Seoul Street Food: What to Eat in the City’s Markets

We went to Gwangjang and Myeongdong Markets to eat the best Korean street food and put together this guide to help you decide what to eat in Seoul’s night markets!

Seoul Street Food at Myeongdong

There is no better experience than getting to know the culture by eating the local cuisine. So while visiting Seoul our favorite activity was trying the local street food!

There is no shortage of street food all over Seoul—it seems like every other street corner has a stall selling some kind of snack.

However, if you’re looking for a pure street food experience, there’s no better place to go than one of Seoul’s street food markets!

Gwangjang Market

Opened in 1905, Gwangjang Market is one of South Korea’s oldest and largest traditional markets. Gwangjang Market is one of Seoul’s most famous markets and offers a blend of tradition, local flavors, and unique experiences that draw both locals and tourists alike.

One cool thing about Gwangjang is that you can have an entire meal at one stall without even going to the others! This exciting experience allowed us to eat a hot meal alongside locals. At one stall, we sat next to an older Korean man enjoying a hot meal and drinking soju. We couldn’t communicate well but his vibe was welcoming. At this moment, we knew we were in the right place.

Fortunately for us, our accommodation was across the street from Gwangjang Market which allowed us to eat our favorite foods over and over again!

We were so happy to stay across the street because this market had many stalls that functioned more like a restaurant than a single-item finger food, unlike other street food markets in Seoul.

Mung Bean Pancake ‘Bindaetteok’

Frying mung bean pancake bindaetteok in Gwangjang Market

This deep-fried savory pancake was the perfect on-the-go breakfast.

We tried both the pork and mung bean versions. We were not fans of the mung bean but the pork bindaetteok was so tasty!

The pork bindaetteok is pretty much a pork patty mixed with some vegetables, it is so juicy and tasty. Certainly not healthy but we were so hooked—we had one nearly every day!

Sweet Korean Pancake ‘Hotteok’

Freshly made hotteok in Gwangjang Market
  • 💸 Price: ₩2000

We could not get enough of these, so much so that it became a nightly ritual before bed while we were in Seoul.

Consisting of a deep-fried pancake with brown sugar syrup filling, this scrumptious treat made for the perfect end to our day!

There is even an option to get your hotteok coated in cheese powder, which adds not-so-subtle savory flavor to your delicious dessert. We tried the cheese powder once, but we preferred the original.

Spicy Rice Cakes ‘Tteokbokki’

Tteokbokki in Gwangjang Market in Seoul
  • 💸 Price: ₩3000

On pretty much every other corner in Seoul, you will find this Korean street food turned comfort food. Heck! You can even find it in H-Mart in the United States.

These cylindrical chewy rice cakes are covered in a red chili sauce (gochujang sauce) and commonly served with fish cake and green onion. The perfect carby snack to compliment your meat skewers.

Fresh Fruit Smoothie

Fresh fruits in Gwangjang Marketplace
  • 💸 Price: ₩5000

What we love about Korea is there is no shortage of fruits and veggies!

We were looking for a refreshing snack and low and behold, we found this brilliant stall full of various fresh fruit cups. They offered to blend it for us into a delicious fruit smoothie, and of course, we said yes!

The perfect palette cleanser after a heavy meal.

Best Time to Visit Gwangjang Market:

Gwangjang Market is open daily from 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM. Note that these are all individual vendors with their own hours so if you’re seeking a certain dish, it might be best to check the schedule for that specific stall first.

  • In the morning, there are a limited amount of stalls open. Most stalls are open from lunch until the evening. For us, this meant no hotteok for breakfast but we could have the world-famous Bindaetteok (see below) with fewer lines! If you dislike waiting, morning is the time to go, but you’ll be limited in your food choices.
  • Lunchtime is between the hours of 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and you will see an influx of office workers in the area grabbing a bite to eat.
  • At night time, between the hours of 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM is really when the market comes alive. Something about the darkness outside with the lights illuminating the food, gives it the best sensory overload possible. Local and tourists alike are lining up to get their favorite foods.

Myeongdong Night Market

Myeong Dong Night Market is open daily from 5 pm – 1 am

Myeong Dong Night Market is the perfect place to get your feet wet with Korean Street Food. This market not only has amazing food but is also home to world-class shopping. Which means fun for the whole family!

