Located at the southern tip of the country, Busan is one of South Korea’s busiest and most unique port cities. Unlike Seoul, a landlocked concrete jungle, Busan is a lil’ bit special.
Despite it often being overshadowed by its sister city, Busan has a beautiful coastline surrounding its east perimeter as well as countless jaw-dropping natural geological beauties sprinkled throughout the area. With fresh foods and stunning sights aplenty, surely a trip to Busan will be well worth it.
Some people say that the best way to know a country is through its food and as fellow travelers, we attest to that statement with our heart and soul. Sometimes, having a good meal is just like downing a good bowl of warm chicken soup for your soul – Rich, satisfying and memorable.
And as the birthplace of numerous well-known Korean specialties, we can guarantee you that your taste buds will be in for a gastronomical ride unlike any other when you are there.
With a variety of fresh produce readily available, there is no stopping this food powerhouse from making its mark. So today, let us take a moment to appreciate the amazing foods of Busan.
We present to you this list of local favorites and along with each introduction, a hot-place we recommend you to visit on your next adventure there. Let’s go!
#1. Pork and Rice Soup (돼지국밥)
When it comes to Busan specialties, this is one representative dish you cannot miss out on. This classic is sure to steal your heart with its one-of-a-kind broth made out of pork bone and meat.
After hours of carefully boiling it to perfection, the soup is served with rice, more pork parts, and spring onions to form the ultimate heart-warming combo. Its heartiness and warmth are unlike any other.
Not only does eating this bowl of Dwaeji Gukbap (Pork & Rice soup) make you feel all happy and fuzzy on the inside, its clean taste will definitely not leave you feeling all heavy and jelak afterwards. It’s rejuvenating and wholesome, to say the least!
When you’re in Korea, pop by Ssangdoongi Dwaeji Gukbap / 쌍둥이돼지국밥. It’s highly regarded for its flavorsome take on the popular dish and it is also one of Busan’s must-eat places!
Opening Hours: Every day from 9 am to 12 midnight
Address: 35-1 UN Pyeonghwa-ro, Daeyeon-dong, Nam-gu, Busan (부산 남구 유엔평화로 35-1)
To Get There: Take the train to Daeyeon Station (대연역), it’s a 6-minute walk from exit 3.
Curious to find out what Dwaeji Gukbap is like? Kim’s Family / 킴스 패밀리 is the only restaurant chain in Singapore where you can get an authentic taste of it. Apart from the highlight, they also serve other kinds of Korean foods such as stews, barbeques and more.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm
Address: 177 Telok Ayer Street S(068625)
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer Station
#2. Milmyeon (밀면)
Although very similar to the ever so famous Naengmyeon (Cold Noodles/냉면), this dish is born and bred with the true essence of Busan and holds a completely different charm compared to the former.
It’s hard to find an authentic bowl of Milmyeon anywhere else, making this dish a whole standalone attraction on its own. The refreshing, soup base is made from meats, vegetables, and herbs that have been combined and brewed for hours to bring out its deep, complex flavor profile.
Served with ice and a perfectly twisted roll of buckwheat noodles, then topped with a dollop of gochujang, this is the perfect poison you’ve been waiting for that’ll help you combat the horrible summertime heat!
When you’re in Korea, swing by Haeeundae Gaya Milmyeon / 해운대가야밀면 for an authentic bowl of cold noodles. One of the top 3 places in Busan, this is also another eating spot you would not want to miss!
Opening Hours: Every day from 9 am to 9 pm
Address: 27 Jwadongsunhwan-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan (부산 해운대구 좌동순환로 27)
To Get There: Take the train to Joongdong Station (중동), it’s a 4-minute walk from exit 10.
#3. Fishcake (어묵)
Before this snack was easily found throughout the country, Busan was the one that started the fishcake boom. With a whole ocean right at their doorstep, Busan sure knows how to play their fishcake game exceptionally well.
Unlike the Singapore ones we often eat and love, the Korean variation is somewhat sweeter with only a slight hint of fishiness. Combining different types of fishes and then processing them to form thick, rectangular strips, it is served together with a rich, warm broth as the ultimate (winter) snack.
Often sold via mini pushcarts, this quick bite has stolen the hearts of many with its comforting presence and affordable price point. For the adventurous ones, modernized takes have even transformed this mere fishcake into full fledge unique snacks. Try out the cheese or rice cake stuffed fishcake!
When you’re in Busan looking for some fishcake, Samjin Amook / 삼진어묵 is where you’d wanna go. Sounds familiar? Yes, because this brand is also available in Singapore! For the diehard fans, do check out the Busan headquarters as they house a cafe, as well as a museum that allows you to get a glimpse of how these fishcakes started out.
