Korean street food with a difference at Noryangjin Station, Seoul.

On my last visit to Noryangjin Fish Market I noticed some interesting street food happenings in the area immediately beside Noryangjin station. Alongside the usual dukbokki and tempura places, there were a few stalls serving up some food I’d never seen on the street in Korea before. I was naturally intrigued, but with time pressing on and several pounds worth of raw seafood in the offing, I was unable to investigate further.

Last Friday, however, Sarah and I made a dedicated stop off at the station on our way to see the Hi Seoul festival opening fireworks display at Yeouido. We were both more or less straight from school, so with hungry bellies and Friday optimism we embarked on one of our first wandering grazes for quite some time. Here’s how we got on.

Our first stop was at a stall selling jaeyuk deopbap (spicy pork with rice.) Although a common Korean dish that can be bought cheaply in any number of canteens and restaurants, I’d never seen it for sale on the street before and was very interested as to how it would turn out. As it happens, it turned out pretty good. The pork was of a better quality than a lot I have eaten at bricks and mortar establishments, and the accompanying spicy sauce was certainly no less tasty. The dish was topped off with strips of kim (dried seaweed,) sesame seeds and a squirt of chunjang (black bean paste,) that when mixed in well made for a very spicy, salty and tasty bowl of rice indeed. At only 1600 won it was also very cheap.

On offer at the next stall was bibimbap. Apart from the excellent barley version at Gwangjang Market, this is another dish I haven’t really seen outside of restaurants and canteens. Here, a fried egg topped off a simple bowl of rice, vegetables and gochujang. The egg was warm and the ingredients all tasted fresh – no better or worse than most bibimbap but at only1600 won a fair bit cheaper!

Lastly, we decided to hit a stall selling jumukbap. Jumukbap are balls of rice, meat and shredded kim that are closely related to kimbap. They seem to take a number of different forms, but this incarnation involved a fist size ball of sticky rice stuffed with kimchi, raw onion, mayonnaise and an additional meat filling of your choice. The rice ball is topped off with some chunjang and served on a square of tinfoil. Somehow I ended up with a piece of rice cake wrapped in meat on the top of mine, but I don’t this is the norm (rather it was down to my poor ordering skills!) Unlike other jumukbap I’ve had the meat was enclosed inside the rice ball rather than mixed in, which I thought made it a little less homogeneous tasting. Overall it was cheap, filling, tasty and portable – everything good street food should be.

All in all some good street food – definitely worth a stop and a good alternative to the nearby fish market if you happen to be visiting the area with someone who doesn’t like fish (there’s always one, isn’t there?!)