In the last couple of years, we’ve seen K-Pop’s domination of the music landscape. And there’s no denying the increasing popularity of Korean dramas (K-dramas) and films. With that, it’s safe to say that Hallyu (meaning ‘Korean wave’) has the whole world wrapped around its fingers. We’re even seeing traces of this Korean cultural wave in the food industry, as Korean desserts, main dishes, and even Korean snacks have been all the rage as of late!
Want to ride the wave? You can start by checking out the best Korean snacks, just to see what the hype is all about. From sweet chocolate pies to popular ramyun brands that are showcased in films, take your pick below.
1. Honey Butter Chips
Just to get it out of the way: these sweet potato chips are not made with sweet potatoes. Rather, these are light and crispy potato chips that are sweetened with special acacia honey. Mixed with gourmet butter, the flavor of these crisps is backed by a supple buttery quality. So if you want unique Korean snacks to munch on without weighing you down, these Honey Butter Chips are a must-try!
Pepero is basically a crispy cookie stick, semi-dipped in sweet compound chocolate. Besides the plain chocolate-coated ones, it’s also available in nine other flavor combinations – the most famous being almond and chocolate. And if you’ve ever heard of South Korea’s Pepero Day before, you’ll know that this is more than just one of the best Korean snacks out there. Every 11th of November, locals exchange boxes of this sweet treat to celebrate love and friendship. You’re more than welcome to enjoy it on any given day, though.
3. Binggrae Banana Milk
There are plenty of Korean snacks online. Why not pair your chips or chocolate treats with the best drinks, too? For yet another K-drama regular, we have Binggrae Banana Milk. It has made appearances in famous shows like Guardian: The Lonely and Great God and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo. After all, banana-flavored food and drinks (everything, really) is big in South Korea. And this product perfectly captures the craze in a small, yellow box. You can opt to make banana milk from scratch, but this ready-to-sip drink is tough to beat.
4. Shin Ramyun
You might have tried instant ramen before, but have you tried Shin Ramyun? It’s practically synonymous with Korean instant ramen, and it’s one of the best Korean snacks to have for a quick yet filling fix. It’s spicy, satisfying, and it comes together in a cinch as well! The best part is, there are more ways than one to prepare this noodle dish. Besides having it with broth, you can also enjoy it dry with scallions, a fried egg, and a bunch of other ramen toppings.
5. Shrimp Crackers
Besides instant noodles, Nongshim (the company that produces Shin Ramyun) also makes the crowd-favorite Saeukkang or shrimp crackers. As you would expect, this baked snack does have a bold shrimpy flavor. It’s crispy and delicious nonetheless, especially for seafood lovers! You can find it in Asian grocery stores since it’s one of the most well-known Korean snacks globally. Or you can have it delivered right to your doorstep.
6. Dried Sweet Potato
There’s something for everybody when it comes to South Korean snacks. Even health enthusiasts can join the fun, thanks to treats like dried sweet potatoes! This product is 100% made of the real thing, only cut into smaller pieces and then sweetened with sugar. You’ll get to enjoy the natural starchy flavor of sweet spuds with each bite of this snack.
7. Roasted Seaweed
Also known as kim, roasted seaweed is a common ingredient in Korean cuisine. You might have seen it before in dishes like kimbap, for instance. But did you know that you can also munch solely on these dried sheets for snacking? That’s possible because roasted seaweed has an all-natural umami flavor that’s delicious in and of itself. As a bonus, it’s also naturally packed with healthy nutrients.
8. Turtle Corn Chips
Orion’s Turtle Corn Chips have a unique look, as each piece is made up of four puffy corn chips stacked on top of each other. To make things more interesting, they’re also coated with specks of roasted seaweed! Because where else can you find a seaweed-flavored chip than on this list of the best Korean snacks?
9. My Gummy Jelly
My Gummy Jelly is another one of Orion’s most popular Korean snacks. As you can probably tell from the name, it’s a kind of jelly treat. Think of it as South Korea’s own version of gummy bears, but fruit-shaped. From grape to peach, it’s available in different flavors. Pop a couple of these gummies into your mouth for a quick sugar rush!
10. Sunflower Seeds
In South Korea, locals love to enjoy sunflower seeds that are coated in chocolate. So if you’ve only tried salted sunflower seeds that are more common in other parts of the world, you’re in for a sweet surprise with this product from Lotte. The seeds are already peeled as well, so there’s no trouble gnawing out the shell to enjoy it.
11. Orion Choco Pie
Orion Choco Pie is a fan favorite. It’s one of those few items that you simply cannot leave out of a list of Korean snacks. That’s not at all surprising, since it truly is the perfect sweet treat. Picture a blob of fluffy marshmallow sandwiched in-between two pieces of cake, then coated in milk chocolate. That’s exactly what this snack is, and it’s glorious! We recommend enjoying choco pies with a tall glass of iced dalgona coffee for a full Hallyu-inspired snack time.
