Korean Food

Before coming to Korea, I was so excited for the food here. I love Korean food, but it is so rare and expensive in the States. That made me more excited to come to Korea. Food in Korea can be split into three categories: street food, everyday meals, and luxury restaurants.

Street food is sold in stalls on the street, hence the name “street food”. The food sold in these stalls are usually small snacks, and thus not enough to be considered a meal. Nevertheless, it is great between meals or as a dessert. The price of street food varies by the location and ranges between $1-$15. The variety of the food also depends on the location. Myeongdong has the most variety of street food (fruit juice, ice cream, pancake, lobster, etc.) but is it also the most expensive area to get street food. I ate lots of street food here because it is super rare in the US.

I had most of my lunches in either the convenient store or the school cafeteria. There are so many convenient schools around school; most buildings have their own. There are many lunch options like dosirak (packed meal consisting of rice and other sides), kimbap (Korean sushi roll), sandwich, and instant ramen. This was a go-to for me when I did not have much time between classes or I did not want to hike to the school cafeteria. There are many school cafeterias but I will only talk about 2 in the student union building (I honestly don’t even know where all the cafeterias are). Of the 2 cafeterias, one offers western food and the other Asian food. Normally I would have more time in the evenings and go out for dinner. There are so many restaurants around the school most are affordable. Meals are typically under $10 outside and around $5 in school.

I had to try a “luxury” meal while I was in Korea. By luxury, I mean meals from $15-$30. This includes high end Western restaurants or tradition Korean restaurants. I went to a couple of traditional Korean restaurants. They always had a table full of Korean side dishes, the main dish, soup, and rice. Every time I go, it is an extraordinary experience.

After spending a couple months here, I am actually starting to miss home cooked meals. Since I live in the dorm, it is difficult to cook and eating out every day gets tiring. However, even though I say that now, I know that once I return to the US, I will miss all the Korean food I had here.

Strawberry cup at Myeongdong

Various traditional Korean street food sold by vendor

Hotteok (brown sugar and seeds stuffed pancake). One of my favorites

Fried udon and brisket sold by vendor. This street food can be eaten as a meal

Dosirak (packed meal) that I took a bite out of

Traditional Korean meal. So many side dishes! The main dish did not even come yet

Mei Chen

Hello. My name is Mei Chen and I am a junior studying finance and operations management at the University of Maryland. This semester I will be at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea as an exchange student. I am super excited for this opportunity and will make the most out of the 4 months there.

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