Seoul is well known for its street food, as K-drama or K-variety show fans would know. Unfortunately, most of the snacks are not suitable for Muslims due to non-halal ingredients or cross-contamination with non-halal ingredients.
One of the street snacks that I really looked forward to, which I was very sure is OK to consume is hotteok. It is a deep-fried “dumpling”, with brown sugar and nuts encased in dough. Sounds yummy already right? I looked around for it over the several days I was in Seoul and finally found it one morning on a side-street along the way from our hotel to Jongno-gu 3-gil. It only cost 1000 won (around sgd 1.20) and the ahjussi uncle selling it is a smiley genial man. He must be used to tourists ‘cos even though he didn’t speak English, he guessed we didn’t know the drill and gestured to us to pick-up the folded white paper cup from in front of his stove and hand it to him to fill in the piping hot hotteok. My first bite into the pillowy soft dough, followed by the burst of flavor from the sweet and nutty filling was unforgettable.
Unfotunately, we didn’t see the ahjussi again and I didn’t manage to get more hotteok on the other days. Saw some at Namdaemun market on my last day there, but the queue was long and I didn’t have time to wait cos I only had a short time there before my flight. Recently, I came across this video at Seoulistic, and was pleasantly surprised to see the hotteok cart I’d bought from featured in it. (Ahjussi’s cart appears as the first of four hotteok places introduced)
Check out the original post on Seoulistic for maps to all the places mentioned. Ahjussi’s cart is the first on the list.