One of the most fun things to do in Busan, South Korea is to embark on a food trip. Busan cuisine reflects the city’s local tastes, culinary traditions, and geographical qualities. Though you’ll likely come across a dish that is a winsome mix of Korean food and foreign flavors.
Here are some must-try Busan Specialties you should include on your list.
Bibim Dangmyeon (Spicy Cold Glass Noodles)
Bibim dangmyeon is made with boiled glass noodles, pickled radish, fish cake, and vegetables. Add red sauce of chili pepper powder, sesame oil, and ground sesame with salt, and you have the historic Busan noodles in your bowl. This spicy cold glass noodle dish started as the primary food that refugees in the 1950s eat during their evacuation.
Milmyeon (Cold Wheat Noodles)
You should not leave Busan without having tasted milmyeon cold wheat noodles. It has thin slices of ice on broth, fine noodles, and spicy red chili pepper sauce on top. Many believe that milmyeon was first created during the Korean War. Refugees from North Korea would sell cold needles that were made with buckwheat flour. However, growing buckwheat in the warmer region of Busan was not possible. They substituted buckwheat with wheat flour, which was more accessible then.
Dwaeji-gukbap (Pork and Rice Soup)
Have a bowl of pork bone broth with pork meat and rice. You can enjoy dwaeji-gukbap pork and rice soup with kkakdugi, cubed radish, kimchi, and buchu muchim.
According to historical records, Busan ancestors enjoy clear meat broths in ancient times, and that soaking rice into soup had been a culinary custom even before the Joseon period, 1392-1910. The origin of Busan’s dwaeji-gukbap can be traced back to the 1950s. Refugees then could not afford to buy meat, so they sought pork bones from the U.S. military, mixed a pig head and other porcine organs, and brewed it.
Savor the famous Korean barbecue! You can delight in the juiciest meat in town at An Ga in Haeundae. Samgyeopsal, or grilled pork belly, is sliced into thin pieces and cooked on a grill at your table. Once cooked, you can wrap the meat in thick lettuce leaves and finish it with a dash of spicy gochujang sauce.
Indulge in Jangeo-gui, another seafood adventure to try in Busan. Jangeo-gui is grilled freshwater eel that many Koreans eat during summer. Before grilling the eel, it must be filleted and cut into small pieces. The strips can be seasoned with soy sauce, green onions, sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, or sesame seeds. Another way to serve Jangeo-gui is by broiling the eel. Like samgyeopsal, the cooked eel can be wrapped with lettuce leaves or sesame leaves and dipped in different sauces.
Complete your South Korea food trip with Jogae gui and accompanied by beer or soju! Jogae means clams and Gui means grill. This is popular at seaside restaurants in Korea’s coastal towns. The clams are slowly grilled over an open flame. You can dip the clams in chogochujang or soy sauce with wasabi. The types of clams depend on the availability at the restaurant.
Delight in ssiat hotteok, a sweet pancake filled with brown sugar syrup. It also comes with seeds or nuts. You can buy ssiat hotteok at restaurants and street stalls and watch it being cooked in oil. If you want to learn how to make Korean pancake, book your Korean Rice Wine and Pancake Making Class in Busan today.
Feast on a Korean bapsang, a traditional Korean meal that features meat, vegetables, soups, and various sides, such as glass noodles and fish cakes. You can try fish with squash, jeyuk-bokkeum, and sundubu jjigae. Restaurants also serve greens, kimchi, and a salad with sweet black sesame dressing.
You may want to end your meal with a mound of snow-like shaved ice deliciously adorned with various toppings like fruits, rice cakes, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, or cheese. It is coated with syrup, condensed milk, red bean paste, and whipped cream. You will notice that there are many establishments that make their own twist on this refreshing delight.