South Korea‘s street food (pojangmacha) scene is such a huge part of the country’s modern history. If you ever get to visit and stay in Busan, Nampodong Street (accessible via Busan Subway, Line 1) is one of the best places to enjoy street Korean food. Our walk through this awesome neighborhood will give you a glimpse into the action.
Eating through Busan’s Nampodong Street
Where We Stayed
Prior to catching a flight to Japan, a planned stop in Busan leads us to Comma Hotel. It’s right in the middle of Nampodong and cozy enough for at least a night in the heart of Busan’s food scene. Busan is a wonderful city and many people come here for the beaches and the sightseeing but throughout much of the year. Crowds can hardly avoid it with highlights including year-round shopping and the country’s largest international film festival taking over in the fall. But we’re here for food, and Nampodong is going to do live up to its reputation tonight.
I Would Live Here
Locals know about it and are quick to point to this area as one of the city’s best neighborhoods. If I were to live in Busan, Nampodong is where I’d start when searching for a home. That’s not just my belly talking. Cities with this many options require neighborhoods to push harder in order to stand out. Do you have one in your part of the world?
Taste Runs Like Water
Just seeing all those awestruck faces eagerly fill their mouths, it’s hard to avoid digging in and buying as much food as you can. Taste runs like water in this district and walking around this awesome food stall town helps me understand just why it’s so special. Just about every city has them, and I’ve found that the options rarely stand out. Maybe it’s a case where the Korean palate has settled on the suitable street food experience. Go to Seoul or the other metropolitan areas and you’ll find something similar, but not exactly the same. For me, Nampodong has the best.
Covering Every Base
Nampodong street food covers all bases, with foreign influences mixing with Korean cuisine and demonstrating a culinary opening to the outside world. Korean specialties like tteokbokki, Korean sausage and that fish-shaped bread (bunggeoppang) everyone devours in the winter. Purposely, no seats are available even though some might interpret nearby trees as places to rest. Violators are quickly forced to stand—a cue to either buy more food or make room for the next person. The vendors maintained calm as people methodically surround them. An eager anticipation and buzz surrounded these stalls as if something special was always on the verge. Eyes widen and smiles grow as hungry appetites receive the care they require. Wonderful creations simmer everywhere, as these culinary wizards kept the crowds at bay.
My Belly Grows Full
While spending so much time watching the other people camped at various stalls, my belly grows full. Somehow along the way, I unknowingly join the madness and eat my way towards a pending food coma. A sausage here and some spicy chicken there, and I can’t eat anymore. Those ladies working at Nampodong create a monster in me and perhaps they know I’m leaving Korea. Nampodong’s pojangmacha certainly demonstrates its might yet again. If you want to eat right on the streets of Korea, this is the perfect experience. Nampodongong is where my own memories of Korean food will always begin and end.
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