12. Banana Kick
Save some room for Korean snacks in your pantry, because Nongshim Banana Kick is a must-have! As we already established, banana is a popular fruit and flavor in South Korea. This is just another testament to that. Off the bat, this snack looks similar to the cheese puffs that we grew up with, but with a sweet banana flavor. That said, it has a crunchy yet melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s nothing short of satisfying.
13. Dried Squid
You can count on Korean snacks for your seafood fix. After all, dried seafood is popular among South Korean natives. Ojingeochae muchim or dried squid, in particular, is a common banchan (side dish) in Korean food that can also double as a snack. Think of jerky, but made with squid instead of beef. It’s flavored with salt, sugar, and other seasonings as well. All in all, a strong seafood flavor shines through in this chewy snack.
14. Yopokki Cheese Tteokbokki
Tteokbokki is a tasty Korean street food that consists of sticky rice cakes cooked in a flavorful spicy sauce. Apart from being famous among the locals, it has also been gracing episodes of certain K-dramas aired around the world. For instance, it’s featured in the hit series Reply 1988, as well as in the swoon-worthy show Oh My Venus. So it’s not all that surprising to say that this rice cake treat is among the most popular Korean snacks that you can try.
Luckily, there’s no need to travel halfway across the world to enjoy a serving of the iconic tteokbokki! Thanks to these cheese-flavored Yopokki instant packets that you can purchase online, it’s possible to have it without leaving the comforts of home. For the best experience, we suggest serving this chewy Korean snack with hard-boiled eggs and scallions on top.
15. Shiitake Mushroom Crisps
Bored of run-of-the-mill potato chips? If that’s the case, you might enjoy these shiitake mushroom crisps from South Korea. Made with all-natural ingredients, this snack is non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, and 100% vegan. A bold claim that surprisingly doesn’t sacrifice flavor. That means more of the light and crispy mushrooms without the guilt! All things considered, this is one of the best authentic Korean snacks to have on the go.
16. Samyang Fire Noodles
Up for a challenge? Then having some Samyang fire noodles is the way to go! This is basically Korean instant noodles tossed in a really spicy sauce. It’s available in many flavors, such as the “light” version which stands at around 1,700 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), and the spiciest Buldak Bbibbimyeon at 12,000 SHU. The original version called Buldalk Bokkeummyeon is somewhere in the middle at 4,400 SHU.
Thanks to Samyang fire noodles’ incredible level of spiciness, it became one of the most popular Korean snacks on the internet in the last couple of years. For the trendy fire noodle challenge, people would go out of their way to purchase, cook up, and eat this snack. All the trouble, just to see if they could finish a pack! But if you could go past the heat, you’ll be able to enjoy the rich flavor of the sauce. Since the product is available on the internet, you can now try it for yourself as well.
Lotte’s Milkis is another drink that’s perfect to pair with your Korean snacks. It’s a carbonated beverage that’s bubbly and creamy at the same time! Like the milk yogurt that’s popular across different parts of Asia, it’s tart and sweet, but with a surprisingly fizzy twist. Besides the original Milkis flavor, this drink also comes in 10 other versions, including strawberry, banana, and melon. So if you’re looking to try them all, we suggest purchasing the variety pack.
18. Soft Malang Cow
Lotte also makes Soft Malang Cow, a kind of chewy candy that’s made with fresh milk of the best quality. It’s aerated until cloud-like and squishy, just like a very soft jelly candy. Of course the original plain milk flavor is the best, but you can also try the strawberry-flavored version if you want something different.
19. Jolly Pong
Jolly Pong is a puffed rice snack that you can enjoy by itself or as a kind of cereal to enjoy with milk for breakfast. It’s light and crunchy, with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you wanting more. No wonder it’s been all the rage since it was first produced in 1972. So if you’re a fan of lightweight Korean snacks, then you know the drill.
20. Green Grape Candy
Lotte’s Green Grape Candy is just one of the many Korean hard candies out there. However, it is among the most well-known! As its name implies, this candy is sweet, fruity, and overall reminiscent of fresh green grapes. Even its size and shape is akin to that of the fruit. All in all, this is a great snack to indulge in from time to time.
Would you like something more traditional? Yakgwa or gwajul is among the best Korean snacks for this specific craving. It’s a honey-flavored tea biscuit that’s often enjoyed during traditional Korean celebrations like the Chuseok harvest festival. You’ll love it with tea, a steaming cup of joe, or any beverage of your choice.
