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Feb 16, 2007 12:42 PM

Street food longings

Last night I couldn't sleep thinking about various street foods around the world that are not readily available in this gastro-paradise, New York.

Do you have a street food you long for from your homeland or your travels?

Here are some of mine:

1) In Korea there are numerous street vendors who set up shop on the streets, with just a picnic table and a tarp for protection. My favorite thing to get is duk-bok-kee, a dense, sticky, chewy rice cake (comes in thick and thin - I lean towards the thick) in a red-hot sauce . They also serve a brothy fish cake soup, with the fish cake on small skewers. What a combo!

As I recall, these street vendors are around all year. In the summer, you eat the spicy rice cakes sweating from the heat of the sun and the food. In the winter, the warming sensation of the foods contrast so nicely with the chilly air.

2) Bratwurst in Germany. Most meat stores have small openings out into the street. They'll grill a bratwurst, place it on a crusty white roll, and you gobble it up on the street with some good mustard. Some places also serve currywursts - wursts chopped into thick slices, sprinkled with curry powder and ketchup. Something about eating these on the street made them taste so much superior.

3) Warm goffre. A sticky belgian walffle I had off a cart in Paris one cold winter day. I was a poor student and this was the treat of my life!

4) Hot dog stands in Vancouver. They were made with 100% beef or vegetarian, and came with a great variety of condiments.

5) Gelato gelato gelato! Italy and Germany's got them everywhere. Why don't we???

I would love to hear about other street foods you love - perhaps it'll help me plan out my future travels.

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  1. ohhhhhh I was just thinking about all the great korean street foods when I saw the title of your thread..then I read what you put down on number 1

    I too love spicey ddeok bok gee and odeng with the awesome broth that you drink in the small paper cups. I also love that the ddeok bok gee is way better then anything you can get at home or at a restaurant, because the deeok bok gee broth has been simmering all day and you can also continually add the broth from the odeng which has also been simmering all day. oh my god - heaven

    I also love the following from korea:

    1) soondae (korean blood sausage) freshly steamed and cut and served with offal on a plastic bag covered plate, eaten with tooth picks. I never know the offal I'm eating, but it all tastes good especailly the steamed liver.

    2) dried squid or some other kind of dried seafood product that is circular and flat in shape (I have no idea what its called or what its made of).

    3) ho deok - which is a flat pancaked gridled and smashed down on a grill like at a diner. Its sweet and usually stuffed with brown sugar, honey, nuts or pine nuts.

    4) dont' know the name, but its fish shaped pancakes stuffed with sweet red bean filling. This is a popular snack food during the winter months.

    5) roasted korean sweet potatos sold by old korean men in the cold winter months

    6) rotisserie chicken from the back of someone's truck that has been roasted to perfection and served with those yummy pickled radishes that also accompany korean fried chicken. However the first and only time i had this rotisserie chicken I had the worst case of food poisoning - however I would eat it again (:

    7) oi jeong o twi gim - deep fried squid with batter. Its kind of like squid tempura. The last time I was in korea a father and daughter team were making this in the parking lot of my aunt's apartment complex and I just had to try it. They deep fry to order and pack it in newspaper surrounded by a plastic bag. I like it dipped in soy sauce flecked with gochugaru.

    7) seafood pancakes or kimchi pancakes served warm

    thats all I can think of now, but all of these go with yogurt from the yogurt lady dressed in yellow

    11 Replies
    1. re: bitsubeats

      I think #4 is boong-uh-bbahng? I think it means "goldfish bread" when it's translated from Korean. I've burned my tongue a countless number of times because I couldn't wait for the red bean filling to cool before taking a big chomp out of it. (I used to go to a Korean supermarket in Los Angeles that made these fresh everyday, so it's not impossible to find in the states)

      Korea has amazing street food. the blood sausage is great - warm, with a barely chewy exterior and a soft, almost moist interior - so good. Walking down any well-populated street in Seoul is a feast for the senses - there's so many delicious and simple (and often, very portable) treats everywhere!

      bitsubeats pretty much covered it all. my most recent discovery was last summer in Korea - caramelized sweet potatoes in bite-sized squares, served in a paper cone. yum! I think it's called go-goo-mah-tahng? (not sure)

      1. re: bijoux16

        Right! boong-uh-bbahng. My mom calls the pool-bbahng - probably a provincial thing.

        1. re: bijoux16

          bitsubeats did cover most of it, from what i remember. but sometimes, when you were just a little tired of ddukbokki (sounds impossible, i know) i used to love getting simple bags of roasted chestnuts, whole roasted sweet potato, or steamed corn on the cob. and in the summer, you can get whole slabs of melon or pineapple, and let's not forget about pat bing su, sweet red beans over shaved ice.

          i could never work up the courage to eat the bbondegi, or larvae. the smell....god no...

          a friend that just visited seoul told me that the roadside drinking tents, the pojangmacha, are disappearing from the city, which makes me sad if that's true. i have great memories of drinking soju in those orange tents, eating the sauteed chicken gizzards, or odol-bbyo, the spicy pork riddled with cartilage, or...oh i forgot the name of it..the snails in spicy kochujang sauce. my mom would always get upset when i told her what i ate while out drinking with friends the night before, but that is some damn good food.

