분식점: Korean Snack Bars
This is your answer to eating cheap while in South Korea.
Most people know about the food stalls that line the streets of Hongdae and Myeongdong at night, full of tteokbokki and food on sticks that could make your mouth water. However, what do you do when you want a big bowl of tteokbokki or kimbap but there's no food cart in sight? You take a trip to your local snack bar.
These places offer inexpensive but delicious Korean food at all hours of the day, though you may be intimidated because their menus often have no pictures and no English in sight.
The first thing you should do is figure out where the menu is. Most snack houses usually display the menu up on the wall.
The menu above may look crazy, but it’s separated into easy categories. Common categories you'll see at snack houses include ramen, kimbap, fried rice, soups and noodles and, finally, simple snacks. On the menu you’ll be able to see what types of drinks the establishment carries, and there will oftentimes be an extra menu to tailor your meal to your own taste.
Next is ordering. This is going to be the hardest part of the snack house experience, especially if you aren’t familiar with Korean names. Here is a little cheat sheet to help you find some of the foods you may be more familiar with:
김치 볶음밥 = kimchi fried rice
비빔밥 = bibimbap
떡뽁이= tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes)
Ordering is simple at our local snack house. The place has little clipboards on each table where you can write what you want to eat before handing it to the servers. Other places will have you order like a traditional restaurant. If you aren’t able to order in Korean, just pointing to what you want and indicating serving size with your hand will suffice.
To pay, simply go to the register to pay with either cash or card. Try to have both on hand in case they do not take your card in store.
Snack houses are the easiest and cheapest way to eat while spending your day traveling through the busy streets of South Korea. For less than 10 dollars you can have a filling meal at any time of the day.