Most people have only heard of Busan from the hit horror movie ‘Train to Busan’. However, this port city in South Korea has so much more to offer. It’s a modern metropolis that offers all the latest trends in lifestyle, shopping and entertainment. One part of Busan you really can’t miss is the food. The city offers a great culinary experience to remember so if you are headed there you are in for a treat: seafood, pancakes and noodles abound. Make sure your clothes are loose fitting!
Food Budget for Busan: How much can you expect to spend?
It is possible to find inexpensive and good food in Busan so if you want to keep it budget, it will be possible to keep your food and drinks spend at ~ SGD $25. Fish and seafood are fresh and you can find good inexpensive restaurants serving it for ~ SGD $6 to $10 (~5000 to 8000 Won) a meal. A Combo meal at MacDonalds runs at the same price, from ~5800 to 8000 Won. So, if you must choose, definitely go for the local food and you still have plenty to splurge on bubble tea.
Looking to impress your travel companion? There are good romantic restaurants where you can get full three-course meals for SGD $50 to 70 (~40000 to 60000 Won) for 2 people.
Pro tips: Looking to keep your food budget in check? Opt to pick food from the food section at department stores, from the markets and street stalls. The food here is as delicious but at a lower price than restaurants. Tipping in restaurants is not expected in South Korea so you have one less thing to worry about.
What To Eat
From bustling stalls at the morning market to trendy downtown cafes, Busan certainly has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine. Among the most loved dishes you will find in Busan, you have the dong-nae pajeon pancake, the daegu tang soup with fish and veggies, and, for the more adventurer foodies, the bogkuk soup with poisonous pufferfish.
These are some of the unique dishes you’ll find only in Busan, so check them out if you’re a foodie:
1. Milmyeon Wheat Noodles
Milmyeon is a special Busan style wheat noodle that’s usually eaten on hot summer days. It’s usually served in a chilled broth that’s sweet and sour and topped with Gochujang or fermented bean sauce, a boiled egg and shredded raw cucumbers or radish. The soup is often cooled down with ice cubes, so don’t be surprised if you find your Milmyeon served with some crushed ice.
This soup version is called Mul Milmyeon, but there’s a dry version without the broth called Bibim Milmyeon. You should give both versions a good mix-up before eating.
Where to go to try it?
- Address: 191 Gaya 2(i)-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan, South Korea
- Contact: +8051-891-2483
- Opening hours: Daily, 11am-8pm
- Prices: 4000 -5000 Won
2. Wandang Dumplings
Wandang are Busan style dumplings served in broth. It resembles Hong Kong wantans in appearance, which is unique as most Korean dumplings or Mandu are shaped like gold ingots or are rounded. Wandangs are flatter in appearance and they’re served in an anchovy-based broth. This broth has been carefully simmered for 12 hours to give it a really rich umami flavour.
Where to go to try it?
No. 18 Wandang
- Address: 1-1 Nampodong 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea
- Contact no: +82-51-245-0018
- Opening hours: Daily, 10am-11pm
- Prices: 6000-13000 Won
3. Pork Soup and Rice
Busan is well known for its version of a pork soup that’s served with side dishes and rice. Here, the pork soup is known as Dwaeji Gukbap and the pork soup is often thick and cloudy looking. The soup is simmered for hours to achieve a rich savoury taste and to make the pork meat extremely tender and soft. This hearty meal is comforting and a must have on cold days.
Where to go to try it?
Twin Pork Soup ( Ssang Doong Yi Dwaeiji Gukbap)
- Address: 887-1 Daeyeon 1(il)-dong, Nam-gu, Busan, South Korea
- Contact no: +82-51-628-7020
- Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 12 midnight
- Prices: 5500-7000 Won
4. Fish Cakes or Eomuk
You can find Eomuk on the streets of Busan easily as it’s a popular street food. These fish cakes are served deep fried or boiled in a savoury broth. You can choose from a wide variety of fish cakes, some of which are flavoured with different things like peppers, garlic, spring onions and others. If you visit Samjin Fish Cake museum, you can even enjoy historical tours of the fish cake industry at certain times of the day for a fee of 15,000 Won.
