The Ultimate Guide to the Best Korean Snacks – Bokksu Market

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Korean Snacks

by Bokksu Staff

In recent years, the irresistible charm of Korean snacks have added a delightful dimension to the snack scene. Ranging from savory treats bursting with bold flavors to sweet indulgences, these snacks provide a tempting peek into Korea's rich food culture and are increasingly winning over global audiences. Whether you're a seasoned fan of Korean cuisine or new to the world of Korean snacks, this guide is your passport to an unforgettable snacking experience.

Hotteok, a famous street food in Korea.

Exploring the Variety of Korean Snacks Available

Korean markets are a treasure trove of culinary delights, with an extensive array of snacks that cater to every palate, from savory bites that pack a flavorful punch to sweet confections that melt in your mouth. Each snack serves as a delectable representation of Korean flavors and creativity.

Sweet Korean Snacks

Korean snacks provide an enticing assortment of products to indulge your sweet cravings, featuring classic favorites like Choco Pies and Pepero chocolate sticks, as well as a selection of cookies, frozen treats, and sweet chips.

Choco Pie: Korea's Beloved Chocolate Treat

Choco Pie, a famous snack in Korea.

 One simply cannot leave out Korea's Choco Pie when discussing must-try Korean snacks. This delectable confection features a soft, pillowy cake layered with creamy marshmallow filling and coated in smooth, rich chocolate. Its versatility seamlessly suits different occasions, whether enjoyed as a quick snack, dessert, or shared treat with loved ones.

The Choco Pie's journey begins with a friendly rivalry between two giants in the Korean snack industry – Orion and Lotte. Orion takes the crown for being the pioneer, introducing Choco Pie to Korea in 1974. Lotte, not far behind, entered the scene in 1979, stirring up debates among snack enthusiasts about which version is superior. While both brands feature the same soft cake filled with marshmallow and covered in chocolate, some fans claim nuances in taste, highlighting Orion's Choco Pie for its richer chocolate coating and Lotte's for its lighter, fluffier texture. However, the real fun begins with the flavors each brand brings to the table. Lotte tempts with choices like banana, cacao, green tea, and black sugar milk tea, while Orion charms with a wider lineup, including injeolmi (a Korean rice cake variety), black sesame rice, strawberry blossom, and raspberry. Ultimately, the choice between Orion and Lotte Choco Pies comes down to individual taste preferences.

Choco Pies, whether from Orion or Lotte, have woven itself into the fabric of Korean households, blending nostalgia, comfort, and irresistible sweetness into a staple snack in pantries across Korea. Cherished by people of all ages, these iconic treats bring back memories of childhood and family gatherings. Moreover, amidst a world of indulgent options, Choco Pies stand out as an affordable yet fulfilling treat. Their accessible price point make them accessible to a wide range of households, ensuring that everyone can enjoy this treat without breaking the bank. In fact, Choco Pies have been featured in numerous Korean dramas, movies, and variety shows, showcasing them as a budget-friendly alternative for birthday cakes and other celebratory occasions.

Pepero: More Than Just a Snack, A Cultural Phenomenon

Korean snacks, Pepero sticks.

In the world of chocolate-coated pretzel sticks, Japan boasts Pocky, while Korea features Pepero. Since its introduction by Lotte Confectionery Co. in 1983, Pepero has swiftly become a beloved part of South Korea's snack culture. In fact, they are so popular that every November 11th, South Korea comes alive into celebration for Pepero Day. Wondering why November 11th? Well, it's because the date "11/11" resembles two pairs of Pepero sticks placed side by side.

Pepero Day is more than just a celebration of a snack; it's a day of sharing and expressing love and affection. People exchange Pepero sticks with loved ones and friends, adding a sweet touch to their relationships. What's more, there's a fun belief that when you eat 11 packs of Pepero sticks on November 11th, precisely at 11:11 AM and 11:11 PM within 11 seconds, it will make you tall and thin like the Pepero stick itself! Beyond the joyful exchanges and playful beliefs, Pepero Day also unveils new box designs and flavors of Pepero, showcasing the innovation and variety that keeps this snack relevant and exciting year after year.

