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Street foods are aplenty in Seoul and I would be crazy not try anything since we were staying right in Myeongdong, where food carts line up the streets well into the night. Just a heads up though, this ain’t a ‘must-try’ post but rather just my honest experience of the street food scene in Seoul, Myeongdong in particular. And even though I knew that I would be writing a blog post about Seoul’s street food, I wasn’t bent on trying anything and everything. I always like getting my craving satisfied AND my money’s worth whenever we eat out.
With that said, there were so many street foods to choose from. Some very inventive and some just too expensive to be even called street food. Myeongdong is not the only place selling street food though. You can pretty much enjoy your street food fix at any outdoor market and for a cheaper price.
But because we were traveling with our little girl, convenience was our priority and even though we visited Namdaemun and Dongdaemun Market, it wasn’t as inviting as Myeongdong’s organized setup. We chose to do it as a full activity in Myeongdong instead.
But enough talk, let’s go and see what’s cookin’!
Our bodies were still tired from our early morning flight from Guam and from all the walking at Bukchon Hanok Village and Insadong. But as soon as we woke up from our nap, we stepped out of K-Guesthouse Myeongdong 3 and wandered the busy streets of Myeongdong.
Note: The food featured here were from two different days (Day 1 and Day 3).
Street food carts in Myeongdong usually start their setup around 3-ish in the afternoon but on weekends, they open about an hour early. It’s a different feel when you walk the streets before the stalls are up, I prefer to do my shopping when it’s not yet that crowded.
Suggested Tour: Korean Street Food and BBQ Tour
The first thing that caught our attention was the Shrimp King stall because my husband is a big shrimp-eater.
The 6-pc Grilled Shrimp ₩6,000 ($5.32) was quite expensive, I can already buy a pound of shrimp for the same price back home. But this was street food on foreign land in an area targeting tourists so we went ahead and tried one!
Is it worth it? I’m 50/50 on this one because we like eating shrimp so we didn’t mind the cost. It was fresh but it tasted a little bland. I was expecting it to be buttery and tasty! And although it appeared that the food stall guy was “grilling” the shrimp, it was not hot when he handed it over to us.
Also, the price is not that bad compared to the Grilled Lobster Tail on one of the other food carts. They were selling it for ₩15,000 ($13.32) which is pretty steep considering that it’s quite a small serving and that we would have to eat it standing up on the side of the street. So no, not for me. I’d rather pay more in a sit-down restaurant to properly enjoy my meal.
There were some Cheesy Scallops ₩10,000 ($8.88) as well but it seems to me that the serving size was much smaller compared to what I saw from other travel blogs/videos. Maybe it’s expensive during the summer?
These were some dried and grilled octopus, and conch but nobody’s interested so we skipped that as well. I was looking for some deep-fried squid though but never saw any.
To keep our little one busy and happy, we bought her this Oreo Churro ₩3,500 ($3.11). It was just okay, a bit hard to bite into but my daughter happily nibbled on it.
These Dakkochi or Chicken Skewers ₩4,000 ($3.55) were my favorite real street food in Seoul. It’s tasty and tender, great serving size and at a reasonable price.
I know it says ₩3,000 on their signage but I’m certain I paid ₩4,000 for a stick.
These teas, juices and fruit vinegar look colorful and I like the bottles that they come with but I never really tried them so I can’t say anything more than that. Might be nice to get them as a gift perhaps?
Fruit cups ₩4,000 ($3.55) of cherry, strawberry, honeydew, watermelon, raspberry and pineapple were also being sold in case you’re looking for a dessert alternative. You can eat it as is or have it blended into a juice instead. The packs of strawberries are sold somewhere around ₩7,000-₩10,000.
One of the popular street foods you can find in Seoul is the Twist or Tornado Potato ₩4,000 ($3.55). It’s basically a spiral-cut whole potato, deep-fried and coated with your choice of flavoring (cheese, sour cream or barbeque). It’s like skewered potato chips. A unique way to sell fried potatoes so plus points for that!
