Street food is an intrinsic part of Korean society, and where there are cups of dried squid, heated silk worm larvae and bowls of spicy rice cakes, there are also pastries that are uniquely Korean.
Walk down almost any bustling shopping district or high-time nightlife area and street food vendors selling various types of pastry and cake snacks are an inevitable find; whether it’s the ever-so popular “boongabbang” ― a red bean paste-filled sweet pastry shaped like a fish ― or the sweet-eggy goodness of Korean “egg bread.”
“Egg bread is definitely one of the most popular street foods in Korea,” said Lee, who owns her own egg bread street food cart near the mega shopping district of Myeong-dong in Seoul.
“Unlike other snack breads that are sold on the street, egg bread is more a meal than a dessert,” she continued. “I think what makes it so delicious and popular is its simplicity ― sweet bread topped with a cooked egg. It’s a perfect snack when you want a quick bite to energize you as you walk around.”
“Ddongbbang” food stall sells poo-shaped, red-bean-filled pastries in Insa-dong, Seoul. (Julie Jackson/The Korea Herald)
Aside from the simplicity and commonality of the combination of eggs and bread, on the other side of the spectrum is a street food that is increasingly gaining popularity in Korea ― ddongbbang, which literally translates to “poo pastry.”
One shouldn’t be turned off by the thought of ddongbbang, as the snack merely refers to the shape of the bread.
“Ddongbbang is a soft, cake-like bread that is shaped like a pile of poo and is stuffed with various fillings, the most popular being red bean paste,” said one ddongbbang street vendor. “It’s something that is comical and not only fun to eat, but also delicious. Many tourists seem to enjoy it because it is so quirky and unique.”
“Only in Korea,” a tourist quipped, as she took a selfie with her ddongbbang at a shopping complex in Insa-dong.
Since officially launching its franchise in 2011, ddongbbang is starting to infiltrate sales beyond the streets, now with 15 stores open throughout the country.
By Julie Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)