Korean Street Food: A Seasonal Guide

Korean Street Food: A Seasonal Guide


Korean street food, known for its rich flavors, vibrant colors, unique textures, and amazing taste, is an essential part of South Korea’s culinary landscape. The selection of Korean street food is really big, reflecting the country's rich history and diverse climate. Each season brings its own specialty dishes, making Korean street food a year-round adventure for food lovers. In this blog, we are going to explore the must-try street foods in South Korea, season by season.


Spring ( - Bom) 

Spring in Korea, from March to May, is a time of renewal and fresh beginnings. As the cherry blossoms bloom, the street food stalls also come to life with fresh and vibrant flavors.


Hotteok (호떡)

Hotteok, a sweet Korean pancake, is particularly popular during the early spring when the weather is still cool. These pancakes are filled with a mixture of brown sugar, honey, chopped peanuts, and cinnamon. They are fried until golden brown, creating a crispy exterior and a warm, gooey filling. The combination of the crunchy exterior and the sweet filling is irresistible.


Jjinppang (찐빵)

Jjinppang are steamed buns filled with sweet red bean paste. These soft and fluffy buns are a comforting snack during the early spring months. They are often enjoyed hot, providing a warm treat as the weather transitions from the cold winter.


Twigim (튀김)

Twigim refers to a variety of deep-fried foods, similar to Japanese tempura. Popular twigim flavors include sweet potatoes, squid, and vegetables. They are typically served with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce, adding a tangy flavor that complements the crispy batter. Twigim is a popular street food in spring, offering a satisfying crunch with every bite.


Gimbap (김밥)

Gimbap, the star of Korean street food, is a light and refreshing option perfect for spring picnics under the cherry blossoms. These seaweed rice rolls are filled with a variety of ingredients such as spinach, pickled radish, carrots, and sometimes bulgogi (marinated beef). Gimbap is portable, making it a favorite among Koreans during spring outings.


Summer (여름 - Yeoreum)

Summer in Korea, from June to August, can be quite hot and humid. Street food during this season focuses on refreshing and cooling options that help beat the heat.


Patbingsu (팥빙수)

Patbingsu is an essential summer dessert in Korea. This shaved ice treat is topped with sweet red bean paste, fruits, condensed milk, and sometimes ice cream. The variations are endless, with modern versions including toppings like green tea, mango, and cheesecake. Patbingsu is perfect for cooling down on th hot summer days of Korea.


Eomuk (어묵)

Eomuk, also known as odeng, is a type of fish cake served on skewers. Although it is enjoyed year-round, eomuk is especially popular during the cooler evenings of summer. It is often served in a hot broth, which adds a comforting warmth when the night cools down. Eomuk stalls can be found near beaches and parks, making it a convenient snack for summer outings.


Buchimgae (부침개)

Buchimgae, or Korean pancakes, are savory and typically made with various vegetables, seafood, or kimchi. In summer, they are often served with a refreshing dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, and a hint of chili. The crispiness of buchimgae, combined with the tangy sauce, makes it a delightful summer snack.


Yangnyeom Tongdak (양념 통닭)

Yangnyeom tongdak refers to Korean fried chicken coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. While fried chicken is popular year-round, summer is a great time to enjoy this dish, especially paired with a cold beer, creating the famous chi-maek. The combination of the spicy sauce and the crispy chicken is a crowd-pleaser during summer evenings.


Autumn (가을 - Ga-eul)

Autumn, from September to November, is considered one of the best seasons in Korea due to its mild weather and beautiful foliage. The street food during this season is hearty and makes use of seasonal ingredients.


Gunbam (군밤)

Gunbam, or roasted chestnuts, are a popular autumn snack in Korea. Street vendors roast the chestnuts over open flames, giving them a smoky flavor. The chestnuts are sold in small paper bags, making them a perfect snack to enjoy while walking through the colorful autumn streets of Korea.


Hodugwaja (호두과자)

Hodugwaja are small walnut-shaped pastries filled with red bean paste and a whole walnut. These bite-sized treats are warm and sweet, making them ideal for autumn. They are often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea during the cooler autumn months.


Jwipo (쥐포)

Jwipo is a type of dried fish jerky, typically made from filefish. It is often grilled and brushed with a sweet and savory sauce. The chewy texture and rich flavor of jwipo make it a popular snack during autumn, especially when paired with a cold beer.


Winter (겨울 - Gyeoul)

Winter in Korea, from December to February, is cold and often snowy. The street food during this season is designed to warm you up from the inside out.


Tteokbokki (떡볶이)

Tteokbokki, a beloved Korean street food, is made from chewy rice cakes cooked in a spicy gochujang (Korean chili paste) sauce. This dish is perfect for cold winter days, providing a spicy kick that warms you up. Tteokbokki is often enjoyed with a boiled egg and fish cakes.


Bungeoppang (붕어빵)

While also popular in autumn, bungeoppang becomes way more popular during the winter months. The warm, sweet red bean filling provides a comforting contrast to the cold weather. Other variations of bungeoppang include fillings like custard or chocolate. Do not forget to try this heavenly snack because you cannot buy it in spring or summer.



Gyeranppang (계란빵)

Gyeranppang, or egg bread, is a delightful winter treat that combines a soft, fluffy bread with a whole egg baked inside. This small, oval-shaped bread is often slightly sweet and can sometimes be topped with a sprinkle of cheese, herbs, or even bacon bits. The combination of the warm, slightly sweet bread and the savory egg makes gyeranppang a satisfying snack to enjoy during the cold winter months. It is especially popular in the morning as a quick breakfast option or as a late-night snack to warm up during a chilly evening stroll.



Korean street food offers a rich and diverse culinary experience that changes with the seasons. From the sweet and warming hotteok in the winter to the refreshing patbingsu in the summer, there is always something delicious to try no matter when you visit South Korea. Exploring the seasonal street foods is not just a treat for your taste buds but also a way to experience Korean culture and tradition. Whether you are strolling through the cherry blossoms in spring, enjoying the summer beaches, admiring the fallen leaves of autumn, or confronting the winter chill, Korean street food provides the perfect accompaniment to you in every season. Happy eating!


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Author: Tugba

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