Another surprise to us during our two days in Busan was the incredible array of street food on offer!
How can you say no to a foot long waffle stacked full of cream and chocolate sprinkles?!
For breakfast one morning we went traditional and found a 24 hour abalone store. For myself I had an abalone and dumpling soup, while Karen had the abalone porridge (congee)!
Busan is actually home to the world’s largest department store ‘Shinsegae Centum City’. We spent a good few hours wandering the floors and riding the escalators. I guess once you’ve seen one department store you’ve seen them all, but the food court in particular offered great value and variety. We didn’t have time on Jeju Island to visit the O’sulloc Tea plantation, so we decided to try their cake and icecream from their Shinsegae outlet instead. Green tea can be very hit or miss. Very much a hit in this instance!
The best part of our short stay was an evening spent wandering the streets of Gwangbokdong, taking the plunge and trying all manner of weird and wonderful street food!
Kimbap is the Korean version of sushi. The ones below were made from scratch from an assortment of ingredients that you could select yourself. I can’t recall the exact price, but I do know they were outrageously cheap!
I wish I could remember what this dish was called..can anyone help? The shop keeper was a good sort. She thought it was hilarious that I knew the Korean word for ‘delicious’!
Edit: One of our readers, Sarah, has helped us out with this. They are a flat dumpling called Nap Jak Mandoo. Thanks Sarah!
After the sensational sundae experience we had in Sokcho earlier in the holiday, we really should have stopped right there! But no, when the stomach calls we listen. In this case the voices led us astray. A pale imitation. The tteokbokki was fine (it’s pretty hard to get that wrong), but the blood sausage left a lot to be desired…
The next three photos show my favourite street food from the whole holiday! The locals call them ssiat hotteok or ssiat hoddeok; I prefer to call them heroin cakes because of their insanely addictive nature!!
Take a steaming hot and pillow-soft doughnut, slice it sideways and stuff it full of nuts, sunflower seeds (‘ssiat’ = seed…a local specialty), brown sugar, cinnamon and honey and you’ve got the perfect treat for a chilly winter’s morning! Actually, make that the perfect treat any time!!
Don’t let the long line at the stall put you off. The production line is a prime example of South Korean ‘lean’ engineering! You might be 20 people back, but within a few minutes you’ll be circling around to the front to take receipt of a tiny slice of heaven!
Unfortunately we couldn’t track down Gukje food street which was also in the area, but some random wanderings were interesting nonetheless. Along with the Japanese, the South Koreans would have to be the epitome of the ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos. So much industry during business hours, but once they clock off it’s time to socialise in a BIG way!
To get to Gwangbokdong, take the subway to Jagalchi Station, take Exit 7 to the street and then the first street on your left. Within a minute or two you’ll find yourself surrounded by food stalls to your left and right!
Scratch the surface and you could be excused for writing off Busan as a soulless steel jungle. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their hospitality and authenticity! Sure, there will be tourists aplenty, but in South Korea it doesn’t much to step off the beaten track and find yourself in a whole new world. And why wouldn’t you? Isn’t that the point of travel?!