Have you heard of 혼족 (honjok)? This is a Korean term for people who like to do things alone, such as eating alone or drinking alone! This can also be called 혼자 문화 – literally translating to ‘alone culture’. For many years, South Korean culture has proven to be very group-orientated where most tend to eat in groups, play in groups and travel as a group. Very recently, the phrase honjok became more popularised as there is an increase in people living a honjok lifestyle.
혼밥 hon bap (alone+rice) eating alone.
혼술 hon sul (alone+alcohol) drinking alone.
혼행 hon haeng (alone+travel) solo travel.
혼영 hon yeong (alone+movie) going to the cinema alone.
혼텔 hon tel (alone+hotel) staying at hotels alone.
혼캠 hon kaem (alone+camping) camping on your own.
혼놀 hon nol (alone+play) playing alone.
This ‘honjok’ lifestyle is becoming more popular due to an increase in one-person households, a change in the cultural perception of enjoying leisure time alone, as well as media-broadcasted entertainment through shows and dramas such as ‘나혼자산다’, ‘미운우리새끼’ and ‘혼술남녀’. These shows highlight celebrities living alone and going about simple daily tasks such as enjoying a beer alone.
Although the rise of eating alone in Korea is more encouraging for solo travelers or those that like to dine alone, it can still feel intimidating when arriving at restaurants that only offer couple or group set-menus! To avoid this, and/or to discover the wonders of Korean street food, why not head over to street vendors where you can buy small portions of food on the go?
떡볶이 Tteokbokki – Rice cakes in a thick, spicy sauce:
An iconic Korean street food that you shouldn’t miss! Almost all of the tteokbokki dishes in Korea are spicy, but you may come across a rare stall that serves up jjajang (black bean sauce) tteokbokki!
닭꼬치 – Dalkggochi – Chicken skewers:
Try some chicken meat on skewers with various sauces to choose from; the common ones includes spicy and barbecue sauce. The stall may add some mayo on top and some herbs or seaweed seasoning!
튀김 twigim – Deep fried snacks:
(shrimp, eggs, gimbap, sweet potato, lotus root, peppers, eggplant, and more.)
전 Jeon – Korean savoury pancake:
(kimchi, green onions, seafood.)
호떡 Hotteok – Korean sweet pancake: (honey)
Usually found at 포장마차 pojangmacha, with racks full of freshly made sweet pancakes. Pick up a sweet treat as you continue shopping! They can be hollow inside, or rather thick and doughy.
오뎅 Odeng – Skewered fish cakes in a broth:
Can be found at 포장마차 pojangmacha – a small orange tent serving hot and inexpensive street food. These skewered fish cakes are piping hot and come with the soup too. A great food to warm you up on a cold day!
붕어빵 Bungeoppang – Crispy fish shaped bread: (Filled with sweet red bean paste)
This crispy pastry is an easily recognisable street food as it is shaped like a fish!
계란빵 Gyeranbbang – Egg bread:
A savoury egg on top of a slightly sweet soft bread that could almost pass as a sponge cake. This contrast is very unique, and it looks very cute! Sometimes served with extras such as herbs, bacon and sour cream.
오징어 Ojingeo – Grilled Cuttlefish:
Flattened and crispy, this is almost an alternative to a bag of crisps!
번데기 Beondegi – Silkworm
You can find these dark brown silkworms simmering in a soup-like sauce, and usually floating in a huge thin pan. The smell is very distinct… would you dare to try it?
Seo su ju se-yo
Give me sauce please
Seo su bbae ju se yo
Without the sauce please
Ha na ju se yo.
Please give me one.
Doo gae ju se yo.
Please give me two.
Se gae ju se yo.
Please give me three.
Ne gae ju se yo.
Please give me four.
Da seot gae ju se yo.
Please give me five.
Yeo seot gae ju se yo.
Please give me six.
ee geo ju se yo.
Please give me this.
Eol ma ye yo?
How much is it?
jin jja mas iss eo yo.
Deo ju se yo
Give me more please.
Bae bul leo yo
분식집 (or 분식점)
bun sik jib (or bun sik jeom)
Fast food place
길에서 파는 음식 / 길거리 음식
Gil e seo pa neun eum sik / gil geo li eum sik
Food sold on the street
Yeo ki seo deu sil kkeo ye yo?
would you like to eat here?
U wa mas iss gess da
Wow it looks delicious
U ri bae dal si kil kka?
Shall we order a delivery?
맵지 않게 해주세요.
maeb ji anh ge hae ju se yo
Don’t make it too spicy
A Jik bae go pa yo?
Are you still hungry?
mwo meok eul lae yo?
What shall we eat?
점심으로 뭐 먹고 싶어요?
Jeom sim eu lo mwo meok go sip eo yo?
What do you want to eat for lunch?
Ju mun haess eo yo?
Did you order?
저는 아직 안 먹었어요
Jeo neun a jik an meok eoss eo yo
I haven’t eaten yet
어떤 종류 음식을 먹고 싶어요?
Eo tteon jong lyu eum sik eul meok go sip eo yo?
What type of food do you like to eat?
Featured Image: Henrique Felix, 30.07.18, Unsplash.com