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Posts Tagged ‘street food’

I feel like in every country I visit, there is one dish or snack that I feel compelled to consume as much of as possible during my trip. In Thailand, it was mangos and coconut milk sticky rice and in Korea, it was hotteok .

In Taipei, it was hot soft soymilk pudding with a sweet peanut soup and sweetened red beans. You can find dou hua 豆花 in many Cantonese dim sum restaurants, usually served with a sweet ginger syrup, and sometime I see it in Japan, drizzled with a black sugar syrup. Taipei serves it up at stalls devoted to Chinese style desserts soups, and you can add a variety of sweetened beans, mochi made of taro and yam, and jellies to your order.

My standing order was dou hua with hot sweet soy bean milk, boiled peanuts and sweetened large red beans. Most stalls serve their dou hua in a light sugar syrup, but I much preferred the hot soy milk instead. The dessert is light and not too sweet, the tofu is custardy and silken in texture, mixing well with the soft peanuts and red beans. I had it for breakfast, and as a late night snack after a day of eating. I even lugged back instant dou hua mix and peanut soup in an attempt to make it at my apartment, but it isn’t the same. I guess I’ll have to make a trip back to Taipei to eat it again 😀

Ningxia Night Market @ Taipei, Taiwan

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Taipei and I have history.

It is a city that is a food lover’s dream, with so many different and unique flavors, and a lovely attitude towards all things delicious. However, the last time I was visiting Ilha Formosa, I had an unfortunate case of bronchitis. After a visit to a Taiwanese doctor, I was promptly restricted from eating anything spicy, oily, fried or cold. In other words, everything to be found at a street market was off the menu for me. Being ill is probably the only time when I am not hungry, and while I saw a lot of what Taipei has to offer culturally and historically, my experience with Taipei’s food culture was limited to some steamed dumplings and rice porridge that I could barely taste due to my stuffed nose.

 I was so happy to be able to spent some time over New Year’s to finally explore and eat to my heart’s content. I should be a bit embarrassed to admit how many things we ate in Taipei, but you won’t find a shred of regret! I was lucky to go with two friends who love food just as much as I do, and didn’t think I was crazy at all for wanting to try a different night market every night, or take a train out of Taipei just to eat dinner.

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So, I’ve been trying to think of a way to present the rest of my photos of the yummy street foods to be found in Korea, and decided to do a massive post 🙂

Here we go!

First stop, the popular all in one corn dog! That’s right, a hot dog battered, then rolled in chopped french fries, and then deep fried. So crunchy and delicious, your mouth and arteries will sing at once ^^;; Really, it’s a pretty tasty snack, just make sure to slather on some ketchup.

Next up, the waffle sandwich! Freshly made thin (not Belgian style) waffle slathered with your choice of butter, jam, peanut butter, chocolate or honey (or a mix of everything!), and folded in half. I’m sure I was not the only girl craving a waffle after watching Coffee Prince (커피프린스 1호점) ^_^

Last stop is the snack booth! Hopefully there is a friendly ajusshi or ajumma manning this pick-a-mix of crunchy snacks. Everything from salty and sweet  rice crackers to fried dough snacks, and flavored nuts. If you are lucky, you might even get a couple scoops of extras as a “service” 😀

Pusan, South Korea

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Happy 2010! I can’t believe that another year has flown by so quickly. Foodwise, winter usually makes me think of baked goods and thick soups, fresh tea and oatmeal, you know, warming foods to chase away the cold that seeps into my uninsulated apartment and has taken over school hallways. >_<

For some reason, all I can think about today is this perfect skewer of sweet strawberries and grapes, dipped in molten red sugar and left to harden in the winter air of a Pusan street market. Candied fruit seems like an unlikely thing to associate with winter, but they make a regular appearance in Japan and China, as well as South Korea. In Japan, tiny apples and plums covered in hard sugar, or apricots and mikan in soft mizuame pop up at winter festivals on New Year’s Eve. In China, you can find tanghulu , the traditional sugar covered hawthorn fruit and foot long skewers of candied fruit from strawberries to kiwi and bananas, wrapped in a thin layer of rice paper to keep them from sticking to each other.

Since the ingredients of a candied fruit skewer are  just fruit, sugar and usually a dash of food coloring, it tastes sweet and fruity…but mostly just sweet. The draw for me is not the flavor so much as it is the texture. The crunch as you bite through the layer of hard sugar into the soft fruit is kind of addicting, and even as you complain that it is too sweet, or that the sugar has stuck in your teeth, you find yourself wanting another skewer the next time you walk past the stall.

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hotteok
Hotteok is a crispy pan fried pastry filled with a mix of brown sugar, peanuts, sesame seeds and cinnamon that turns into a molten syrup as it is is cooked on a open griddle. Usually they are served just as they are, pinched between a small sheet of thin cardboard, and eaten very carefully to avoid wasting any of the escaping sugary filling.

This is a “healthy” hotteok. Well, as healthy as any sugar filled fried snack can be 🙂
The filling includes green tea and black sesame, and is topped with ground soybeans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and ground peanuts. Yum! I couldn’t wait for it to cool down, and bit into it while it was still steaming, and managed to singe my tongue.
You know what you are eating is good when you continue chewing through the pain 😀 The doughy outside reminds me of elephant ears or you tiao.
The paper cup definitely helps catch any runaway syrup, and the sweet sugar and nuts are perfect with the mellow crunch of the chewy outside. Just let it cool off a bit before biting in, but I won’t judge if you can’t wait. I didn’t 😉

hotteok stall @ Insadong, Seoul, South Korea

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