As snow continues to fall straight into the new year, you may find yourself looking for all sorts of ways to keep yourself warm. What better way to defrost 2013 than with delicious Korean snacks right?!?
It’s no big secret that Korea is especially well known for it’s fabulous street food, but when it’s below zero outside you somehow find newfound appreciation for these hot and ready delights. For me in particular, I do a lot of traveling on the subway for work and I can’t help but feel peckish on the go. So here are my favorite Must-Have winter snacks (in no particular order).
델리 만쥬 (Deli Manjoo)
Deli Manjoo is short for ‘delicious mandu’ (mandu is Korean for dumpling). This is not exactly your typical dumpling. Actually, it’s a custard filled cake that literally looks like a mini ear of corn. You can pretty much find Deli Manjoo sold almost everywhere in Seoul; subway stations, convenience stores, or outdoor carts. When I first came to Korea three years ago, I was immediately hooked to its unique lightly sweetened flavor. These days, however, I am very particular about where I buy it. The taste is always best when it’s hot off the press and its crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, but its hard to get it like this because the vendors like to mass produce them and then leave them sitting in bags under heat lamps. After that they get soggy and taste a little stale. So, the best place to get it is in the 명동 (Myeongdong) subway station. They alway make batches upon order or in small pre-made batches, so they aren’t just sitting there. They are sold by the bag, usually ₩2,000 for a small bag and ₩3,000 for a large one. Don’t be fooled though, these little cakes are very filling. Next time you go to 명동 remember to do the ‘joo’.
똥빵 (Dong Bang)
The appetizing translation of this delightful snack is ‘poop bread.’ With a name like that how can you not want to try it? Well first I should clarify that poop is not an ingredient. As a matter of fact the batter used in this bread is pretty similar to the lightly sweetened one used for Deli Manjoo. The name, however, comes from its appealing distinct shape. In a way it gives new meaning to the phrase “eat sh…,” well you get the idea. Anyhow, like Deli Manjoo, Dong Bang is also cream filled. The best part is that it comes in all different flavors like vanilla, chocolate, corn vanilla, strawberry, red bean, caramel peanut and cheese. My absolute favorite is strawberry. So delicious!!! The best location for these would be inside the 신촌 (Sinchon) subway station. They are ALWAYS fresh and at ₩500 a piece, how can you pass up the opportunity?
고구마 파이 (Goguma Pie)
Goguma Pies are the stuff dreams are made of, that is if you dream of sweet potatoes… which I do. The thing that caught my attention the first time I tried them was their intoxicating smell. This sweet aroma engulfs the air and draws you in the way you would see a cartoon character floating in the air following his nose to a pie cooling on a windowsill. Guma Guma is my favorite place to get them and the best location is in the 대림 (Daerim) subway station. While the main ingredient of every pie is sweet potato, they also come in different flavors such as mocha, green tea, pumpkin, etc. 고구마 통팥 파이, which is a whole bean sweet potato pie, is my recommendation. It’s flaky lightly glazed pastry exterior compliments its simple sweet potato filling perfectly! This delectable delight can be yours for the low price of ₩1,300 each. They even sell gift sets if you really want to sample yourself into a blissful Goguma comma.
While you can grab all these snacks year-round, they really hit the spot during winter. Also because there is a higher demand for them in this season, you almost always find them hot n’ fresh; Crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside. Ahh… perfection!