22. Gosomi Crackers
Gosomi is another iconic Korean snack that has stood the test of time. It’s a kind of wheat cracker with a timeless sweet and salty flavor. Decorated with sesame seeds, this treat also has a nutty quality to it. Enjoy it by itself, with dips, or with a delicious beverage of your choice.
Hotteok or hoeddeok is a popular Korean street food. It’s a stuffed pancake that can either be sweet or savory depending on the filling. It can be stuffed with everything from a saccharin brown sugar filling, to savory japchae or stir-fried glass noodles!
You would often see vendors cooking this snack on the bustling streets in Korea. If you’re up to it, you can make a fresh batch of hotteok at home using convenient Korean pancake mixes available online.
24. Anytime Sugar-Free Candy
Lotte’s Anytime mint candy is a snack that you can indeed have any time you want. Not only is it convenient to carry around all the time, but it’s also relatively better for your health than other hard candies. That’s because it’s made with xylitol, a natural sugar alternative derived from plants. Hence, you won’t have to worry about your sugar intake with this sugar-free and aspartame-free treat. It’s available in a myriad of flavors, like milk and mint, bluemarine, lemon and mint, plum and peach, and milky mango.
Remember Bugle chips? The cone-shaped Kkokkalcorn or Popping Corn Chips of Korea is quite similar to that. It’s available in three flavors: grilled corn, original, and sweet and spicy. Regardless of the one you have, satisfaction is guaranteed with the chips’ delicious flavor and crunchy texture. As with most of the Korean snacks on this list, this product has become a household name ever since it was introduced in the 1980s.
26. Hapi Bing Bing
Hapi Bing Bing is the next best thing to Korean ice cream. For context, it’s a crispy cone snack with a sweet and luscious filling. The original version is filled with chocolate, but it’s also available in strawberry or green tea. Munch on this in-between or after meals to satisfy your sweet tooth! It’s also an excellent mess-free alternative to ice cream cones for kids.
27. Bagel Chips
Who knew that dense bagels can be transformed into light, crunchy chips for snacking? This plant-based Korean snack achieves just that by baking the individual bread pieces. And because these chips aren’t baked but fried, they’re not too oily either. The blueberry flavor of the bagels shine through, providing a sweet, savory, and tart sensation that you’ll definitely enjoy.
28. Choco Heim
Choco Heim is a sumptuous Korean wafer snack that houses a delectable cream and hazelnut filling. The original chocolate and hazelnut flavor is more popular, although this treat is also available with a white chocolate and hazelnut filling. A box of Choco Heim is perfect for gift-giving or for simply treating yourself to a sweet dessert. You can also enjoy it frozen!
29. Chilsung Cider
Down your chosen Korean food with Chilsung Cider, Korea’s nostalgic carbonated beverage. It was all the rage in the ’50s and ’60s, so a sip of this drink is always a trip down memory lane for Korean natives. The original Chilsung is lime-flavored. It’s tart and fizzy, the perfect refreshment to gulp down during hot days. Nowadays, Chilsung is available in several flavors, including orange, grape, apple, tangerine, pear, and mango.
30. Custard Cream Cake
Not a fan of chocolate-flavored cakes? Luckily, there are other cake-like Korean snacks besides Orion Cake Pies. Take these Custard Cream Cakes by Lotte, for instance. These are like mini angel food cakes, filled with creamy custard in the middle. The list of treats to enjoy with coffee and tea just keeps on going!
31. Binch Biscuits
The product name “Binch” is one that Koreans will instantly recognize, so it’s easy to see why we chose to include it in this list of popular Korean snacks. These are crispy, wafer-thin cookies dipped in luscious milk chocolate. And it’s the perfect sweet snack to munch on if you prefer something light! You may also enjoy it after meals as a dessert, or as an accompaniment to your tea or coffee ritual.
32. Apollo Straw
Apollo Straw is yet another nostalgic Korean snack. What makes this fruit-flavored candy unique is the fact that it’s contained in individual, see-through plastic straws. You just have to push the contents out of the tube and into your mouth to enjoy its sweet, fruity taste. All in all, it’s a yummy snack and fun activity all rolled into one! And although it’s primarily tailored to entice kids, adults can surely get in on the fun as well. It’s available in several flavors, namely: pineapple, strawberry, blueberry, and apple.
33. Green Tea Choco Pie
Lotte puts a unique spin on the beloved Choco Pie to produce this delightful green tea-flavored snack. The cake itself is flavored with green tea, but all the other classic elements of the snack remain unchanged. You’ll still get to enjoy the puffy marshmallow filling, as well as the decadent chocolate coating. Only, the sweetness of these components are perfectly cut by the natural flavor of the tea-flavored cake. All in all, it’s an excellent sweet treat that isn’t too cloying.