Korea’s massive reputation as a haven for food lovers has transgressed all boundaries and today, unsurprisingly, more and more tourists travelling to the country are lured by its reputation for delightful cuisine. So what is the best way to really indulge in a foodie tour of the country? Simple really, you will need to visit the places which offer the best street foods in the country. To help visitors like you really get a taste of Korea, the Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MOCT) and Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) have zeroed in on five streets which can offer visitors an authentic taste of the country’s best foods and absorb this indispensable aspect of the country’s culture.
For those who love Topokki (Spicy Rice Cake) Seoul’s Topokki Street in Sindang-dong is a must visit. Topokki is one of the most sought after street foods in Korea. It is prepared by stir frying or boiling seasoned cylinder shaped rice cakes in a very spicy sauce. Sindang-dong has the largest number of eateries in Korea offering Topokki.
DongdaemunShoppingTown in Seoul which is very close to Sindang-dong is the largest shopping area in the city. It offers a number of outlets selling the latest in fashion and accessories, where travellers can shop literally for 24 hours a day. The proximity to Seoul’s Topokki Street is heart-warming as one can quickly pack some Topokki if hungry after a day of shopping.
Chodang Tofu Street is a must visit if you’re a big fan of Tofu. Tofu is yet another favourite food of the Koreans and what better way to enjoy it in a surrounding that will simply take your breath away. The Chodang Tofu Street is located in a small yet beautiful village surrounded by a 500 year old forest of pine trees near the city of Gangneung. This is the best place to enjoy some exquisite Tofu prepared in the traditional way. Seawater taken from the nearby EastSea is used which makes the Tofu extremely soft and very tasty when compared to any other Tofu made anywhere in the country. Incidentally Chodang Tofu has a long history dating back more than 400 years.
Chueotang (Korean fish soup) is a favourite stamina food of the Koreans and if you want to taste the most authentic Chueotang than Chueotang Street in Namwon is the best place to go. This soup rich in minerals and calcium is made by boiling loach fish. It lives in the fresh, clean waters of the grassy rice paddies and streams. Chueotang is best made during Autumn when the loach fish is in its prime condition. Cooked with soybean paste, cabbage leaves and perilla seeds, Chueotang tastes like heaven.
Namwon is also famous for the JirisanNational Park, the most beautiful of all national parks in the country. Namwon is located just at the entrance of this national park. Hikers and travellers can enjoy a quiet hike in one of the many trails inside the park. Namwon is also the place where the sad event of Chunhyang and Lee Doryeong took place, the Korean equivalent of Romeo & Juliet.
If tripe dishes are what interests you then Anjirang Gopchang Street in Daegu is a must visit for you. The process of preparing tripe, which is rich in iron and protein and low in cholesterol, is to either grill it on BBQ or made into casseroles / stews. It is enjoyed together with Korean wine such as Soju. The Anjirang Gopchang Street in Daegu comes alive every night with a teeming population of locals and foreigners digging in to enjoy the street food varieties.
One thing that Korea has by virtue of being surrounded by oceans is an abundant supply of fresh seafood and one of the major delicacies in Korea is raw fish. If you fancy raw fish then the Millak-Dong Raw Fish Street in GwangalliBeach in the port city of Busan is where you would find the freshest of all in the whole of Korea. The best way to enjoy your fresh raw fish is to visit the direct sales fish market and choose your fish. If you prefer your fish turned into fresh sashimi, just order and it will be done in minutes. On the contrary you could have a full course meal with your fish cooked in a spicy seafood soup. If you would rather have a quiet snack then take your fresh sashimi to the GwangalliBeach and enjoy it amidst nature.
Busan has one of the largest shopping centres in Asia known as the ‘CentumCity’. It is a one of the largest shopping malls you will ever come across, large enough to get lost and shop for a week.
If you’re a genuine foodie at heart, then there are many ways to enjoy the number of food specialties that Korea has to offer. Korea Tourism offers a free ‘Korean Cuisine – Refresh your Senses’ booklet which can be your doorway to the wonderful world of Korean cuisine. The book also offers recipes which you could try at home. To get your free copy simply email [email protected]