The Most Delicious Tteokbokki Out There In Seoul
Tteokbooki (Spicy Rice Cake) is hands down probably the first food to come to mind when you think of what street food is in Korea. Tteokbokki is basically the same anywhere you go with some twists and variations. Try these spots out to the best out of your experience eating this Korean street food. Great as a quick snack when you are on the go and also good for when you come out of the bar or club after a great night out.
Hongdae Jopok Tteokbokki (홍대 조폭 떡볶이):
This place is highly famous and has been going strong for over 20 years. The ‘jopok’ means gangster in English. The rumour behind this place is that it was started by an ex-gangster, which as you can see from its 20 plus years in business that it was a huge success and therefore became a proper restaurant in turn. The menu is pretty simple but the taste is superb. Along with Tteokbokki, there is also Odeng (fish cake) and sundae (Korean sausage) to try. Both are quite good. Its a popular haunt in Hongdae and can get busy around dinner time. Nothing on the menu goes above 3,000won. Tteokbokki with Sundae (순대) and Twigim (튀김) is so damn good!
Here is another highly popular spot for Tteokbokki in the Hongdae area. They also serve fried dumplings, squid, seaweed rolls and garlic stems. Tteokbokki and deep fried shrimp here is awesome and its what made this place so popular. The fried shrimp is crisp and fresh. Each piece costs 2,00won but once you try one, you will be ok paying more for another and another. The food is made fresh from the moment you place your order at the counter. Make note that there is 3 different salts on offer (regular/garlic/ green laver). 1 piece of deep fried shrimp is 2,000won and 6 pieces will cost you just 10,000won. Tteokbokki is just 3,000won but with the soup too its 3,500won. Well worth a try!
This is a must go to place to taste the original recipe for Tteokbokki. There is several branches around Seoul with Sinchon, Samcheondong and Myeongdong noteworthy destinations to go for this dish. When someone thinks of Tteokbokki, they think you eat it outside at a food stall found on the street. But at Meokshidonna, you can get a seat and eat up comfortably. After you finish the initial dish, get the fried rice. It goes down really well. The cost is about 4,000won ~ 6,000won per person.
Yoo Ja Yoo Kimchi Tteokbokki (유자유 김치떡볶이):
If you understand Korean a bit then you can tell that the title of this restaurant means ‘ citrus soju’ with kimchi rice cake. A well known spot near the Korea University area for its combo of Korean rice cake with tasty fruity soju. The rice cake costs about 16,000won and the soju is around 12,000krw. The place is super clean but you will forget about it once you can dig into the food. Located nearby to Anam Subway Station.
Mabongnim Tteokbokki (마복림 떡볶이):
This spot can be found in Sindag-dong Tteokbokki Town. Instant rice cakes is the name of the game here. You get to cook and eat it all from your own table. The food doesn’t come out prepared for you. This place has been in business from 1953. So they pretty much have the taste of it down to a tee. Also it has been on several TV shows. You will find no other food on the menu but there is sides on the menu that go well with the main dish like eggs or noodles. A good spot to check out for those who like a spicy kick their tteokbokki. For 2 people, it’s 11,00won and obviously the prices go up depending on the portion you order. A portion for 5 people is 24,000won. A popular restaurant with locals and tourists.
Cheong-nyun Tteokbokki (청년 떡볶이):
Probably the most popular rice cake restaurant in the Express Bus Terminal Shopping Centre. The word ‘Cheong-nyun’ in English means ‘Young man’. You must order and pay first but it’s not big issue I think. After this, the waiter will guide you to your seat. On the menu with rice cakes is fried shrimp and rice balls. All delicious. This place is guaranteed to fill your stomach. Rice cakes cost 3,00won. The fried shrimp ranges from 2,000won to 7,000won and the rice balls are about 1,500won ~ 2,000won. Expect it to be crowded, it is a well known food joint among locals especially.
Tong-in Market (통인시장):
This market was originally a local market for Japanese Residents during the Japanese colonial period. Tong-in Market first opened way back in 1941. After the Korean War, a bunch of food stores and shops started opening up in the area and on it went to become the Tong-in Market we know it as today. There is a bunch of banchan (반찬) stores in this market. 75 or so. The most famous Tteokbokki spot in this market is ‘Giruem Tteokbokki’ (기름 떡뽁이). It serves a white, spicy kind of rice cake for over 60 years. Another spot to try when you are at Tong-in market is called ‘Dosirak café’ (도시락 카페), this spot is great for eating cheap, tasty Korean side dishes. This café is open 11am to 4pm. A great tip is to purchase 10 coins (yeobjeon) for 5,000won and make your own lunch box. Weekdays before lunchtime are ideal.
Sindang-dong Tteokbokki town (신당동 떡볶이 타운):
This street is home to 15 Tteokbokki restaurants give or take a few. While it is thought of as a light snack, tteokbokki here is treated as a full course meal, cooked in large portions directly in front of you at the table. Also unlike the tteokbokki served from street food carts, Sindang-dong is the place to go to get a more pure taste of the rich history of this delicacy while sitting down and enjoying your meal in no great hurry. All restaurants on this street mostly have the same menu but each is unique in the way it prepares the food. Restaurateurs stand in front of their stores waving customers down.
Apple House (애풀하우스):
Some say this is the best tteokbokki spot in Seoul. This place serves instant rice cake with instant ramen noodle. It also comes with marinated and fried dumplings in a special chilli sauce. The price is ridiculously cheap and the place is quite well known so expect a queue to develop at peak hours. The cost of a portion in 2,500won and you can get 4 dumplings for 2,000won. You can find Apple House in Banpo. Super duper tasty!
Banjang Tteokbokki (반장 떡볶이):
Found in Garusogil. This Tteokbokki haunt offers 2 versions for customers to try. You can have the spicy version or less spicy version. One is made from spicy pepper paste (고추장) and the less spicy one is made from black bean paste (자장). You can pick the ingredients to put into your meal. After this, a huge pan is brought to your table and it will be cooked all in front of you. Make sure to get fried rice towards the end. They use the leftover sauce to do it. Its superb! Since this place to is really popular, try to go before peak hours to eat straight away. A 2 people portion is about 13,500 ~ 15,500won. Fried rice at the end is an extra 2,500won.Try whichever one catches your fancy. They are all good in my book.