Caramel wafers in Myeongdong

One of the best parts of eating in Korea involves the great outdoors–exploring open-air markets for their vast selection of delicious eats. From dragon’s beard to crispy bindatteeok, there’s just something about street food that hits the spot every time.

While filming Kimchi Chronicles, a popular favorite with the cast and crew were the ubiquitous caramel wafer cookies (bbopgi) sold on the streets, practically a staple in the Korean street food repertoire. These sugary concoctions are incredibly tasty despite their simplicity. Made from just sugar and baking soda, both ingredients are melted and poured into a mold. This is then cooked on a piping hot griddle until it caramelizes to perfection. The batter is then imprinted with fun shapes like hearts and stars, and has a subtle caramel taste. With a slight yet satisfying crispiness, they’re the perfect light snack, and would be the ultimate bookends for an ice cream sandwich, Korean-style.

Another one of our favorite street food sweets is dragon’s beard (kkultarae), a snack made from spun sugar. It’s pretty much the Korean version of the American carnival favorite, cotton candy minus the technicolor shades. Composed of many fine strands of white sugar, its appearance gives it its memorable name. It was once a delicacy reserved for Korea’s royals, but now it’s a snack enjoyed by the masses. Its creation involves a bit of finesse–a sugar mixture is heated until thickened, then pulled and folded, doused in toasted flour, and wrapped around a nutty peanut filling.Watching it being made right before your very eyes is half the fun. Equal parts frosted mini wheat, cotton candy, and baklava, it’s candy fit for a king!

For more street food, check out Episode 12: The Street Food Chronicles.

Dragon's beard in Insadong