One of the most special aspects of traveling is trying the local foods and delicacies of your destination. Busan has a long and full food tradition and many famous Korean dishes stem from this city and region of Korea. In this blog post, we will tell you our 6 recommendations for local dishes that you must try while you are in Busan.
1. Milmyeon (밀면)
Milmyeon, one of the most famous local foods in Busan, was a dish originating from the Korean War. North Korean refugees that had settled in Busan would make their native food Naengmyeon but it was difficult to find buckwheat and potatoes, the main ingredients for Naengmyeon noodles, so they would use flour instead which was provided as food relief by the U.S. Army. So milmyeon is a local interpretation of the naengmyeon.
Milmyeon is a cold noodle soup where flour noodles are put in a bowl of cold broth soup with garnish on top that varies between restaurants and usually, you can add extra vinegar and mustard to your taste. There 3 variations of the dish: Mulmilmyeon, Bibimmilmyeon, and Onmilmyeon. Mul means water so Mul-Milmyeon is the version of the dish that had a watery cold broth soup. Bibim-Milmyeon does not have any soup but is made with a spicy and cold red sauce that you will mix with the noodles. These two dishes are usually enjoyed during the summer when the city is swelteringly hot. On-milmyeon is the wintery version of the dish which is served with a hot broth. This version is a little more unusual to find than the cold versions.
Price: around 7000 won
2.Seed Hotteok (씨앗호떡)
Hotteok is a traditional Korean savory snack usually sold as street food, making it a cheap and convenient snack. It is similar to a pancake but is stuffed with a seed and sugar mixture and fried in oil. It is perfectly crisp on the outside but moist and sweet on the inside. Hotteok is a staple winter snack in Korea as it is super hot and an easy bit of food to grab while you are shopping or sight-seeing. In Busan, we recommend the Hotteok sold at Nampo BIFF Street or in Seomyeon.
Price: around 1500 won
3. Nakji Bokkeum (낙지볶음)
Nakji Bokkeum is spicy stir-fried seafood consisting of octopus and intestines or shrimps can be added. In the 1970s, Nakji Bokkeum was only sold at the Gukje Market in Nampo-dong as a special local delicacy but these days it can be found all over the country. However, if you want the authentic taste and experience, then you should definitely have it in Busan.
When you order the dish, a pot with a heater will be set on the table so you can see it being cooked. Don’t fret though, the staff will help you cook it to make sure it is fully done. You can also mix in ramen noodles or udon to add something extra to the soup. The usual way people eat it is on top of rice with dried laver and spiced leeks. There are many restaurants serving Nakji Bokkeum around the Haeundae area.
Price: around 11000 won
4. Muldeok & Deokbokki (물떡 & 떡볶이)
Deokbokki is a staple street-food in Korea and the dish consists of chewy rice cakes and fish cakes in a delicious slightly spicy sauce. Deokbokki is a cheap but filling snack that can be found on almost any street corner and the taste varies from every place you try it. Because it is hot and slightly spicy it is an ideal dish to help heat up the body in the winter cold. Busan has a local variation to the dish called Muldeok, loosely translated to a water rice cake. This dish is often mixed with fish cakes that are boiled in a salty and fresh soup. This dish is served on skewers making it super fast and easy to eat. The Muldeok can be dipped in soy sauce for a little extra kick of flavor. Make sure to try Muldeok when you are in Busan as it is hard to find in other parts of the country.
5. Bibimdang-myeon (비빔당면)
Bibimdang-myeon is said to resemble Busan’s temperament in recipes and flavors, reflecting Busan’s preference for quick and spicy food. Bibimdang-myeon is similar to Japchae, another popular Korean dish, but differs in its sauce and garnish. The dish consists of glass noodles, a spicy sauce and garnish and you mix it all up to get the full flavor. The dish stems back to the post-Korean war period where people needed something that was fast to eat but filling and didn’t cost a lot. It was especially popular in the Bupyeong Market where sellers need a quick bite during their hectic workday. Since then, the dish has become widespread throughout the country and not just in its city of origin, Busan.
Price: around 4000 won
6.Pork soup (돼지국밥)
Arguably the most famous local dish from Busan is Pork Soup or Dwaeji Gukbap (돼지국밥) in Korean. Pork soup is a dish that takes a long time to make as the pork is boiled for several hours to create a flavorful broth and meat. It is served with rice and side dishes and shrimp salt, perilla powder, and leek can be added after preference.
Price: around 8000 won