Kiwi food YouTubers Thomas & Sheena Southam are on an eternal quest to find the most delicious local food the world has to offer. This week they reveal the unusual delights of Busan.
Busan, South Korea's second largest city has a lot going for it: a beautiful harbour, the
bustling Jagalchi Fish Market, quirky Gamcheon 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 local daily life and a chance to try some brilliant street food. We guarantee you will eat well here. Read on for some Busan specialities to get you started:
1. Ssiat hotteok: seed pancake
Hotteok, a sweet or savoury Korean pancake, is a staple of the street food scene in South Korea. In Busan they specialise in ssiat hotteok, a seed pancake. Rice and wheat 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. Bite into the crispy, slightly sticky hotteok and the cinnamon sugar oozes out creating a sweet, sticky, delicious mess. It's magic!
Where to eat it: you can find ssiat hotteok all over Busan including at BIFF Square, Gukje Market and street vendors in Seomyeon.
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2. Street food at Gukje Market
Gukje Market is a popular street-food destination in Busan with vendors and their stalls lining the centre of the pedestrian streets. You'll find all the vendors who sell a particular dish clustered together. From traditional Korean snacks, such as tteokbokki (rice cakes cooked in gochujang - Korean red pepper paste - sauce) and pajeon (spring onion pancakes) to local favourites like chungmu gimbap: seaweed rice rolls served with spicy radish and boiled squid. Pick one of the imo's (aunty) stalls, perch on one of the low plastic stools, point to what you want to eat and dive in.
3. Eomuk: fishcakes
As a port city, Busan is famous for its eomuk, or fishcakes, often served odeng style. Fishcakes - the fish paste variety - are threaded on to a wooden skewer and left to warm in pots of hot savoury broth. Grab a paper cup and fill it with warming soup before nabbing a skewer to munch on.
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.
4. Dwaeji Gukbap: pork rice soup
Dwaeji Gukbap is a local favourite in Busan and said to be hard to find outside the city. Pork bones are boiled for hours and hours before soy, rice wine and other aromatics are added, resulting in a milky broth. A steaming bowl of dwaeji gukbap is comfort food personified - tender grains of rice and piles of thinly shaved pork wallow in the collagen-rich broth. Finished with a dollop of gochujang, salted shrimp, garlic, kimchi and garlic chives, it's one of the best things you'll eat in Busan.
Where to eat it: Pohang Dwaeji Gukbap, 25, Seomyeon-ro 68beon-gil, Busanjin-gu, Busan 47286
5. A fish lunch at Jagalchi Fish Market
Jagalchi Fish market is the largest seafood market in Korea. Watch the fisherman selling and Joe Public buying every type of seafood imaginable, from sea pineapples to penis fish (in case you're wondering, they look identical to their namesake). 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 fresh pan-fried hairtail and flounder, together with soup, rice and banchan (side dishes) make up this mouth-watering meal. When in Busan, don't miss this experience.