10 Must-Eat Foods in Busan, South Korea

Each city has its must-try foods, and here are 10 culinary delights from Busan, South Korea. Which ones have you tried, and which ones would you like to try? Gastronomy is indeed an important part of life. Please leave your comments!

1. Milmyeon (밀면)

Photo by Visit Busan

Milmyeon originated during the Korean War when it was difficult to obtain ingredients for naengmyeon (cold noodles), such as potatoes or buckwheat, so wheat flour was used to make the noodles instead. It is similar to naengmyeon, with a cold broth and seasoned sauce, but the noodles of milmyeon are softer and thicker, which is its charm.

In the summer, people enjoy mul milmyeon (with cold broth) and bibim milmyeon (with spicy sauce), while in the winter, they prefer warm milmyeon topped with kimchi for a warm and spicy taste. To fully appreciate the chewy texture of the noodles, it’s best not to cut the noodles with scissors. Adding a bit of vinegar and mustard according to your taste enhances the savory flavor.

2. Grilled hagfish (곰장어 구이)

This dish involves grilling hagfish and then removing the skin before eating. It is known for its chewy and mild taste. Hagfish was originally used to make leather products, but during the Korean War, refugees started eating it to stave off hunger.

Busan-style hagfish is enjoyed in two ways: the ‘Gijang Version’ and the ‘Jagalchi Version.’ The Gijang Version involves grilling live hagfish over straw fire and eating it seasoned with just salt. The Jagalchi Version involves stir-frying the hagfish with plenty of onions and spicy seasoning. In Busan, there are hagfish alleys with many eel restaurants in places like Jagalchi Market and Gijang. It’s worth a visit.

3. Dwaeji Gukbab (돼지국밥)

Gukbap is a type of Korean dish that consists of rice mixed with soup. Dwaeji gukbap is a type of gukbap made with a broth simmered from pork bones, served with sliced pork and rice. A representative dish of Busan, it may look simple with just a bowl served in an earthenware pot, but the rich broth and generous amount of meat make it very satisfying. Depending on the parts used, you can choose from options like intestine soup, head meat soup, or blood sausage soup. Adjust the seasoning to your taste with chopped condiments or salted shrimp.

4. Dongnae-style Scallion Pancakes (동래파전)

It is a representative local food of Busan. Dongnae-style scallion pancakes are made by placing seafood such as oysters, shrimp, and octopus on top of scallions, and then frying them with a batter made of wheat flour and glutinous rice flour. At the end of the cooking process, an egg is added, and the pancake is covered with a lid to cook through.

Unlike other scallion pancakes that are crispy, Dongnae-style scallion pancakes are characterized by their soft and moist texture. Many people in Busan prefer to dip the pancakes in a vinegar-based sauce (vinegared red pepper paste) rather than soy sauce.

5. No. 18 Wandang (18번 완당)

Wandang is a dish that originated in China, passed through Japan, and settled in Busan. It consists of mandu (dumpling) wrappers filling ingredients shaped into thumb-sized pieces and cooked in a clear broth. In short, it is a kind of modified mandu soup. In the Busan area, as well as in Gimhae and Changwon, there are several restaurants operating under the name ‘No. 18 Wandang.’ The original No. 18 Wandang has no branches and is a family-run restaurant that has maintained the tradition of Busan’s wandang for three generations.

6. Fried Tofu & Hotpot (유부전골)

It’s a dish where tofu skin is folded like a pouch and stuffed with ingredients such as glass noodles, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, and meat, then tied with water parsley strings. It’s soft and has a rich broth, quite different from the typical fish cake soup found in fish cake shops. It’s been a staple street food since the Korean War, guarding a corner of the markets in Busan. If you get the chance, give it a try!

7. Puffer Fish Soup (복국)

Photo by Busan grandcultureScreenshot

It’s a soup made with pufferfish, bean sprouts, water parsley, and other ingredients. In 1970, a Korean-Japaneseentrepreneur started selling pufferfish soup in Busan, establishing the dish in Korea. While Japanese-style pufferfish soup typically does not include other ingredients, the Korean version features bean sprouts, water parsley, radish, and more, giving it a more refreshing taste. Pufferfish soup can be enjoyed either as a clear soup without red pepper powder or as a spicy soup with red pepper powder added.

8. Grilled Fish and Sashimi (생선구이, 회)

It’s best to enjoy fish caught off the coast of Busan. In particular, some must-try fish in Busan are the hagfish, which is in season in July; flounder and rockfish from March to June; and halibut from September to December. Additionally, sea bass is in season from June to August. If you are not comfortable eating raw fish, grilled dishes are also recommended!

9. Dombaegi (돔배기)

Photo by SBS News

Dombaegi is made from shark meat. To make dombaegi, the shark is cut into pieces, salted, and then aged. The taste can vary depending on the type of shark and the method of thawing. While it might be difficult for those with a weak stomach to eat, its chewy texture pairs well with soju, offering a true taste of Busan.

10. Cold Braised Pigs’ Feet Salad (냉채족발)

Photo by Triple

It’s a representative Busan dish made by topping thinly sliced pork trotters with shredded jellyfish, cucumber, and carrot, then drizzling it with mustard sauce. The chewy texture of the pork trotters and jellyfish, the crunchiness of the vegetables, and the spiciness of the mustard sauce create a perfect harmony in your mouth. In Busan’s Bupyeong Jokbal Alley, you’ll find many restaurants specializing in pork trotters. If you’re looking for the original cold jellyfish pork trotter dish, this alley is the place to visit.

UoH offers a personal assistant program with two types of services. For traveling in Korea, we assist with any type of reservations, rentals, and personal assistance. For shopping, we purchase anything you need and ship it to your home. Feel free to email us at [email protected] for a quote and to find out how to proceed!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Connecting people from around the world to South Korea. We believe that every country and culture matters.
    Our Products

    Subscribe to the UoH Weekly Snippet

    The essential weekly round-up for news, analysis, and breaking news alerts in Korea.
    Receive news, offers and invites from UoH Our newsletters may include 3rd-party advertising, by subscribing you agree to the
    Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.
    UoH ©2023 On Curiosities Co. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement