If you thought Korean cuisine was all about kimchi and barbecued meats, get ready to be surprised!
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Let's go on a journey through South Korean homes and the vibrant streets of Seoul, where you’ll discover an incredible variety of flavors crafted with love by the kindest ahjussis and ahjumeonis.
Whether you're an avid K-drama fan, a seasoned foodie, or simply someone looking to explore new and exciting flavors, these must-try Korean snacks (personally handpicked) will definitely impress you and make you dance Gangnam style!
Where to Buy Authentic Korean Snacks? Buy Them Online Or In A Physical Store! 🏪
Want to try some awesome Korean snacks but not sure how to get them in the US? Well, you have four options: hit up physical stores, check out online shops, sign up for a Korean snacks box subscription, or perhaps the best of all, befriend a South Korean!
I mean, seriously, nothing beats a homemade dish made with love. But if that’s not an option, then…
Buy Korean Snacks in H Mart
I really recommend their kimchi fried rice (really flavorful without being very salty), yellowtail in the frozen section (amazing for sashimi and sushi), and their whole collection of kimbaps which you don’t see elsewhere.
If you live in the middle of nowhere, don’t worry! There are many online shops that ship authentic Korean snacks basically anywhere in the world. Try Gmarket, Asian Food Grocer, Seoul Mills and even Amazon (but just so you know, Amazon has a smaller and relatively expensive selection of Korean food based on my experience).
Korean Snack Box Subscription Services
If you’re feeling more adventurous, Korean Snacks Box might be for you! SeoulBox and Munch Addict are just two of the many amazing choices out there. I personally have not tried them, but I’m seriously thinking of giving it a go now.
🍙 Korean Snack You Never Knew You Needed!
Now it’s time to talk about the superstars of this blog, the yummiest, the best: South Korean snacks! Here are my favorite goodies from South Korea that I’m sure you’ll be obsessed with after the first bite.
Traditional Snacks in Korea
1. Jeon (Savory Korean Pancakes)
Jeon is not your ordinary homemade pancake mix recipe; it’s an ultra-savory and healthy Korean pancake dish that holds a special place in the hearts of many Koreans.
Unlike the traditional pancake, Jeon doesn't rely heavily on sugar or sweet toppings. Instead, it bursts with umami and savory goodness. The balance of the freshness of vegetables, the brininess of seafood, and the tang of kimchi with the savory batter is simply breathtaking.
2. Hotteok (Korea’s Sweet Version of Pancakes)
Now, here’s a taste that’s more familiar to us all. The first bite into a freshly-made Hotteok is pure bliss – the warm, syrupy filling oozes out, and the combination of the cinnamon-spiced sugar and crunchy nuts is simply delightful!
3. Songpyeon (Favorite Korean Snack for Chuseok)
Chuseok is a traditional Korean harvest festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (usually falling in September or October). And when it’s Chuseok, expect there's a plate of Songpyeon on the table.
These colorful crescent-shaped rice cakes not only look beautiful but also taste wonderful. Perfect for a majestic evening feast with the family!
4. Gyeongdan (Chewy and Sweet Rice Cake)
Gyeongdan is a traditional dessert also made from glutinous rice flour. Visually, it’s like fried donut holes, but in terms of texture, it’s chewy and it clings to the teeth. It also comes in many different coatings. Think nutty sesame seeds or the tropical goodness of shredded coconut – yum!
5. Milmyeon (One of the Best Korean Snacks In Busan)
One of Bulsan’s proudest, Mimyeon, is a cold noodle dish typically enjoyed during hot summer months. It comes in two versions: Bibim Milmyeon and Mul Milmyeon. The former is served with the broth already mixed in, while the latter is served with the broth on the side (allows you to adjust the spiciness).
6. Red Ginseng Candy
Red ginseng is not as popular in the US, but in Korea and other parts of Asia, it is considered a valuable and prestigious herb. It is believed to do wonders like combat fatigue, improve brain health, reduce anxiety, manage blood sugar, and even improve sexual health! Red Ginseng Candy is literally a powerhouse of a candy.
7. Ppopgi (Dalgona Candy) from Squid Game
Do you remember that one scene from Squid Game Episode 3 where the main character (Gi-hun) had to lick the back of this circular candy and preserve the shape in the middle to survive?
The circular candy I’m talking about is called Ppopgi! It’s an old-fashioned sugar candy made of baking soda, sugar, corn syrup, and sometimes honey to create a sticky and frothy mixture. It’s a treat beloved by kids!