          1. re: augustiner

            the snails are gol bang gi. well they are sea snails, I don't know if the ones you are talking about are land snails.

            I hate korean corn!! Its steamed and is incredibly starchy and sticks to your teeth when you eat the kernels. I also love how koreans eat corn. They pick off each kernel with their fingers instead of gnawing off the ears like westerners do.

            my mother will pay top dollar for korean corn in the states. I think its the corn that farmers give to their livestock :/

            1. re: bitsubeats

              I love Korean corn! And I love to eat it kernel by kernel, too, even though I've never been to Korea. In Taiwan there's the salted steamed corn as well as the various grilled corn with soy sauce, hot sauce, and from some vendors, special secret spices they add. They also have different techniques in grilling corn: some have special procedures where the corn is rolled over hot stones until the skin is charred and flaking off, then the secret sauce is applied, and then finally sesame seeds sprinkled over all...

              " mother will pay top dollar for korean corn in the states. I think its the corn that farmers give to their livestock...
              Ever since I've been in the States, I've also been looking for the special corn that isn't readily available here. Way back when someone had suggested that its' the corn that farmers give to their livestock, but it turned out, much later, that there's actually a different type of corn. The first time I had the Vietnamese white glutinous corn I was SO it was much closer to the ones I've had in Taiwan! I just didn't know how to grill it, but steamed or boiled was already very good.

              Then there was one encounter with the Peruvian giant corn (also white) that were similar to the ones in Pozoles, except this wasn't dried, but maybe frozen. It was not as sticky as the Vietnamese.

              Then finally I stumbled onto the Korean corn..yellow and appearing to be similar to the American corn, but stickier when warm, and hard when it turned old, but still more flavorful to me than the American corn....I wish I had known of all these cross cultural possibilities from the very start!

        2. re: bitsubeats

          Number 4, I believe, comes from Japan, and is known as Taiyaki. Every time I'm in Tokyo, I make a special trip to the Sugamo section, to get some Taiyaki at a stand that is easy to find due to the long lines. For those living in the NY/Metro area, the Ft. Lee New Jersey Mitsuwa market has a Taiyaki stand, as does the Flushing/Union Street Han-A-Reum market.

          I too pine away for the street food in Korea. Last year, I had my fill of sweet potatoes, silk worms, and thick red bean pancakes that I have dubbed, "machisoyo burgers". In Seoul, although I didn't try them, I noted that a number of vendors sold hot dogs and corn dogs on a stick, some of them actually covered in layers of french fries spread every which way, looking like some kind of surreal porcupine at the end of a stick.

          1. re: Polecat

            I loved the silk worms sold in newspaper cones! Did you know Korean groceries sell them in cans? Long ago, my brother and I bought some one day and tried to microwave them. NOT the brightest idea...

            I love the street corn dogs. Last time I was in Korea, they were selling them in subway vending machines. An atrocity! The french fry version's a new one for me.

            1. re: yumyumyogi

              I got served my worms out of a styrophoam cup, in the Insaedon (excuse the spelling) area. It came with a toothpick, for convenient spearing. One cup-full was very filling. I couldn't finish it all. P.

              1. re: Polecat

                That's too bad. I guess they've "advanced" into styrofoam. No food should ever be served in that material.

            2. re: Polecat

              machisoyo burgers? awesome...cute name (:

              you can get those red bean pancakes in the frozen section at the korean grocery store. I like to pop them in the toaster oven, korean version of pop tarts

              I know what hot dog concoction you are talking about. I saw them all over the place out side of dong dae mun or nam dae mun, I forget. Its basically a hot dog coated in french fries and deep fried. I was too scared to try it

            3. re: bitsubeats

              I've seen your "circular" #2 in Korean supermarkets.

              It's called jui-po, a number of filefish (juichi) fillets assembled, smooshed/flattened/shaped together and dried.

            4. "ho deok - which is a flat pancaked gridled and smashed down on a grill like at a diner. Its sweet and usually stuffed with brown sugar, honey, nuts or pine nuts." YUM! Forgot about those!

              "dont' know the name, but its fish shaped pancakes stuffed with sweet red bean filling. This is a popular snack food during the winter months." I believe those are called "pool-bbahng," which translates into "glue bread." Again, YUM!

              Unfortunately, I've never tried #7 on your list. I'd love to try them. I know the Han Ah Rheum in Flushing, on N. Blvd. has something like a street cart outside the grocery. Wonder if they would have them?