At present, there are more than 30 different Pepero flavors. While the classic chocolate-coated Pepero remains a crowd favorite, there's a wide array of options to suit different tastes, including almond, white cookie, strawberry, and even unique flavors like hami melon and sweet corn. Moreover, there's another variation of Pepero known as Double Dip Pepero. Similar to the original Pepero but features two coatings instead of one, these sticks are shorter and chunkier. Additionally, a notable difference between Japan's Pocky and Korea's Pepero is the Pepero Nude variety. Unlike the classic chocolate-coated sticks, these ones are filled with chocolate instead, like in Pepero: Chocolate Filled and Pepero: Nude Cream Cheese.

Discover more about the realm of chocolate-coated pretzel stick snacks by reading our article here

Turtle Chips: The Crunchy Sensation Taking Over Snack Time

Turtle chips, one of the famous Korean snacks.

If you're a snack enthusiast with a penchant for crunch and flavor, then Turtle Chips might just be your new obsession. Turtle Chips, also called Kkobuk Chips, are products of South Korean food company, Orion. These chips are renowned for their distinctive appearance and texture, achieved through four crunchy layers of potato chips stacked to look like turtle shells. These chips offer a mix of sweet and salty flavors, just like freshly steamed or boiled corn, and leave a creamy, buttery taste after each satisfying crunch.

Since its launch in 2017, the brand has introduced a range of flavors, maintaining its signature crunch across all variants. Beside the classic sweet corn flavor, this product boasts at least ten other options, some of which are exclusive to specific countries. These include enticing flavors like seaweed, chocolate churros, cinnamon, and sweet soybean.

Dive into the delicious world of Turtle Chips by checking out our article here.

Honey Butter Chips: A Sensation of Honey and Buttery Richness

Honey butter chips, a famous product in Korea.

 Launched by Haitai-Calbee in 2014, Honey Butter Chips has taken Korea by storm, captivating taste buds with its unique blend of sweet and savory goodness. Each bite of these airy and crispy potato chips deliver a symphony of flavors – starting with the sweetness of acacia honey, followed by the luxurious creaminess of gourmet butter, all complemented by a touch of salt that elevates the taste to perfection. The snack quickly became a cultural phenomenon, sparking a honey butter craze back in 2014 that spread across Korea and beyond, causing them to go out of stock as soon as they hit the shelves. Such is the demand that certain convenient stores limit purchases to just one bag per customer, ensuring everyone can enjoy this beloved snack.

Melona: A Refreshing Treat to Beat the Heat

Melona is a fruit-flavored ice cream bar renowned for its creamy and refreshing texture, making it a perfect choice for cooling off on a hot summer day. The smooth consistency of Melona melts in your mouth, offering a burst of fruity goodness with every bite. It boasts a variety of flavors including the classic honeydew, strawberry, mango, banana, coconut, ube, and pistachio.

Samanco: A Fish-Shaped Ice Cream Treat

Samanco is the Korean ice cream sandwich version of Korea's Bungeoppang, or Korean Fish Shaped Pastry. At its core is a layer of sweet red bean paste sandwiched between two soft and chewy fish-shaped wafers. The wafers provide a delicate crunch that gives way to the creamy richness of the red bean filling, resulting in a delightful sensory experience with every bite. The classic Samanco, known for its red bead paste, is available in four additional variations: strawberry, chocolate, green tea, and brown sugar boba. These flavorful options provide a refreshing twist on the classic dessert.

Savory Delights

Korean savory snacks are a delightful fusion of bold flavors, crunchy textures, and innovative ingredients. They come in various forms, including chips, crackers, rice cakes, dried fish, and more. Each type of snack offers a different texture and flavor profile, providing a wide range of options for every snacking occasion.

