Sweet, salty, creamy, you name the taste, Korean snacks got it. In recent years, Korean snacks grow their popularity globally. Taste is a very subjective matter so it’s really hard to choose the best Korean snacks, and different organizations have different rankings. However, I tried my best to put a list of the best Korean snacks from various sources. The ranks are mostly based on the annual sales of the snack.
Try any of these (or all of them) and share your reviews in the comment. Also, if you have any other favorite Korean snacks, please share them with other readers. Bon Appétit!
No. 10. Margaret Cookie (마가렛트)
Margaret cookies are a type of soft biscuit. The cookie contains peanuts. It pairs well with milk. There is a mocha flavor as well.
No. 9 Pepero (빼빼로)
Pepero is a think cookie stick covered with chocolate. It is famous for Pepero Day, November, 11th in South Korea because the four sticks of Pepero resemble the date. On Pepero Day, originally Koreans gave Pepero to their significant others, but it has expanded so now people share the snack with friends and loved ones as well. Over 50 flavors have been on the shelves since its first introduction in 1983.
No. 8 Turtle Chips (꼬북칩 /kko-buk-chip/)
The most unique characteristic of Turtle Chips is that it has four layers in each bite. Because of this distinguishing shape, it has an enjoyable crunchy texture. Original Turtle Chips have a sweet corn taste, which you may say is similar to a corn soup. Its name comes from its shape’s resemblance to a turtle shell.
No. 7 Honey Butter Chips (허니버터칩)
Honey Butter Chips is a Korean potato chip manufactured by a joint venture of Haitai-Calbee. As the name suggests, it is a variation of potato chips with honey and butter.
Honey Butter Chips is famous for its crazy fad in 2014 when it was first introduced. Thanks to viral social media marketing, there was such a huge craze that people actually waited in line at markets to get it. In addition, stores limited the number of purchases per customer. It is still one of the most mentioned marketing successes among Korean business stories.
Although Honey Butter Chips have been a great success since its introduction, there is a group of people who don’t really care for it because it’s too sweet as potato chips. How do you like it?
No. 6 Peanut & Squid Balls (오징어땅콩 /o-jing-eo-ddang-kkong/)
Peanut and Squid Balls (or Orion Peanut Balls) have been one of the most popular Korean snacks for a long time since it came out first to the market in 1976. A ball includes a whole piece of peanut inside and it is quite crunchy. Peanut and Squid Balls has been popular for pairing with beer.
No. 5 Matdongsan or Crunchy Korean Peanut Cookie (맛동산)
Matdongsan or Crunchy Korean Peanut Cookie is another steady seller among Korean snacks. Haitai started making it in 1975. Matdongsan is fried in oil first, covered with syrup, and then peanuts are spread over. Thus, it is crunchy, sweet, and nutty.
No.4 Poca Chip (포카칩)
Poca Chip is a Korean potato chip snack. Interestingly, the onion flavor was first introduced to the public and the original taste came out four years later. One of the interesting ways to eat the snack is by pairing it with Korean ramyeon.
No. 3 Home Run Ball Snack (홈런볼)
Home Run Ball Snack (or Homerun Ball) is a Korean snack in the cream puff style. The puff is filled with chocolate. In the picture above, I had one with a tiramisu flavor. Some say it tastes even better when you warm this snack up in the microwave for 1 minute. I haven’t tried it yet, but if you try, please let me know.
No. 2 Kkokkalcorn or Popping Corn Chips (꼬깔콘)
Kkokkalcorn is a cone-shaped corn chip. It is lightly salty and crunchy and it has various flavors. Popping Corn Chips have been the best-selling snack in South Korea for many years.
Kkokkalcorn is famous for how you eat them: putting them on the tips of your fingers and eating them one by one, like the one in the picture above. Or, just as you like it.
No. 1 Saeukkang or Shrimp Crackers (새우깡)
Saeukkang is one of the most popular Korean snacks, if not the most, in South Korea. Since Nongshim (yes, it is the same company that sells Shin Ramyeon) introduced it in 1971, it has rarely missed being ranked among the top positions as the best-selling snack in South Korea for over 50 years.
As its name suggests (‘saeu’ means shrimp in Korean), it has a salty shrimp flavor with a crunchy texture. Its TV commercial song with lyrics “손이 가요, 손이 가, 새우깡에 손이 가요 (my hands keep going for Saeukkang)” is one of the most successful marketing music in Korean history.
It seemed that Saeukkang had passed its heyday, but its second heyday came from an unexpected place. The K-pop singer Rain’s song “Kkang” came back on the chart in 2020 and the sales of Saeukkang followed the song’s popularity. There is nothing related between the song and the snack except for the sound of titles. Thanks to the song’s success, Rain starred in Saeukkang’s commercial.
TMI: Many Koreans buy Saeukkang when they board boats or visit beaches in South Korea because seagulls are loving Saeukkang.
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