              I don't know where you reside, but I think it's the cold weather here in NY that's triggering these cravings.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yumyumyogi

                "ho deok". thanks, yumyum.
                these are the "machisoyo burgers" I referred to above.
                Up until last year, I had only gotten the Han-A-Reum frozen version. The ones sold on the streets of Seoul were a revelation to me. So delicious, I can't believe it's legal.

              2. I live in boston, so I feel your cold weather pains...I think you are even getting more snow then me

                yeah, go gu mah means sweet potato in korean.

                when I was little I used to bite off the head and squeeze out the red bean filling out of the fishes. my mother would get so pissed, but i hated the filling when I was little. I think I was 10-12 years old. Now of course there is nothing korean that I dont like, I will happily devour all red bean filling

                is your username yum yum yogi korean? yum yum "here" ?

                1 Reply
                1. re: bitsubeats

                  No, it's the Sanskrit yogi, thus upside-down.

                2. Not as exotic as the above, since I haven't travelled that much: the 99 Flake ice cream sold in trucks all over the UK.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: piccola

                    Fun! So they make it fresh off of the trucks, not the prepackaged kind? Which would you get, the strawberry or the raspberry?

                    1. re: yumyumyogi

                      Actually, those are two separate products. There's the packaged kind sold by Cadbury's, and the truck kind - basically a soft-serve cone with a Flake bar shoved in it. But the combo of creamy ice cream and crisp chocolate is sooooooo good.

                      1. re: piccola

                        Sounds tasty. It might be fun to buy a Flake bar from one of the UK stores here and try creating my own version of it. Are the soft serves off trucks in the UK of better quality than in the States?

                        1. re: yumyumyogi

                          I think the two soft-serves are pretty equal. IMO, the only thing that could make this combo better is a quality cone instead of the usual cardboardy one. With a decent waffle cone...

                  2. oh, man...

                    in Korea: hodduk...'cos it's THAT much better than hoihoi (of the prepackaged, microwavable variety found in the freezer case of markets)
                    goon gogeuma
                    coffee milk from those yellow-uniform-wearing, yellow-cart-hauling ladies. They rock my world.

                    in Italy and Germany (and kinda in parts of Paris, I guess): gelati (especially the fruit and yogurt flavors)

                    in Germany: Currywurst and other Wuerste
                    I guess ueberbackene Doener wouldn't count, right? Schade :/

                    Would it count as street food if all I did was walk around and consume it? Or does it have to be from a street vendor? If walking counts, I'd say palmiers and almond croissants from La Duree. I wouldn't bother staying indoors.

                    in LA? Really cinnamony churros. I have yet to try the spiced wares from the fruit vendors-- maybe this summer?

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: PseudoNerd

                      I think it does count as street food if you think it tastes better eaten on the street rather than inside. Where is La Duree?

                      Spiced street fruit? That's new. Is it anything like the mangoes on a stick?

                      Also, what's ueberbackene Doener? Is that the raw meat & onion dish?

                      1. re: yumyumyogi

                        you should read the LA & NYC boards -- the street cart discussions always make me so envious!

                        p.s. I suspect La Duree is Laduree -- the bakery in Paris.

                        1. re: orangewasabi

                          Correct! I was thinking of another name, but that is the bakery I meant. Sorry, but I did post really late...! >_<

                          As for ueberbackene Doener (sometimes listed in a menu in the singular as Doenber ueberbacken), it's just the same meat with a sauce, onions, and cheese-- only, the entire thing is put in the microwave/oven for about 10 min.

                          If you're in LA, there are fruit vendors in Latino-populated areas. You get a mixed (quite literally) bag with various fruit, some spices (generally paprika and cayenne?), and salt.

                          1. re: PseudoNerd

                            That spicy mixed fruit sounds like such a treat!

                            And thanks, orangewasabi, for directing me to the LA street eats boards. Now I have even more reason to want to move to the West Coast.

                            1. re: yumyumyogi

                              you can get spicy mixed fruit at the Red Hook soccer fields spring through fall-- search NY outer borough boards if you don't know what I'm talking about.

                              1. re: bess

                                Thanks for the tip, bess! I had never heard of the Red Hook soccer field food vendors. A big incentive to head over and explore. Too bad they don't remain open in the winter. Here's a link I found on one of the boards with a map:


                          2. re: orangewasabi

                            Actually, it's Laduree, but I spelled it incorrectly at 2AM.

                            As for ueberbackene Doener, it's just a dish with the same meat, but served fresh from the oven (or microwave) with onions, tomato, and cheese-- seriously bad for you but AMAZING.

                            Fruit with spices: in Latino-populated areas in LA, there are fruit vendors who sell a mixed bag (quite literally) of fruit chunks with spices (cayenne and paprika, I believe) and salt.