We tried this Pork Belly Yaki Noodles ₩5,000 ($4.44) on our last night while my husband and I discuss where we want to go to next. The lady started heating up a huge serving of the noodles and veggies and I thought that this would probably be the most generous serving of street food we’ll ever have. But lo and behold, she brought out a small noodle bowl and took just a portion of the noodles she re-heated. She then carefully placed small pieces of pork belly on top of the bowl.
To be fair though, the serving size is good enough for one person. Plus points too for having a table and stools on the stall.
We were looking for something that my daughter can snack on and saw these syrup-coated Sweet Potatoes. We skipped this after learning that they are selling a small cup for ₩5,000 ($4.44).
My husband has been eyeing this Beefsteak ₩7,000 ($6.21) since Day 1 so it was definitely on our must-try list. The sample on display was definitely misleading because in reality we were given a much smaller portion. But it tasted great! The only drawback was the sauce they poured into the steak and stir-fried veggies, it was too much that the steak and veggies drowned in the sauce. It’s already great as it is. You can ask them to skip that and just pour the sauce yourself if you want to so you can control the amount.
Gyeran-ppang or Egg bread ₩1,500 ($1.33) is a popular Korean street food. It’s sweet and pancake-fluffy like bread with a whole egg on top. This is a perfect brunch or snack food on a cold day. I didn’t see anyone else selling Gyeran-ppang at the other markets but I know that it’s the price is normally ₩1,000 so paying ₩1,500 is not bad at all!
For dessert, we enjoyed this really long Soft-Serve Ice Cream ₩2,000 ($1.77). It was a nice sweet ending to a night out in Myeongdong!
Some food stalls are open up until midnight or until they are sold out of food. There are still so much more being sold like Gimbap, Spicy Rice Cakes (TTeokbokki), Odeng and Korean Fried Chicken coated in sticky sauce (Yangnyeom Tongdak).
This is a Fried Mandou with Vegetable Filling ₩1,000 ($0.89) that we bought from a mandou stall at Namdaemun Market. At first, I thought it was hotteok but when I bit into it, it was actually fried dumpling wrapper and hotteok’s dough is more pancake-like. It was quite oily and I didn’t really enjoy it much.
There are definite hits and some misses. Truth be told, the street food in Myeongdong are over-priced and sometimes over-rated. It’s pretty obvious why since the Myeongdong crowd are mostly tourists. There are still so many other foods that they were selling that I didn’t try anymore because I felt that it was not worth buying.
But again, we are in Seoul for the experience more than anything else. It was fun to roam the streets of Seoul while eating, drinking and enjoying the late afternoon to the night scene. Even though we were hungry, we held back a little because we still want to have a proper dinner and indulge ourselves with more yummy Korean food.
Over-rated or not, this is definitely still a must-try activity for new or old visitors of Seoul. I will always have room for Korean street food, and who knows what new trend will welcome us the next time we visit.
Check out the rest of my trip using the links below. I have also listed some Seoul Travel Essentials you can book in advance for a better travel experience.
4G Wifi Rental (Airport Pick up)
Seoul Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour
AREX Incheon Airport Express Train to Seoul Station (One Way)
Discover Seoul Pass
T-Money Card (Pre-loaded with KRW5,000)
Korean Rail Pass
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Seoul Travel Diary Series:
Seoul in 7 Days: An Itinerary for First Time Visitors
K-Guesthouse Myeongdong 3 Review
Korean Skincare Shopping Haul
Bukchon Hanok Village and Insadong
N Seoul Tower
Everland Theme Park
Namdaemun Market and Kalguksu Alley
Gyeongbokgung Palace and National Folk Museum of Korea
Eland Han River Cruise
Dongdaemun Toy Market
30 Best Activities to do in Seoul with Kids
Photo Gallery: Seoul, South Korea