Busan's Gwangbokdong Food Street is popular for the delicious flavours that permeate the city. Over 20 restaurants and more street food vendors line the food street, all trying to sell their most popular products. This demand has ensured that the food sold is of high quality and healthy. This has not affected their price as competition has kept them affordable. Tourists and locals alike flock to the street for the cheaper prices (around $1 to $3 each) and local delicacies.
Travellers and other visitors could be seen at this food lane, which has become very popular among foodies. The selection is vast and there are many vendors selling similar items, so where to start? We all have limited stomach space, so here is a list of some of Korea Tour Guide's must-try Gwangbokdong Food Street menu.
What to eat in Gwangbokdong:
1- Jjukkumi: Stuffed, Grilled Octopus
Although this may sometimes seem like a silly choice for a first-time visitor, they won't be averse to it. The mini octopus is a popular dish that can be bought from a variety of street vendors. The mini octopus is first boiled and then slow cooked in a sweet sauce or a hot red pepper sauce, depending on your choice.
If you prefer a crispier, burnt flavour, let the octopus grill longer. When it's done, season it with additional spices of your choice to make it even more delicious. Although it may sound a bit unfamiliar to some, the unique taste and crazy flavours of the seafood and spices are worth it!
2- Hotteok ssiat: Brown Sugar pancakes
Ssiat Hotteok is the dish to order for pancake fans. However, this is not your normal fluffy pancake which is also known as hot cakes. Many guests and visitors are attracted to try it because of the special way it is prepared. It is also inexpensive, so there is no excuse not to buy it.
A glutinous rice flour batter is mixed with cinnamon and brown sugar without being deep fried to make this pancake. Then it is filled with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sugar and nuts without being deep fried again. It's crispy on the outside, but gooey on the inside. The pancake is known for being extremely sweet and delicious.
3- Gun Mandoo: Deep Fried Dumplings.
Street food is generally not associated with a healthy lifestyle, and Gwangbokdong is no exception! If you see an auntie spinning thin or round dumplings on a hot plate, you can probably stop to try the less nutritious version of Korean mandoo. Mandoo is usually cooked and eaten as a meal on its own or in a soup.
But in Busan, you can also get a fried version to keep you warm on a cold winter night. It is usually served with spicy dried seafood or other side dishes.
4- Dwaeji gukbap: Pork Rice soup.
This is a pork rice soup that is well known among locals, but hard to find outside of Busan. If you are in Gwangbokdong, try it to see why the locals like it. To prepare Dwaeji Gukbap, first boil the pork bones for several hours. To make the broth tastier, add rice wine, soy sauce and other spices
Gwangbokdong Food Street combines market shopping and fast food in one place. Take a break and sit down to a good meal if you get tired from looking at clothes or souvenirs. Got your fill from all that street food? Take a second walk to burn it off.
Although Gwangbokdong Food Street is not as big as some other Korean food markets, there are some exclusive Busan foods here that are worth trying.
From the author: Merna Mohamed Fathy.
"Merna Mohamed is an Egyptian girl who is interested in Korean culture, food and archaeological sites. She is passionate about Korean culture and loves to strive and achieve her dream to study in Korea and let everyone know how great this culture is and let Korea lovers know the unknown side of Korean development and on the other hand the historical monuments. She wants to discover the social potential and values of Korea and pass them on to you."