Tteok-Manduguk (rice cake-dumpling soup) is a traditional winter food that warms both the body and mind, and is enjoyed by almost all Koreans during the cold winter. Dumplings are prepared and is also consisted of soft rice cakes, which is then bathed in a garlic-savory broth with spring onions and minced beef. This is traditionally served on New Year’s Day which is usually dated in January or February (coldest months out of the year!).
Odeng (or eomuk) can be found easily anywhere in the city, with it being sold as street food at food tents, and as a soup dish at eateries. Odeng are essentially fish cakes in a yellowish-brown colour, often eaten on skewers. They are served piping hot and sometimes with a cup of salty broth flavoured with radishes and kelp. If you ask me, the best way to enjoy odeng would be to eat them whilst you are standing at a food tent, where you are not entirely sheltered from the wind so you still feel slightly cold, it makes an unforgettable experience!
Another traditional Korean winter snack is Bungeoppang, and there is nothing like having a bite of this delicious pastry on a freezing cold day. The reason this Korean winter snack is an all the time favorite for freezing students is because of its cheap price and steaming insides.
For those walking to school in negative degree weather, something as simple as warm and gooey pat inside can do wonders for warming you for an extremely cheap price. Otherwise, the pastry is made into the shape of a goldfish and filled with sweet red bean paste and made on the spot. You can easily find a Bungeoppang snack vendor that sells a pack of three Bungeoppangs for 1,000 won. That is a steal!
If you are looking to indulge in something less sweet, go the spicy route with ttokpokki. These spicy rice-cakes are one of the most well-known snacks in Korea, and for good reason. They are popular throughout the year, but are eaten more often in the winter months, maybe because spicy snacks can be known to make you sweat, so the added spice combats the chill? Makes sense to me!
If you want to try ttokpokki with a twist, head to Tongil Market (Just west of Gyeongbuk Palace) and try some fried ttokpokki, because who does not love their favorite snack fried? Ttokpokki is easy to come by, so make sure to add it to your list of ‘must try’ winter foods while you are in Korea.
Gyeran Bbang is a small steamed bread with a whole egg inside. They come with toppings like seeds, cheese, and diced ham. You will find them at many street food carts (you will not miss them at all in Myeong-dong) so there is no excuse not to indulge in one. Its fluffy texture coupled with sweet yet savoury taste makes it a wonderful winter snack.
And like me, you might not be able to stop once you start! But do not get too addicted, leave some space in your tummy for the other foods on the list.