Popular Korean Snack You Can Find in the Streets of South Korea 🍢
8. Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Stir-Fried Rice Cake)
Tteokbokki is one of the most popular Korean snacks. It’s everywhere, literally. Movies, TV shows, K-pop music videos, YouTube vlogs, everywhere. It’s a hearty dish known for its addictive combination of spice, sweetness, and chewy texture. I tried it once, and I thought the chili pepper paste was too spicy for my liking. Still delicious though!
9. Odeng (Street Food Fish Cake Skewers In Warm Broth)
Fish Cake Skewers paired with a warm and savory broth make the perfect comfort food to enjoy on a rainy day! The savory and springy fish cake, soaked in the flavorful broth, creates a comforting combination that seriously warms both the heart and soul.
Now, if Odeng is perfect for rainy days, Bingsu is the opposite. In July, Seoul can reach temperatures of up to 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn't that bad, but if you're from a cooler place like Fairbanks for example, a cold, sweet shaved ice dessert would be an absolute delight.
11. Kimbap (Korean Rice Rolls)
Rain or shine, Kimbap is a visually-appealing and satisfying Korean food to enjoy. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile too. You can enjoy it as a light meal, snack, or picnic food, no problem!
Not only that, Korean Rice Rolls also offers a wide variety of exquisite flavors: tuna, egg, bulgogi, fruit, cheese, kimchi, and so much more!
12. Bungeoppang (Fish-Shaped Pastry)
Bungeoppang literally looks like a fish. Except it’s a warm shade of brown, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, filled with the sweetness of red bean filling, and the only direction it will swim to is your mouth. Well, unless it’s not your Bungeoppang, then please don’t put it in your mouth.
13. Mandu (Traditional Korean Dumplings)
If you've ever had gyoza, you have to give Mandu a try. It's pretty similar, stuffed with yummy ground meat and veggies, wrapped in dough. The one difference is that gyoza gets steam-fried and THEN pan-fried while Mandu can be steamed, fried, OR boiled, depending on your preference.
14. Twigim (Assorted Deep-Fried Treat)
Yes, deep-fried foods like Twigim can be unhealthy…but only when consumed in excess! It’s not bad to eat breaded and fried dishes if you really want to. Just make sure to balance it out by drinking lots of water and eating something healthy alongside it.
Plus, you don’t have to go to Korea to enjoy a deep-fried treat. You can just take some shrimp out of the fridge, ready your seasoning and coatings, and cook some crispy and golden Popcorn Shrimp right at home!
The Best Korean Snacks You Can Buy Online Or in the Convenience Store 🍟
15. Turtle Chips by Haitai
No, turtle chips are not made of turtles. Even the design barely resembles a real turtle, to be honest. Still very yummy, though, especially the churros and sweet corn flavors! Be ready to hide the bag from yourself if you don’t want to devour the whole thing in one sitting.
16. Kokal Corn Chips
If you didn’t enjoy Turtle Chips sweet corn flavor, give Lotte Kokal corn chips a try! These cone-shaped snacks are not only delicious but also fun to eat - you can even put them on your finger like a crunchy finger hat.
17. Pepero (One of the most famous Korean snacks unique to East Asia)
Oh, the number of Pepero and Pocky sticks I have devoured! What makes Pepero so fascinating for me isn't just its taste – it's that satisfying texture. Something about those slender sticks and their crunchiness just hits the spot for me.
18. Pocachip Potato Chips
“Western” foods in South Korea are usually sweet, so if you’re visiting the country and find yourself really craving that salty, regular Pringle-like taste in chips, then the original flavor of Pocachip is your best bet.
19. Crab Chips
Crab Chips taste like, well, crabs! But compared to crab chips in the US, this one looks like crab shells. Pretty cool!
If you’re in the mood to try something different, why not crush those leftover chips, add them to this Corn Fritters Crab recipe, and see what it tastes like!
20. Nongshim Shrimp Crackers
If Crab Chips aren't quite satisfying your seafood cravings, try Nongshim Shrimp Crackers! Serve them with Alabama Firecrackers and Ranch Cheese Crackers for an epic movie night with your family and friends.
21. Honey Butter Chips (One of My Favorite Korean Chips)
Honey Butter Chips were all the rage in 2014-2015, and even after a whole decade, they’re still quite popular…and I still buy them! The sweet flavor reminds me of caramel and buttery popcorn – very addictive!
22. Lotte Dream Cacao Candy
Lotte Dream Cacao Candy is a literal dream. It has a smooth, creamy texture and a delightful balance of sweetness and cacao bitterness. Add it to your next cookie recipe and you’re in for a treat!