What we specifically enjoyed about this market, was most stalls served small single-finger foods so you can easily try a variety of items in one visit. It’s also very spacious and modern, meaning no wild smells for you picky eaters!

Tornado Potato ‘Hweori Gamja

Tornado Potato Hweori Gamja in 
Myeongdong market
  • 💸 Price: ₩4000

At first, we avoided this fried potato dish because it looked so similar to what you would find at a carnival or street fair back in the United States. But at the last minute, we decided to give it a try, and boy were we pleasantly surprised!

The flavors were unlike anything we’d tasted before – sweet yet savory and with a delicious cheese topping that kept us eating. The seasoning was truly top-tier. The potato was also perfectly fried, with a crispy outer shell and ever-so-soft inside.

Egg Bread ‘Gyeran-ppang’

Egg Bread Gyeran-ppang in Myeongdong Market
  • 💸 Price: ₩2000

While exploring Myeong Dong, you can’t leave without running into an Egg Bread stand – they’re everywhere!

Egg bread, known as “gyeran-ppang” in Korean, is a fusion of Western and Korean culinary styles. The snack consists of a muffin-like bread infused with a rich buttery egg mixture.

This savory snack is not only delicious but also one of the cheapest street foods you will find in the area!

Candied Fruit ‘Tanghulu’

Candied Fruit Tanghulu in Myeongdong Market
  • 💸 Price: ₩5000

This simple yet delicious treat has captured the hearts of many all over Asia.

Tanghulu consists of fresh fruit coated in a sugary syrup that is hardened to a crisp. Some common fruits used are strawberries, grapes, and our personal favorite, tangerines.

What makes Tanghulu so special? Once you bite into it, you’ll hear the sound right away. The hardened crust makes for quite the ASMR experience.

One word of caution: If the coating is too thick, it could be hazardous (think glass).

Dragon’s Beard Candy / Honey Skein ‘Kkul-tarae’

This eye-catching dessert has a unique crafting process which is an absolute joy to watch. The outer shell is made of sugar, maltose syrup, and rice flour. Then with steady handwork, the mixture is crafted into thousands of thin strands.

The inside filling is a blend of crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. The inside is crunchy and the outside feels delicate and overall not-to-sweet!

It was one of the more expensive items you could buy at Myeong Dong Market BUT seeing all the handwork needed, we understand why!

Skewered Meats ‘Ddakkochi’

skewered meats ddakkochi myeongdong market
  • 💸 Price: ₩7000

The term ‘Ddakkochi’ refers to chicken skewers. But in reality, you will find a variety of meats in the market.

Skewered meats are a staple in Korean street food – they are delicious, juicy, and full of protein!

Below are some images of the different types of skewered meats you can find at Myeongdong Market.

Korean Sushi ‘Gimbap or Kimbap’

Gimbap or Kimbap is the Korean version of Japanese sushi packed with fresh vegetables and sometimes even meat.

Popular fillings include crunchy radish, thinly sliced carrot, cucumber, spinach, fishcake, spam, sesame seeds, and egg, in a bed of sesame oil-seasoned rice wrapped in seaweed.

This dish is perfect for a healthy grab-and-go meal – you can find it all over Korea, even in convenience stores!

Dumplings ‘Mandoo’

If there is one universal food that we never say no to, it’s dumplings. We find them to always be delicious no matter what country we’re in and Korea’s version did not disappoint.

These deep-fried dumplings are often filled with juicy pork, green onion, and glass noodles and served with a vinegar soy sauce for dipping. Mandoo is now a must-order side dish wherever we go!

Watch our video to see our experience going to Gwangjang Market and Myeongdong Market!

Other Street Food Markets in Seoul

While the options for street food in Seoul feel endless, here are some of the other notable ones:

  • Dongdaemun Night Market: Dongdaemun is famous for its fashion wholesalers but did you know there is a street market food scene as well?
  • Namdaemun Market: Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest markets in Korea, opened during the Joseon period in 1414.
  • Tongin Traditional Market: Opened in 1941, originally catered to local needs. This market is home to 75 businesses, including sit-down restaurants, street food, and stores.
  • Mangwon Market: This is a relatively small market when compared to Gwangjang Market, which makes it better for those who like to avoid crowds.
  • Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market: Night market along the Han River with performances and movies at night.

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