Shrimp Crackers: A Burst of Umami Goodness in Every Crunch

Korean snacks, shrimp crackers

Created by Nongshim, a South Korean food and beverage company famous worldwide for its instant noodle brands like Shin Ramyun, Shrimp Crackers or Saeukkang, stand as the brand's iconic snack. Since its debut in 1971, this snack has won over the hearts of consumers. Resembling French fries in shape, Shrimp Crackers combine the natural umami richness of shrimp with a crispy and crunchy cracker texture. These crackers are made from shrimps from the North Jeolla Province and are baked, not fried unlike other shrimp snacks in the market. They come in a variety of flavors, from the classic shrimp flavor to spicy variants.

Tteokbokki Rice Cake Chips: A Fiery Kick in Every Crunch

Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), a popular Korean street food, has made its way into the world of snacks with Tteokbokki Rice Cake Chips. These crispy treats offer a delightful fusion of traditional flavors and modern snacking convenience. They replicate the shape of real tteokbooki but in the form of chips and delivers the same combination of sweet and spicy that people love. The spicy seasoning gives each chip a spicy kick that tingles your taste buds with every crunch. They come in various flavors and intensities, catering to different preferences. Some brands offer a milder version for those who prefer a less spicy experience, while others go all-in with an extra kick of spiciness. It's a perfect snack for those who enjoy a bit of heat in their munchies.

Seaweed Chips: A Taste of the Ocean in Every Bite

In the realm of savory snacks, Korean seaweed chips, or Gim-bugak, have emerged as a beloved snack, thanks to its unique blend of taste, crunch, and health benefits. Seaweed chips are crafted from fried seaweed pieces, blended with salt, glutinous rice, and sesame seed, creating a harmonious umami flavor profile. The crispy rice coating contributes to their crunchy texture and their earthy and natural appearance add to their charm.

Beyond their delicious flavor and texture, Seaweed chips offer a range of health benefits. Packed with protein, minerals, and vitamins such as A, B6, and B12, they are a hit among health-conscious consumers. With fewer calories than many other snacks, seaweed chips are a wholesome snacking option. Regular consumption is linked to improved thyroid and gut health, thanks to the presence of iodine and fiber. They also contribute to heart health by promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Additionally, their low-calorie content, coupled with the protein and fiber content, makes them a weight-friendly snack option.

Seaweed chips were once exclusively traditional Asian foods but today, the love for these snacks has crossed borders, and you can find them anywhere in the world, including the US.

Discover more about Korean seaweed chips in our article here.

Korean Almonds: A Nutty Trend with Bold Flavors

HBAF Korean Style Almonds: Creme Brulee

Korean-style almonds offer a wide range of flavors, from savory to sweet and everything in between, setting them apart from standard snacks. The nutty richness of roasted or toasted almonds are enhanced by a mix of unique and traditional flavors such as caramel and pretzel, matcha, and baked corn.

The Korean almond craze took off with HBAF's (formerly known as Tom's Farm) Honey Butter Almond. The blend of rich butter and sweet honey coating the almonds has propelled these snacks to immense popularity, generating sales of over $100 million a year. Over the years, they've expanded their offerings to include other exciting flavors like Tteokbokki, Roasted Laver (seaweed), and Toffee Nut Latte.

Discover more about Korean-style almonds by checking out our article here.

Street Food Snacks

Korean street food is a vibrant tapestry of flavors, textures, and aromas that beckon adventurous eaters to indulge in a gastronomic journey unlike any other. From deep-fried snacks to savory pancakes, here are some of the most iconic Korean street food snacks that are sure to tantalize your taste buds and ignite your culinary curiosity.

Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes)

Tteokbokki, a famous street dish from Korea.

Tteokbokki is a beloved street food dish that features chewy rice cakes cooked in fiery gochujang (Korean chili paste) sauce. The spicy and slightly sweet flavor profile of tteokbokki is complemented by the addition of fish cakes, boiled eggs, and sometimes ramyeon noodles, creating a hearty and satisfying snack that packs a flavorful punch.

Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)

Hotteok, a famous street food in Korea.

Hotteok is a delightful Korean pancake filled with a sweet mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and crush peanuts. These crispy and chewy pancakes are cooked to perfection on griddles and are popular during chilly days.

Dalgona

Dalgona, a traditional South Korean sweet treat, has seen a resurgence in popularity in the recent years, thanks to its appearances in the hit Netflix Korean series "Squid Game", and the viral Dalgona coffee trend during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Dalgona has deep roots in Korean culinary traditions, dating back generations as a beloved homemade confectionery shaped into intricate designs. Its simple yet delightful combination of sugar and baking soda creates a crunchy, caramelized candy that melts in your mouth.

Odeng (Fish Cake Skewers)

Odeng, or Korean fish cake skewers, feature fish cakes and other ingredients like boiled eggs and vegetables, all skewered and cooked in a savory broth. The result is a flavorful and satisfying snack that's both comforting and delicious.

Bungeoppang (Carp Bread)

Bungeoppang, a famous street dish in Korea.

Inspired by Japan's taiyaki, this fish-shaped pastry is filled with delicious fillings. Traditionally, bungeoppang is filled with sweet red bean paste, offering a delightful contrast to the crispy outer shell. However, modern variations have expanded the options to include fillings like custard, chocolate, and cream cheese.

Twigim (Korean Fried Snacks)

Twigim refers to a variety of deep-fried snacks commonly found in Korean street markets. From crispy tempura-style vegetables like sweet potatoes and onions to savory treats like squid and shrimp, twigim offers a diverse range of flavors and textures that cater to every palate.

Gimbap or Kimbap (Korean Rice Rolls)

Gimbap or Kimbap, a street food common in Korea.

Gimbap is Korea's version of Japan's sushi rolls, featuring seasoned rice rolled in seaweed sheets along with a variety of fillings such as vegetables, egg strips, pickled radish, and sometimes meat or seafood.

Korean Corn Dogs

Korean corn dogs have been making waves in the culinary world with their unique take on a beloved classic. Instead of the usual cornmeal batter used in their Western counterparts, these corn dogs are coated in a mixture of flour, sugar, and yeast, resulting in a slightly sweet and chewy exterior. In addition to the traditional corn dog, Korea boasts other enticing variations that deserve a spot at the top of your must-try list, such as Korean Cheese Dogs filled with either mozzarella or cheddar, as well as Potato Corn Dogs coated with bits of French fries or sweet potatoes.

Korean-style corn dogs

 

Healthy Korean Snack Options

The increased emphasis on healthy eating in recent years has generated a demand for nutritious snack alternatives. In Korean markets, you can find an assortment of dried fruits like apricots, figs, mangoes, and cranberries, all brimming with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, making them a wholesome snacking choice. Additionally, markets in Korea feature an extensive range of nuts, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews, which are packed with beneficial fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, providing a boost of energy and promoting heart health. Whether enjoyed on their own or added to dishes, dried fruits and nuts offer a delicious means of supporting your well-being while satisfying your snack cravings.

DIY Korean Snacks: Recipes to Try at Home

Exploring Korean snacks doesn't have to be limited to what you find in stores or restaurants. You can bring the flavors and creativity of Korean cuisine into your own kitchen with easy DIY Korean snacks. Some snacks that you can easily prepare at home include the viral sensation Dalgona Coffee, Tanghulu (skewered fruits coated with a crunchy sugar syrup shell), Hotteok (Korean sweet pancakes), and Honey Butter Chips. You can find recipes and tutorials of these snacks online, making it convenient to bring a taste of Korea right to your home.

Where to Buy Authentic Korean Snacks Online

On a hunt for authentic Korean snacks? Explore options at Asian supermarkets or online retailers such as Bokksu Market. Here at Bokksu Market, we take pride in our curated selection of high-quality snacks sourced directly from Korea. So what are you waiting for? Add your favorite Korean snacks to your cart today!


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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Korean Snacks

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