23. Orion Choco Pie (Sweet Korean Snack)
Another gobsmacking chocolate snack from Korea is the Orion Choco Pie. It is soft and fluffy. It is sandwiched together with an immaculate layer of rich and velvety chocolate filling. It is everything you’d ever want from a choco pie and more!
24. Banana Milk (Perfect Pair for Sweet Potato Chips)
We’ve talked about so many chips and rice cakes already, how about a drink to wash them down? If you're short on time to blend fresh milk and ripe bananas, this creamy banana smoothie in a small, fun packaging has got you covered!
25. Cotton Candy Ice Cream
What could be more whimsical than a cotton candy and an ice cream combined? Nothing! This frozen treat is like a trip down memory lane, bringing back those cherished childhood memories of carnivals and amusement parks.
If you want to try making it yourself, check out Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker Recipes and No Churn Ice Cream Recipes. Or you can use prepackaged ice cream and make a Sandwich Cake. The possibilities are endless!
Unique Korean Snacks You Need to Try Now 🍜
26. Korean Fire Noodles (Very Spicy But You Need to Try It)
There’s only one way to describe Korean Fire Noodles: taste bud explosion! It’s one of the spiciest dishes I’ve ever tried and I’m not sure I’ll ever be brave enough again to try them. But if you love spicy foods, please don’t let this stop you. Korean Fire Noodles is THE bomb.
If you can handle even more heat, take it up a notch and whip up a Homemade Chili Seasoning!
27. Hwajeon (Flower-Shaped Sweet Korean Rice Cake)
Hwajeon is a dish so beautiful you don’t even want to eat it. The edible flowers, delicately arranged on the golden-brown rice cakes, create a visual feast that delights the eyes as much as it does the taste buds!
28. Ganjang Gejang
Crab is already very tasty on its own, but if you’re the type of person who likes their meat marinated, don’t hesitate to try Ganjang Gejang if you have the chance. Not only does the marinade give the crab umami richness, it also softens the crab shells and allows diners to eat the roe (eggs) and tomalley (crab liver).
If you enjoyed Ganjang Gejang, you’ll probably love Maryland Crab Soup as well!
29. Nori Sheet (Roasted Seaweed Snacks)
I like seaweed the best when boiled, but roasted seaweed is a close second! Not only is it crispy and tasty, it’s also very versatile. It can be paired with rice or enjoyed solo – a perfect chip replacement!
I've heard of tofu and rice, but tofu stuffed with rice? That’s some next level stuff (see what I did there). Serve it alongside Shrimp Avocado Salad or Amish Broccoli Salad for the ultimate picnic experience!
31. Sundae (No, It’s Not an Ice Cream)
Sundae, pronounced as “soon-deh”, is not a sweet treat. It is, instead, a unique dish made from either pig intestines or a combination of pig blood and starch. It may not sound like the most appetizing snack in this list, but I swear it’s a must-try for anyone looking to truly experience Korean cuisine.
32. Beondegi (Silkworm Pupae)
Beondegi is clearly not for everyone, but hey, if you’ve already tried Sundae, what’s stopping you from trying Beondegi? It’s much less common to see street food stalls selling Beondegi than, say, 10 years ago, but they’re still pretty common in Korea.
33. Chapssal Donut
To cleanse your palate after that Sundae and Beondegi, try Chapssal Donuts! Like regular donut holes, these donuts are coated with toppings like powdered sugar or cinnamon for a more tasty and visually appealing finish.
34. Hallabong Chocolate (Unique Korean Snack Found In Jeju, South Korea)
Another tasty dessert is the Hallabong Chocolate. It combines the unique flavors of Hallabong (a special citrus fruit from Jeju Island) with the richness of chocolate to create a refreshing, one-of-a-kind treat. If you’re heading to Jeju, it’s a must-try!
35. Sannajki (Live Octopus)
Last but certainly not least is the Sannajki! Now, I saved it for last because, let’s be honest here, it’s a bit scary to eat an octopus. I love calamares, don't get me wrong. But an octopus (and a live one at that) is a whole different beast.
Don't worry, though; Sannakji is generally safe to eat. Just dip them in sesame oil to prevent them from sticking too much, and chew quickly. Before you know it, you're done, and you've successfully overcome a challenge!
👩🏻🍳 Sarah Mock
Sarah Mock is a classically trained Chef and graduate of Johnson & Wales University. A culinary blogger for 14 years Sarah helps the home cook prepare her recipes with professional results.