Korea is undeniably, truly a food heaven. We all know that this country has exceptional cuisine. However, it turns out that Korea offers even more than that. The truth is that the country stands out with its unique snacks. So you won’t be surprised if we tell you that Korean snacks are something that you need to try.
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Let’s set everything aside so that we may introduce a few classic Korean snacks you need to try.
Korean Snack Names
- Dried Sweet Potato
- Shiitake Mushroom Chips
- Samgak Kimbap
- Korean Instant Ramen
- Fried Seaweed Crisps
- Sorghum Pancake – Susu bukkumi
- Dalogna Candy
Salty & Savory Korean Snacks
1. Dried Sweet Potato
Dried sweet potatoes are tasty, chewy, and satisfying Korean snacks. In Korea, ready-roasted sweet potatoes, also known as “Goguma,” are a typical snack you can buy anywhere from street vendors. They are trendy in the winter. This Korean snack is a fantastic way to enjoy the taste of sweet potatoes, wherever you are, without any effort.
These sweet potato strips resemble dried mango strips, are high in fiber and protein, and ideal for midday snacks. Although it may appear as though they are covered in white powder, this is only a byproduct of oxidation and has no bearing on the flavor. Some people also chop it up and add nuts to make a sort of trail mix.
2. Shiitake Mushroom Chips
Shiitake Mushroom Chips are low-fat Korean snacks with delicious umami mushroom flavors. They are far more fulfilling than regular chips since they are somewhat sweet, slightly salty, and unexpectedly addicting. They are also packed with protein.
The Shiitake mushroom chips are produced utilizing natural methods without the use of synthetic or chemical fertilizers. However, those chips are not the same dried shiitake mushrooms that are often used in Korean cuisine to make a flavorful broth.
The edible shiitake mushroom originated in East Asia and is now grown and eaten worldwide. This particular mushroom is also used in traditional medicine.
3. Samgak Kimbap
Samgak Kimbaps are triangle-shaped Korean snacks that have delicious rice inside and are wrapped in seaweed. They are the Korean equivalent of the Japanese onigiri and are frequently offered at convenience shops as the ultimate hunger-buster. There are many different filling options for samgak kimbap, including the hugely popular tuna and mayo mix, but among many others, there are bulgogi, simple salt, and spicy chicken flavors available.
Though initially challenging to open, the wrappers for these treats are creative. There is a way to remove the plastic layer that is put beneath the seaweed wrapper to keep it crisp without harming the rice ball at all. It feels so good when you get this right the first time.
Those delicious Korean snacks are simple to create at home and may be found in the fresh section of your neighborhood Asian grocery store. Additionally, you may create or purchase kimbap rolls, which are the roll version of this treat and are frequently stuffed with various fillings.
4. Korean Instant Ramen
No matter if you are eating it as a meal or as a snack, Korean ramen is amazing and delicious to consume. There are so many different flavors of Korean ramen and each of them is worth trying. This is one of the greatest Korean snacks you can eat because of the variety of flavors and versatility.
If you prefer hot ramen, you will reach your limits here. From the famously scorching Shin Ramyun to the flaming Samyang Hot Chicken, you can enjoy the hot Korean snacks that are hard to forget.
Even the pink, creamy Samyang Carbonara comes with a packet of hot sauce that can increase the heat to an unimaginably high level. The Soon Veggie Ramen is perfect if you want to avoid the heat and is extremely customizable, meaning that you can add any toppings that you wish and give it various flavors. Another choice is Ottogi Jin Ramen, which has a delicious mushroom and meaty flavor and is just somewhat hot.
5. Fried Seaweed Crisps
Seaweeds are kind of a subject of controversy in the rest of the world, and people either fall madly in love with them or totally hate them. The two main varieties of seaweed snacks are flat sheets, which come in a variety of flavors including soy, hot kimchi, salt, or nutty sesame, and chips, which are smaller and more crunchy and also available in a range of flavors.
This is a fantastic snack for vegans and vegetarians alike. Typically, anchovy or seafood broth is used as one of the ingredients. However, they are often replaced by water, which makes those delicious Korean snacks vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
Surprisingly, vegetarians and vegans who travel to South Korea should definitely try to eat in Korean temples. The reason is that all food served in temples is vegan.
