While Myeongdong (명동) is mostly known for its fabulous shopping experience, it also has a great street food scene. Last year I did a post on street vendors in Myeongdong and what foods to try when you need a break from all that shopping. This year I noticed a lot of new food options and thought I’d update my list.
Cabbage Omelet (양배추 오믈렛)
It was the entire fried egg on top of the cabbage omelet that peaked my interest. The actual snack consisted of a pile of fried cabbage, topped with bacon and a bit of cheese wrapped in a crepe-like pancake topped off with a fried egg, a dash of dried fish shavings (katsuobushi) and drizzled in 2 types of sauce. Everything is cooked right there on the grill so it’s piping hot and ready to be devoured. Honestly, it was a bit too much cabbage, but the actual problem lied in the sauces. There was so much of it, you couldn’t enjoy the taste of the other ingredients as much. Plus it was super messy! So while it was pretty good, I don’t think it’s going to be something I get again. Especially not at ₩5,000 a serving.
Cup Shrimp (컵새우/ 새우강정)
Cup Shrimp (as I will call it because it only had “shrimp” written on the menu), is a new variation on the popular street food 컵닭 or “Cup Chicken.” Cup Chicken is a mix of boneless fried chicken pieces, tater tots and 떡 (rice cake) lathered in a sweet and spicy sauce. I’m a huge fan! Cup Shrimp comes with your choice of deep fried prawn or shrimp mixed with fried rice cake, lathered in a sweet and spicy sauce and topped with dried basil for ₩5,000 a cup. I chose the shrimp and I’ve gotta say, it was pretty awesome! Rice cake and shrimp in a super tasty sauce… that’s my jam. What’s even better is that they make it in small batches so the shrimp isn’t sitting in the sauce too long getting soggy and gross. My shrimp were nice and crisp. If you were to eat at only one street stall in Myeongdong, this would be the one. Unless you don’t like shrimp or are allergic… then cup chicken is an equally satisfying alternative.
Roasted Sweet Potato (군고구마)
Roasted sweet potatoes are my all time favorite winter snack. They are available all over Korea. Even convenience stores sell them. Different street vendors prepare them in different ways, but the best way (impo) is to roast them inside a giant ceramic jar or hangari (항아리) filled with hot coal. It cooks the them nice and evenly so you get a soft, sweet and very light smokey tasting sweet potato. This particular type of vendor is a bit trickier to find, so if you do… go for it! It’s the best and definitely worth trying if you happen to be in Korea during the winter. At only ₩3,000 a potato, it’s a cheap and delicious way to get warm and satisfy your food baby.
Frozen S’more (프로즌 스모어)
I was super excited when I came across an egg bread (계란빵) vendor who happened to sell frozen s’mores. It was a “pinch me I must be dreaming” kind of moment. I love s’mores and ice cream, so this was pretty much a dream come true. What wasn’t a dream come true was the ₩8,000 price tag that came along with it. I almost didn’t buy one, but I was really really curious and eventually my sweet tooth got the better of me. The frozen s’more was a big marshmallow cube on a stick with vanilla ice cream and chocolate gram cracker-like crust in the center. The marshmallow is roasted and then ready to be eaten. It was really sweet and mostly marshmallow, but oh so good. While I really enjoyed it, I don’t really think it was worth the price. That being said… I still might still buy one again if I have a really big hankering (I’m so weak).
Lobster Tail (랍스터 꼬리)
I know what you’re thinking. Who buys lobster from a street vendor?!? Well, apparently I do. I mean, it’s so bizarre how could I not try it? These lobster tails are brushed with melted butter, torched and grilled over hot coals, then topped with melted shredded cheese. I have to admit I was skeptical, but it was actually crazy how good it was. Street lobster should not taste that good. It was better than the lobster at some restaurants we’ve been to. At ₩15,000 a pop, it’s not something I’ll be trying again any time soon, but at least I can cherish the savory memory. So if you’ve got cash to burn, try out some Korean street lobster.
It’s always great to get to try new street food, but with the snack scene constantly changing, I do sometimes miss the Korean foods that have been replaced by “trendier” snacks. My husband and I were particularly disappointed to see that our favorite Japchae (잡채) vendor was no longer there. The prices have also gone up a considerable amount from the average ₩3,000 per snack last year to ₩5,000 this year. Alas that is the way of Seoul, always in a constant state of rapid change. At least there’s always good food to be found!
If you enjoyed this post, or simply enjoy drooling over tasty food pics, be sure to check out my post on Hongdae street food too!