Street FOOD with KIDS in Busan
Updated: Feb 17
There is far more to Korean food than just spicy kimchi and BBQ. And what better way to expand your Korean palate than to sample some fine street food! You don't have to go far to find it...just follow the yummy smells down the nearest alley, by the subway stations or better yet, check out the busy, local markets.
From seafood to sweet treats, the street food scene here in Busan is incredible. There is such an overwhelming variety that it's hard to know where to start, but for sure there is a little something for everyone...even for those darn picky kids (ours included).
You can find these yummy, fish-shaped pastries filled with sweet red bean just about anywhere. They make them fresh using a large cast iron appliance with multiple fish-shaped molds. You can find different varieties of fillings and shapes. They are cheap, surprisingly filling and kid-friendly.
Our kids love fish cakes or "odeng" 오뎅, which Busan is known for. On the streets, they are served on a stick with a warm cup of broth, and they are generally not spicy. For more adventurous taste buds, grilled squid or octopus 오징어 is the best with a side of kochujang 고추장 (korean spicy/sweet red pepper paste). For the daring, Anthony Bourdain types, you can even try fresh LIVE octopus. (Try not to let those little tentacles squirm back out of your mouth though)
Korean dumplings are so delicious any way you eat them: steamed or fried with lots of different fillings like kimchi, meat, seafood and veggies.
Rice cakes can be prepared either sweet or savory. The spicy, stir-fried version is called tteokbokkie 떡볶이, and is very popular with the locals. The kids prefer sweet rice cakes, or plain grilled on a stick with hotdogs.
Rice wrapped in seaweed with lots of different fillings from veggies, to tuna and cheese. Probably our favorite quick snack or lunch.
Lots of varieties but the "Ssiat Hotteok" 씨앗호떡 is the Busan specialty. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, it has honey, sugar , nuts and seeds tucked in the pocket of a round, deep-fried pancake.
This is a japanese dessert but seen in touristy parts of Korea as well. It's basically a fancy jello-like treat served on a bamboo boat plate with soy bean powder and flavoured syrup of your choice. We found this place at Gamcheon Cultural Village. It's one of those things that looks better than it tastes, but the kids still gobbled it all up in seconds.
CHAPSSAL DONUTS 찹쌀도넛
There are lots of varieties of these lightly sweetened donuts made with glutinous rice flour. These chewy balls are plain or filled with sweet red beans. Owen's favorite is the "Chapssal Kkwabaegi" 찹쌀꽈배기 which are twisted donuts with an amazing texture. They may look familiar, but they do not taste at all like the donuts back home! Especially good when made fresh and piping hot.
For something less traditional, they have EGG BREAD 계란빵 , plain or with cheese, sausage, bacon, chicken or shrimp. A filling breakfast on the go.
And if you are wondering if it's safe to eat the street food in Korea....absolutely. Like anything else, use your common sense. If something isn't freshly made and it looks like it has been sitting for a while with no customers in sight, obviously reconsider. Otherwise, don't let the idea of eating from the streets turn you off or you will be missing out on some delicious, cheap food. We sure filled up our bellies from the streets of Busan and we look forward to more street food sampling as we continue on traveling!