Friday, February 19, 2010

Street Food – Hoddeok

Street food. It's everywhere. No matter the area or the back street you take, there it is... calling your name. Street food is an accentuated drive-thru, or walk-thru rather, with the ambiance of a home cooked meal.

Buying food from a street vendor is one of the best and most convenient places to get a quick snack or the midnight munchies after a night out. The foods they serve are usually good to eat while standing or wrapped to go (finger foods / food on a stick, or even in a cup). Some vendors have cheap chairs or benches to sit on while eating. Most of the vendors have carts on wheels and some of the better ones even have tarps up so that you can eat without standing in the rain. Some of the carts have natural gas tanks for the grills as well as generators for lights and other utilities.

Hoddeok Copy

Ho-ddeok or Ho-tteok 호떡 is a variety of filled Korean pancake, and is a popular street food of Korea. It is usually eaten during the winter season.  Normally it sells for around 500 won ($0.50).  This is another one of those snacks that isn’t good for you, but tastes so good.  But really, what kind of street snack is good for you anyway?  In December a little shop opened up that sell these wonderful and delicious snacks.  I figure if I stay away from them during the week and I can feel good about getting one on the weekends.

The dough for ho-ddeok is made from wheat flour, water, milk, sugar, and yeast. The dough is allowed to rise for several hours. Handful-sized balls of this stiff dough are filled with a sweet mixture, which may contain brown sugar, honey, chopped peanuts, and/or cinnamon. The filled dough is then placed on a greased griddle, and pressed flat into a large circle with a special tool with a stainless steel circle and wooden handle as it cooks.

The last time we went to our local hoddeok shack the lady had just opened and was just about to start making the hoddeok.  Using my limited Korean I told her we’d come back in 10 minutes (십 분 = ship boon).  She smiled / laughed and nodded.  When we returned there was another couple there and I overheard her call us friends in Korean (친구 = chin-gu), I think she likes us!

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Jana and Krista enjoying a fresh hoddeok

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Here is a short clip of it being prepared (click here if you’re viewing from email).


Vanessa Rogers said...

That is my absolute FAVORITE food in Korea! Where we are though no one sells them which makes me very sad.

Jon and Krista said...

Sad news! Two weekends ago we were on an Adventure Korea trip, and when we came back the shop/stand completely disappeared. However, it is sold at the market a few blocks from our apartment!

You should come to our area for some hoddeok! :)