Street Food in Busan: Fish Cake Croquettes at Gukje Market

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Oden Korokke at Gukje Market, Busan

I am currently spending an amazing weekend in Busan.  I have always wanted to revisit the biggest port city in Korea and finally I got a chance to come down here with a friend.  Last time I travelled to Busan was about nine years ago also with a friend from Canada.  Back then I had very little information about the city and we did not get to enjoy it to the fullest due to lack of knowledge.  This time, I have researched famous attractions and built a must-eat checklist for both of us before I threw myself on a KTX train.

As soon as I arrived at Busan Station I took the metro and went a few stations east to Jagalchi Station.  There are number of famous traditional markets within the walking distance of this metro station.  Although it was a Friday I did not expect a crowd on a chilly day in February but I was wrong.  The streets were filled with both tourists and locals proving how popular this part of town is.

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Gukje Sijang (국제시장: International Market) is especially popular due to its recently gained fame from the film.  The intersection of Gukje Market were lined with food carts and crowded with people lining up for them.  My friend suggested that we should try something unique and unfamiliar – like oden goroke or korokke (오뎅고로케: fried fish cake croquettes).

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The staff recommended cheese-filled goroke

Oden refers to processed fish cake that is commonly known as Japanese winter food.  There are regional varieties in Korea as well but I have never seen the “croquette” version of an oden before.  And on top of that, the fried oden balls are filled with six different stuffings – curry, shrimp, cheese, fish roe and some questionable spicy filling.

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Hand made and deep fried on spot

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I personally love freshly fried oden so this was sensational.  A modern twist of a classic winter snack.  We sprinkled a little bit of hot sauce on top for additional kick and finished the whole thing – one cheese and one shrimp for both of us.  It was before dinner and I say this was a bit of a filling appetizer but surely I would have regretted if we decided to pass.  This is one of the many things that you can experience only in Busan – so why not give it a try?

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