Sweet Korean Snacks
Songpyeon is unquestionably one of the most loved Korean snacks. The snack has traditional and cultural significance and is typically consumed throughout Chuseok. This is a common Korean snack in Korea, made with rice powder. It is a particular variety of tteok, little rice cakes that are typically consumed during Chuseok, the Korean harvest festival.
Songpyeon is a well-known representation of conventional Korean culture. Songpyeon is first mentioned in documents from the Goryeo era. This treat is readily available in several Korean markets in Singapore during Chuseok celebrations, which typically take place in September.
Half moon-shaped rice cakes known as songpyeons are frequently filled with sweet or semi-sweet ingredients, including soy, cowpeas, chestnuts, sesame seeds, red beans, dates, or honey. They are given a particular flavor and the enticing aroma of freshly cut pine trees by being steam-cooked over a bed of pine needles. Songpyeon, which translates as “pine cakes,” gets its name from the use of pine needles.
Yaksik is one of the most popular native Korean snacks that is prepared with almonds, sweet rice, and Korean dates known as jujubes. This treat is kind of an alternative to chips and cookies and is considered to be somewhat healthy. It is frequently offered at celebrations and weddings. Additionally, it might be a great substitute for granola bars.
The name Yaksik comes from one of the components, honey, which was once thought of as a medicine (“Yak” means medicine, “Sik” means food). Yaksik dates back to the Samguk Period of Korean history, 488.
Hooks are popular Korean snacks that resemble pancakes and generally include cinnamon, almonds, brown sugar, and seeds. Even though it is not well recognized, its origins may be found in the Chinese Shao bing, which was introduced in Korea when Chinese traders visited the country for commerce. This happened during the Qing Dynasty.
Two main rice flours are combined and mixed in the making process, and those are regular and glutinous rice flours. This gives the treat a chewy texture inside and a crunchiness on the outside. This candy comes in various flavors. However, some of the most famous ones are brown sugar and honey.
9. Sorghum Pancake – Susu bukkumi
Did you know that Korean pancakes come in many different sizes and forms? A red bean paste filling is used to bind the pancakes known as Susu bukkumi, which are prepared from sorghum flour. Sorghum is renowned as a healthy meal that not only reduces cholesterol and aids in detoxification but also helps the body stay warm. Therefore, this delicacy is savored in the winter.
The snack has an earthy flavor due to the use of sorghum flour, which is countered by the red bean paste’s delicate sweetness without being overwhelming. However, you may add honey to the pancake if you like your snack to be sweet. These delicious Korean snacks are often consumed with the Korean rice wine – makgeolli.
10. Dalogna Candy
When a small amount of baking soda is added to the sugar that is melting, the process of thermal breakdown starts. Baking soda produces carbon dioxide, which causes the liquidized sugar to puff up. Once the sugar has cooled and set, it transforms into a light and crispy candy.
The liquid that has a creamy consistency and a pale color is then poured onto the flat surface and pressed down. Typically, the sweet treat has been stamped on it with different patterns and designs. Eaters attempt to cut around its contours or image without destroying it. Traditionally, the consumer gets additional complimentary Dologna if the trimming is finished without breaking the sweet.
The Dalgona Challenge was the second game played in the famous Squid Games Netflix series. The popularity of the candy was revived after the series was aired, and many people started to get curious about those Korean snacks. As a result, they became pretty famous and loved by the whole world.
It can be said that by eating some of these delectable sweets, which have a colorful past and have even been served in royal courts, you are consuming a piece of history. In this article, we discussed some of the most interesting Korean snacks and briefly explored their background. Even though the vast majority of them are hard to get outside of Korea, if you have a chance to try them, definitely go for it.
Have you had a chance to try any of those Korean snacks mentioned above? Which one would you love to try? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
Nato is a content writer and researcher with a background in psychology. She’s passionate about writing about the candy industry and exploring the cultural significance of sweets and treats. She believes that the stories behind our favorite snacks can reveal a great deal about our values.
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