gets fried up super crispy, and come in all sorts of varieties - potato hot dogs are a major crowd-pleaser.

Fun Fact: Turns out, they're not actually called corn dogs in Korea. In fact, if you order a "corn dog" there, you might get some confused stares. Just call them hot dogs to be safe and snag your cheesy, crispy goodness!

Hungry in the US? Seoul Stick in Chicago does a banging Korean hot dog, just like the ones you get in Korea!
Pro Tip: Cut it up and dip it in your leftover tteokbokki sauce for an extra flavor explosion.

3. Kimbap (Korean Seaweed Rice Rolls):
Think of kimbap as Korea's answer to sushi, but wrapped in seaweed and way more customizable. Filled with rice, veggies, and sometimes meat or fish, it's a super affordable, healthy, and delicious grab-and-go option.

These days, they're getting fancy with high-quality ingredients like avocado and salmon.
Fun Fact: Did you know kimbap and tteokbokki are the ultimate BFFs? Perfect for sharing with your bestie! Speaking of BFFs, Trader Joe's has these frozen kimbap things called "K-Frozen Kimbap" that are apparently the hot new item. Might be worth checking out!
4. Bungeoppang (Fish-Shaped Pastries):
This adorable fish-shaped pastry is a winter must-have. They come filled with sweet red bean paste or creamy custard, and the debate rages on in Korea - red bean or custard? Which team are you on?
Bonus: Bungeoppang these days come in all sorts of crazy flavors, from pizza to kimchi!

Pro Tip: Bungeoppang is best enjoyed hot off the griddle. Look for street vendors with these cuties cooking up during the winter months if you go to Korea.

5. Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancake):
Imagine a crispy pancake filled with gooey brown sugar filling. That's hotteok! These sweet treats are another winter favorite, perfect for warming you up from the inside out. Just like bungeoppang, hotteok comes in all sorts of fun flavors these days, from green tea to cheese!

So there you have it! A taste of some of the most popular Korean street foods.  Next time you're feeling adventurous, hit up your local Korean restaurant or grocery store and see what you can find.  Your tastebuds will thank you!

What's your favorite Korean street food? Is there a must-try dish you'd recommend to fellow foodies? Spill the beans (or should we say, spill the gochujang?) in the comments below!

Here's the sweet part: We're giving away a special goodie bag to a lucky commenter! Just tell us about your most memorable Korean street food experience (or the experience you're DYING to have) for a chance to win. Good luck and happy eating!

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