7 Must-Eat Foods In Seoul During Winter

7 Must-Eat Foods In Seoul During Winter

Winter in Seoul can get harsh, but fret not – the city’s thriving food scene offers a wide selection of foods for you to cope with the cold.

If you’ve ever been to Seoul during its winter season, you’d know how fierce it can get the temperature’s scarily low, and the winds are harsher than you think. Besides bundling up in layers and wrapping yourself up in a thick coat, there’s another way to ensure your body’s taken care of during such weathers, which is eating. Everyone seems to know what to eat in Seoul given its well-loved dining scene, but there are just some foods you have to munch on in the cold to truly enjoy and keep your winter appetite satisfied. Here are my picks:

1. Odeng

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’re 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’re standing at a food tent, where you’re not entirely sheltered from the wind so you still feel slightly cold it makes an unforgettable experience!

2. Manjoo

Image credit: Annisa Asanti

Manjoo may not get as much love as it deserves, but it’s still very much worth sinking your teeth into especially in the freezing weather. I mean, who can say no to a warm custard-filled pastry even on an ordinary day? They come in bags of bite-sized pieces too, which means they’re perfect for carrying around, and you get to pop one into your mouth on-the-go. Manjoo can be found at most subway stations in Seoul, and even convenience stores or street food carts. The next time you’re there, make sure to give them a try!

3. Gyeran Bbang

Image credit: (right) travel oriented

Gyeran Bbang literally means ‘egg bread’ in Korean, which is exactly what it is: a small steamed bread with a whole egg inside. They come with toppings like seeds, cheese, and diced ham. You’ll find them at many street food carts (you won’t miss them at all in Myeong-dong) so there’s 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 don’t get too addicted leave some space in your tummy for the other foods on the list.

4. Bungeoppang

Bungeoppang is perhaps the most common winter snack in Korea, It’s a well-loved childhood favourite for many locals, so if you’re looking for the quintessential winter experience in Seoul, don’t miss out on these fish-shaped bread filled with red bean paste! Its sweet aroma is hard to forget you’ll know once you smell them, especially in districts lined with food vendors, like Myeong-dong and Sinchon! Whether or not you have a sweet tooth, you’re bound to fall in love with this sweet pastry which will warm the heart in the midst of the cold.

5. Hotteok

Hotteok is another sweet pastry enjoyed by people of all ages, tourists and locals alike. This snack is made from glutinous rice flour (giving it a fun chewy texture once fried) containing ingredients such as sugar, cinnamon, and peanuts. Its filling is a sinfully addictive brown sugar syrup which is served hot, hence making it a must-eat during winter. If you’re more of a savoury person, fret not hotteoks come with vegetable fillings too! Just so you know, they’re also sold at an affordable 1,000 won (roughly SGD $1.20) your taste buds are in for a real treat.

6. Sundubu Jjigae

Image credit: Alpha

Sundubu Jjigae is a soft tofu stew known for its main ingredient of freshly curdled tofu, and its spicy hearty broth. It’s also the ultimate definition of comfort food during winter, if you ask me. There’s really nothing better than stepping into a cozy eatery, settling down from the cold outside and savouring a piping hot bowl (in this case, stone pot) of soup that comforts the soul. A spoonful of spicy hot soup and extra soft tofu serves as a wonderful combination once eaten one that’s even more unforgettable in the winter. So take my advice and let your tummy thank you later!

7. Mandu

Image credit: (left) anokarina, (right) kslee

Mandu are Korean dumplings, and they’re served different ways: steamed, boiled, deep-fried, and pan-fried. You’ll mostly see them being sold by street food vendors as fried to-go snacks, and in wooden trays or Mandu-guk (dumpling soup) at eateries these meat-and-vegetable filled dumplings are nonetheless good regardless of how you choose to eat them! A personal recommendation: pop by a Kim Seon Saeng (Teacher Kim) outlet for a tray of perfectly steamed Mandus. They’re soft, chewy, and satisfy the winter appetite easily so don’t be surprised if you find yourself ordering tray after tray!

There you have it! Those are the 7 must-eat foods in Seoul during the winter. The next time you hear your tummy growling in the freezing weather, you know what to do!

About Author

Teri Anne Tan

If she's not binging on Korean BBQ on a night out with her friends, Teri Anne is most probably at home rewatching Studio Ghibli films or planning her next trip abroad. She loves reading, indulging in clothing hauls, and listening to hits from both K-pop and '80s British Rock. Her ultimate dream? To enjoy a mug of hot chocolate under the Northern Lights in Iceland.

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