Before anything else, I just want to point out this is not a definitive list of what to eat in Busan. It is, however, a list of things I personally enjoyed during my brief visit there– things I definitely think you should not miss if you ever find yourself in Busan as well.
I touched on some of these briefly in my other posts in my Busan Autumn 2019 series, but I wanted to talk about them a little more in a food-centric post. You can see all these foods in my travel video as well at the bottom of this post. Without further ado, here are my favorite Busan food experiences that go hand in hand with my 6 Recommended Places to Visit!
1. Fresh seafood
Where we had it: 울산댁만남 Ulsandaek Mannam at the 원조 조개 구이 촌 Original Grilled Clams Village
Address: 1052-3 Dongsam-dong, Yeongdo-gu, Busan (by 감지해변 or Gam Beach)
Drop by when you visit: Taejongdae Resort Park
Unless you’re allergic to seafood, missing out on seafood when you visit a seaside location is an absolute sin. Such is the case in Busan, where the seafood is super fresh but also shockingly cheap for the quality. Getting to eat shellfish in all shapes and sizes, served up in different ways with different toppings, and without putting a hole in your wallet? It’s an absolute treat!
Above is the menu of the restaurant we ate in, just to give you an idea of the price range of the seafood here in Busan. The set you see below is just 50,000 won, and because there were five of us to divide the amount, we were more than free to order extra sides with budget to spare. The experience of cooking the seafood on the grill by the waters was also a delight.
It was mesmerizing to watch the various shellfish’s sweet juices release and bubble as they cooked; mesmerizing as well to watch the cheese melt into puddles. And of course, everything was DELICIOUS! My best and most unforgettable meal in Busan for sure!
Where we had it: Gomae Milmyeon
Address: 36 Gunam-ro, U-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Drop by when you visit: Haeundae Beach
I’m pretty sure this isn’t the best Busan Milmyeon by any stretch, but I cannot deny how much my cold noodle-loving heart still enjoyed the experience. If you’ve tried naengmyeon before, this is very similar to that. The flavor of the broth is a little different, and traditionally, wheat noodles are used in milmyeon versus the buckwheat noodles used in naengmyeon.
Busan milmyeon originated during the Korean War, when buckwheat was not as widely available and they had no choice but to improvise with regular wheat to make noodles. The resulting noodles should look more like the normal yellowish noodles, and clearly, this is not the case with Gome Milmyeon’s version.
I suppose in the authenticity department, I need to dock out a star for Gomae Milmyeon’s noodles, but because I am biased toward Korea’s various cold noodle dishes, I can’t help but say that I didn’t want to nitpick.
3. Korean BBQ
Where we had it: Kkok Bodaso 꽃보다소
Address: 179-8, Millak-dong, Suyeong-gu, Busan
Drop by when you visit: Gwangalli Beach
Perhaps the most popular food experience exported by South Korea to the rest of the world is their Korean BBQ. There’s something so unique about the way Korean BBQ is enjoyed that even I admit to indulging in this every once in a while. I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge meat-eater (although I enjoy it in moderation) but I turn into one when I’m in a K-BBQ joint. I can’t help it! I love making ssam or wraps and stuffing my face with them, whether it’s lettuce or perilla leaves!
Frankly, there’s still no better place to have Korean BBQ than South Korea. The meat most K-BBQ places serve up is amazing quality, and you can enjoy them for a good price if you know where to go. Each K-BBQ joint will offer some sort of unique side dish or condiment for their ssam, and in the case of Kkok Bodaso, we loved the marinated onions and bean sprouts! They added so many great flavors to the regular ssamjang and meat wrap! They also make good kimchi and pickled radish. Yummers!
My mouth just watered after talking about K-BBQ. Let’s move on to the next food item.
4. Ssiat Hotteok
Where we had it: BIFF Square
Drop by when you visit: Yongdusan Park, Busan Tower
I love hotteok, especially the classic brown sugar-filled hotteok and the yachae (veggie) hotteok. When I heard Busan had a special hotteok of their own, I had to try it. The ssiat hotteok has that same crunchy and glutinous pancake exterior but it’s filled with a lot of seeds, alongside the typical brown sugar and nuts. One could even say it’s a “healthier” version lol.
This particular stall we tried had a line, and I do believe it was because this was featured on TV. Ssiat hotteok in general was popularized by actor Lee Seunggi in a variety show, and this tidbit just added to my overall curiosity to try it.
Honestly, ssiat hotteok is not my cup of tea. It had waaaaay too much seeds inside. The filling of normal hotteok caramelizes and turns slightly syrupy after cooking, and this didn’t have enough of that oozy caramel filling to balance out the amount of seeds, so it felt a little dry to me.
Still, I enjoyed the crunch of the toasted exterior of the pancake, and overall, I did not regret lining up and trying out the ssiat hotteok. When in Busan, right?
5. Local beer
Where we had it: Gorilla Brewing Co.
Address: 125 Gwangnam-ro, Gwangan 2(i)-dong, Suyeong-gu, Busan
Drop by when you visit: Gwangalli Beach
Busan has a number of local craft beer brewers, and we selected Gorilla Brewing Co. from the shortlist because it was kind of on our way home. Of course, the great feedback it received from various online sources pretty much sealed the deal. Gorilla Brewing Co. was founded in 2015 in Busan by a pair of British Nationals, and you can read more about them through their site.
We arrived early evening after dinner, which is why the place was fairly empty and very quiet. I really liked feeling like we had this huge space to ourselves. I like the ambiance here! The interiors feature this rough industrial style, and it’s very fitting.
You can buy food here aside from beers, but since we just had an awesome Korean BBQ dinner, we were just in the mood for some good craft beer. We ordered their 4-beer 16,000 Won Flight, but ended up paying 20,000 won for everything because you will need to add 2,000 won for every beer you pick that goes over 8% alcohol. That seemed fair, and we went with what our gut told us to get.
Of course we had to choose their signature Gorilla IPA, which was really nice, fruity, and light. I would say it is the most balanced out of the four beers we picked, with a slightly bitter ending. It was my favorite of the bunch. Next, we picked something that feels like a “limited edition”, their Busan Pale Ale. It is slightly lighter and fruitier than the Gorilla IPA, but somehow it had a more bitter ending.
For our next two beers, we picked drinks that feel original and sound delicious at the same time. These are the beers that required the extra 2,000 won, if I’m not mistaken, but no one complained because everyone enjoyed the experience.
True to its name, their Raspberry Wheat has a raspberry taste that shines through at the end, leaving a pleasant wheat-y aftertaste. The texture in the mouth also feels a little different compared to the others. Our final pick was the British Stout, admittedly the most complex-tasting of our choices. The coffee scent and taste hits you at the beginning, and the expected bitterness hits you at the end. In between that there’s a lot going on that my inexperienced beer palate cannot describe, but I do sense some chocolate notes the most.
One thing’s for sure, this was definitely an amazing way to cap off our Busan trip! And I honestly think if we had stayed in Busan longer we might’ve returned to try another set of beers. Certainly you’d be enjoying a much longer Busan food list. Alas, this is it for now!
To see what else we were up to in Busan, check out the video below:
Other posts in the BUSAN AUTUMN 2019 SERIES:
- Making a return to Gamcheon Culture Village
- A brief exploration of Taejongdae
- Hanging out at Yongdusan Park & BIFF Square
- Snapshots from Haeundae Beach & Gwangalli Beach
- 6 Recommended Places to Visit on a 2-Day Trip
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