Where to go to try them?
- Address: 36, Taejong-ro 99beon-gil, Yeongdo-gu, Busan, Republic of Korea
- Contact no.:+82-51-412-5468
- Opening hours: Daily, 9.30am to 6pm
- Tour prices: 12,000 Won for children, 15,000 Won for adults
5. Dongnae Pajeon Pancakes
Dongnae Pajeon is a type of Korean pancake that’s made using a mixture of glutinous rice flour and non-glutinous rice flour. It was such a prized dish in the past that it was presented to the Korean emperor, who gave it the thumbs up. In Busan, you can find different versions of Pajeon with seafood, green scallions, pork, beef and even mushrooms. However, at Dongnae, the Pajeon comes jam-packed with all of these in a rich and indulgent combination.
Where to go to try it?
Dongnae Halmae Pajeon
- Address: 43-10 Myeongnyun-ro 94beon-gil, Dongnae-gu, Busan, South Korea
- Contact no: +8051-552-0791
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm -10pm
- Prices: 20,000-40,000 Won per pancake
6. Ssiat Hotteok
Ssiat Hotteok is another popular street food in Busan and it’s a sweet dessert. Hotteoks are a type of sweet pancake found all over South Korea. They’re most commonly filled with brown sugar. However, in Busan, Ssiat Hotteok is filled with several types of seeds that are pretty healthy for you too. This includes melon seeds, pine nuts and sunflower seeds.
Where to go?
BIFF Square Busan
- Address: 58-1 Gudeok-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, 부산광역시 South Korea
- Opening hours: Open 24 hours
- Price: 1000-1500 Won
Smart Tip: What to try in Busan depending on the season
South Korea has four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. Although most of the Korean dishes are available the entire year, you can opt to go for what is in the season depending on the time you decide to travel. This way, you can be sure to eat the best, freshest meat, seafood and produce out there. Check below for the best things to eat in South Korea in each season of the year.
Where to find the best food places in Busan?
Jagalchi Fish Market
If you love sushi, then Jagalchi Fish Market is your place! The market has an authentic local feel and offers you the opportunity of trying the best freshest seafood in the area. Pick your prefered sea delicacies and eat them on the upper floor of the market. One of the popular dishes to try is the san-nakji, the small octopus that is served raw and still squirming on the plate.
- Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea
Haeundae Traditional Market
If you prefer to go for cheap eats, you will fill your tummy right at Haeundae Traditional Market. Try all the teokbokki (rice cakes), fish cakes, dumplings and dakgangjeong (glazed fried chicken) you can stomach. These treats are cheap and filling.
- Address: 1394-193 Jung 1(il)-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea
Bupyeong Kkangtong Market
This market is also known as the Tin Can market because of his past as the main spot for canned goods trading for the US troops during the Korean War. Besides local food stalls, you will also find some Japanese and Filipino street food. But since we are in Korean, let’s stick to Korean cuisine: try the wang mandu (big dumplings) and the twikim (fried food).
- Adress: 68-9 Bupyeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan
- Nearest MRT station: Jagalchi MRT Station exit 7
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BIFF Square refers to the street where the Busan International Film Festival is held. Besides the movies and history of the area, the place is known for its food stalls. Pass by the area and try the fish meatballs and, of course, their stuffed Hotteok.
Address: 58-1 Gudeok-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, 부산광역시 South Korea
Bonus: Drinks in Busan
Need your caffeine fix? Head to 바우노바 Baunova Coffee and get a good cuppa of java. Visitors rave about their Dutch blend, the service and the dried persimmons.
- Address: 중구 동광동1가 13-2 1층, Busan, South Korea
- Website: 바우노바 Baunova Coffee
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