Busan has a lot going for it- a beautiful harbour, bustling Jagalchi Fish Market, quirky Gamchon Cultural Village and of course, the food. Busan’s food scene is well worth exploring- local specialities abound and lively markets offer a glimpse into daily life and a chance to try some magnificent street food. We guarantee you will eat well in Busan so here are our Top 10 foods you shouldn’t leave off the list…
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First, watch our Busan Food Tour video…
As a port city Busan is famous for its eomuk or fishcakes. Eomuk is often served odeng style. Countless street vendors sell this popular snack by threading fishcakes onto a wooden skewer and leaving them to warm in pots of hot broth. Grab a paper cup and fill it with warming soup before nabbing a skewer to munch on. You can also try more tricked up versions of eomuk where the fishcake is wrapped around sausages, cheese or shellfish.
Where to eat it: street food vendors selling eomuk are all over the city, otherwise Samjin are the most popular, commercialised eomuk eatery in Korea.
2. Ssiat hotteok
We guarantee you will fast become addicted to hotteok a popular Korean pancake. In Busan they specialise in ssiat hotteok or a seed pancake. A glutinous rice flour dough is stuffed with a sugar and cinnamon mixture before being shallow fried in a pan of butter or oil. Once golden and crispy it’s cut open and filled with pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. As you bite into the hotteok the cinnamon sugar oozes out creating a sweet, sticky, delicious mess.
Where to eat it: you can find ssiat hotteok all over Busan including at BIFF Square, Gukje Market and street vendors in Seomyeon.
Milmyeon or wheat noodles are a popular thing to eat in summer as they are served cold. Chewy noodles languish in an icy cold broth (sheets of ice are added to the broth) together with julienned cucumber and pear, thin slices of beef and a dollop of gochujang sauce. Don’t forget to add a few drops of vinegar and mustard to your bowl to taste. Refreshing and full of varying flavours and textures.
Where to eat it: Halmae Gaya Milmyeon, 부산광역시 Jung-gu, Gwangbok-dong, Gwangbok-ro, 56-14. Open daily 10:15am to 9:30pm.
4. Gukje Market Street Food
Gukje Market is a well known street food destination in Busan. Vendors selling the same item are clustered together on different streets and offer everything from sweet red bean porridge to noodles. Sample the local favourite of chungmu gimbap, seaweed rice rolls which are served with spicy radish and boiled squid whilst perched on a small plastic stool on the street. You’ll also find Korean street favourites tteokbokki (rice cakes cooked in gochujang sauce) and pajeon (green onion pancake) at Gukje market.
5. Yubu Jumeoni
These fried tofu bags stuffed with glass noodles and julienned vegetables are a firm winter favourite. Served in a warming broth the tofu soaks up the flavoursome soup and helps beat away those chills.
Where to eat it: look out for these at the street carts in BIFF Square.
6. Korean Street Toast
One of Korea’s most popular snacks is Korean Street Toast. Two slices of white bread are slathered with butter and sandwich an omelette, cabbage, tomato sauce and sprinkled sugar. It’s sweet, savoury, buttery goodness.
Where to eat it: the street toast vendors we ate from are located at the entrance to Bujeon Market at 266-17 Bujeong 1(il)-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan. Another great street toast eatery is Isaac Toast which you will find all over South Korea.
Chimaek, the meal of fried chicken and beer is an absolute must when travelling in South Korea. Our favourite chimaek restaurants are the ones where the chickens are double fried and served simply- just with salt and pepper and some white, pickled radish. If you want something a bit more tricked up there are countless ‘modern’ chimaek restaurants which serve their fried chicken with all manner of sauces and seasonings. Wash your fried bird down with handles of icy cold Cass beer and you have a stellar meal!
Where to eat it: we loved this really local joint called 플레이파크PC South Korea, Busan, Busanjin-gu, Bujeon-dong, 261-1
Kalguksu are handmade, knife cut noodles. The noodles are roughly chopped and served in steaming bowls of anchovy broth with just a few chopped spring onions, dried seaweed and sometimes some fried tofu dotted about. A hearty, simple and very tasty bowl of noodles.
Where to eat it: 266-17 Bujeong 1(il)-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan.
9. Dwaeji Gukbap
Dwaeji Gukbap is pork rice soup a locals favourite in Busan and said to be hard to find outside of the city. Pork bones are boiled for many hours before soy, rice wine and other aromatics are added to the broth. The resulting milky broth is served with thinly sliced pork and rice as a watery porridge with a dollop of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) to which fermented, salted shrimp, garlic, kimchi, garlic chives and ssamjang can be added. Delicious and hearty!
Where to eat it: Pohang Dwaeji Gukbap, 25, Seomyeon-ro 68beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan 47286.
10. Jagalchi Market Fish lunch
Jagalchi Fish market is the biggest seafood market in Korea. It’s a bustling, exciting place to visit to spend a couple of hours watching the vendors selling and customers buying every type of seafood imaginable. Head to the vendors who set up shop outside the market and find the restaurants serving fried fish lunch sets. An assortment of fish including freshly fried hairtail and flounder, together with soup, rice and banchan make up this mouthwatering meal. Don’t miss this experience when in Busan!
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We hope this Busan food guide has helped you eat and explore like a traveller, not a tourist!
Spending more time in South Korea? Check out our Namdaemun Market Street Food Guide and Gwangjang Market Street Food Guide!
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