Our Favorite Korean Street Food – Hotteok

30 April 2014

We were walking along the streets of Hongdae (Hongik University area) when my nose caught a whiff of a most mouthwatering cinnamon scent.

There was little else I could do but succumb and follow the ribbon of delicious smell.

We found the culprit in the form of… Hotteok!

What is hotteok? It is a Korean-style sweet pancake, with a brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and chopped peanuts mixture as filling.

Actually I didn’t even know what it was called when I ate it, but when I described it to YY, she immediately went “Oh, that’s hotteok!” It was then I remembered it was on my “to-eat” list, and I even had a few places saved from research lol.

For some reason, it was the only street food I saved addresses to (mind, they were street food cart addresses, not those in fixed locations!)

Hotteok, you and I are meant to be! XD

Although it’s a street food, it’s not commonplace. The best place to find it is at Insadong, where most of my research points to :)

Thus we went hotteok hunting at Insadong and found 2 other hotteok styles!

This is the original hotteok. The only difference is in the texture, with a more chewy bite to it. The filling is exactly the same.

Much more doughy than the original, this one feels closer to fried bread, although it is much more airy and not as dense as bread. Thus the “fluffy” naming!

A hilarious thing we noticed is that they like to serve hotteoks in paper cups. It’s obvious that this is not the optimal form of storage, but they still ngeh ngeh squeeze into the cup.

Especially the fluffy hotteok! It’s the fattest of the three, and you can clearly see that the paper cup is stretch to the limits.

Notice the rim of the cup lol

We usually stand beside the stall to eat (good manners learnt from Japanese who don’t walk and eat haha) and we watch how the auntie often serves the hotteoks that are barely balancing ON the rim of the cup LOL. Sometimes she even snips the sides of the cup because it simply cannot fit.

The question is… WHY do they continue using something that is obviously a bad fit? A greaseproof paper bag would have easily been a much better option imho. Doesn’t feel like the paper cup is much cheaper than a paper bag either. *shrugs*

Of the 3, Fu liked the crispy one best. He found the others too greasy.

On the other hand, I liked the crispy one the least, because while it FEELS less sinful, the liao inside is spread very thin. I like it to be a full cinnamon-y experience with every bite! Fluffy gets my vote!

Where to find hotteok:

  • Insadong (most number of stalls spotted here)
  • Hongdae
  • Myeongdong

Cost: 1,000 won (Myeongdong was 1,500 won. BOOOOO.)

Be sure to try some if you’re in Korea! Writing this post is making me miss them… :C

For other Seoul posts, check out the master post!


  • Reply yy 4 May 2014 at 2:03 am

    Hotteok!! Ahh you’re making me want to eat some. I’ve actually never seen the crispy one!

    • Reply Rin 4 May 2014 at 3:47 am


      You can actually make this in your kitchen! Super simple and common ingredients!

      Yeah I know it’s not the same, but we gotta take what we can get! I’m gonna try making it soon XD

  • Reply yy 6 May 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Hahha yar I’ve seen recipes before but sigh the idea of washing up.. lol.

    • Reply Rin 7 May 2014 at 10:00 am

      Get your maid to help out by bribing her with a piece of hotteok (or two, if she’s a tough one to crack) ;)

  • Reply YC 31 December 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I suppose cups are used because you can hold it using the base, which is air-gapped from the food to prevent scalding.

    • Reply Rin 1 January 2015 at 6:33 am

      Indeed, that did cross my mind. Except that while trying to hold the hotteok by the base alone, the hotteok is squeezed even further out of the cup (cutting slits in the cup helped some, but not enough).

  • Reply Elaineee 1 March 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Im planning my free n easy trip to seoul in september, im so glad i chanced upon your very insightful site. Thank you.. Its such a fun read :)

    • Reply Rin 2 March 2015 at 12:37 am

      You’re welcome :) Enjoy your trip!

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