Korea's street food culture isn't for the faint of heart

SEOUL, South Korea — You have to be willing to leave your comfort zone if you truly want to experience Korean street food culture.

For a trio of sports reporters living off cafeteria burgers for three weeks, that was a no-brainer considering the country’s street eats reputation. So we ventured out to Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest traditional markets in Seoul.

There were plenty of layups for even the most basic palettes. There’s bindaetteok, a mung bean pancake that kind of tastes like a jacked up hash brown, or hotteok, a dessert pancake stuffed with brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts.

But if you’re feeling like a big baller, you might want to check out some of the more exotic offerings. Like chicken feet. They look how they sound, but they’re really not all that bad — just a little tendony. I can’t vouch for the octopus, which is still squirming on your plate when it’s served to you. Apparently it stops moving if you douse it in enough hot sauce, though. And of course there’s traditional favourites like tteokbokki, a rice cake noodle doused in sauce, and kimbap, which is Korea’s take on sushi — both delightful.

The best part was how easy and accessible it all was. You just pop a squat at your spot of choice, eat your food and move on to the next one. The options are endless. Unless you’re looking for a poutine or slice of pizza.

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