Opening Hours: Every day from 9 am to 6 pm
Address: 36 Taejong-ro 99 beon-gil, Yeongdo-gu, Busan (부산 영도구 태종로99번길 36)
To Get There: Take the train to Nampo Station (남포), it’s a 16-minute walk from exit 8.
#4. Pig Trotters with Cold Vegetables (냉채족발)
Don’t let the idea of pig trotters scare you, this dish is extremely popular and is usually served alongside a refreshing bottle of soju. However, unlike how it’s usually on a savory side of the food scale, Busan’s alternative take on this Korean dish has a healthier tweak. Trotters are lightly seasoned, steamed and deboned before being chilled and served on a cold pile of mixed vegetables such as cucumbers, radish, and onions.
Its light seasoning and simple garnish doused with a pleasant mustard sauce tones down on the complexities to bring out the true flavor of the pork. The overall taste profile of it is pretty straightforward and isn’t what you would expect it to be.
Coupled with a bunch of beautifying properties such as collagen (which is said to aid in strengthening your skin), the Naengchae Jokbal (pig trotters with cold vegetables) is the perfect dish that is oh-so-delicious yet not too sinful – Great for dieters too!
Welcome to paradise on Earth. Bupyeongdong Jokbal Street / 부평동족발골목 in Busan is a whole street dedicated to this amazing dish. With so many shops offering their unique takes on the Naengchae Jokbal, you’ll be spoilt for choices. If you cannot decide which to try, just choose the place with the longest queue!
Opening Hours: Varies depending on shop
Address: Bupyeongdong i-ga (부산 중구 부평동2가)
To Get There: Take the train to Jagalchi Station (자갈치역), it’s a 4-minute walk from exit 3.
Surprise, guess what! You can actually get yourself some authentic Naengchae Jokbal in Singapore too. Nestled in between some inconspicuous shophouses, this hidden restaurant is where you have to go if you want to try out this rare dish. Gather some friends and head on down to Hyangyeon / 향연 to pig yourself out now!
Opening Hours: Every day from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm to 01:30 am. (For weekends and PH, only dinner is available)
Address: 80 Amoy Street S(069899)
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer Station
#5. Dongnae Green Onion Pancake / 동래파전
Back in the day, Busan was known to be a part of the Dongnae fortress and the rumor has it that this dish was made back then to be presented to the King in celebration of the country’s victory during the Imjin War.
Unlike the usual Pajeon (pancake) commonly eaten these days, this variation is made out of scallions which stalks have mostly been preserved for that extra crunch. The batter also has a hint of glutinous flour to give this special Korean pancake a tinge of chewiness.
Crispy on the outside, yet tender and full of flavor on the inside – The Dongnae Pajeon (green onion pancake) is a simple dish but the explosion of flavor and textures it brings is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
Using a recipe handed down from previous generations, Dongnae Halmae Pajeon / 동래할매파전 does Dongnae Pajeon unlike any other. Their pancakes are as authentic as it can get so get ready for a taste of the past when you visit this hot place in Busan!
Opening Hours: Every day from noon to 10 pm, closed on public holidays
Address: 43-10 Myeongnyun-ro 94 beon-gil, Dongnae-gu, Busan (부산 동래구 명륜로94번길 43-10)
To Get There: Take the train to Suan Station (수안역), it’s a 4-minute walk from exit 5.
#6. Grilled Cow Ribs / 암소갈비
Honestly, how can we miss out on barbeque when you’re in Korea? Everybody loves a good serving of freshly cooked meat and this restaurant is the best place to have some grilled ribs in Busan.
Loved by both locals and tourists alike, the Cow Ribs (Amso Galbi) are grilled over a raw charcoal flame to give it that distinctly charred taste. It even has the perfect ratio of fat to meat, its juices oozing out once cooked to give the diner a burst of flavor that can overpower any other random barbeque joint any other day. At this place, potato noodles are also served along the ribs to complement the meal. It is a must-try for all the meat lovers out there!
Nowhere else does Amso Galbi as great and as unique as Somunnan Amso Galbi / 소문난 암소갈비. With marinated and non-marinated meats for you to choose from, there’s something for everyone here!
Opening Hours: Every day from 11:30 am to 10 pm, closed on public holidays.
Address: 32-10 Jungdong 2-ro 10 beon-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan (부산 해운대구 중동2로10번길 32-10)
To Get There: Take the train to Jung-dong Station (중동역), it’s an 8-minute walk from exit 7.
#7. Raw Seafood / 회
Busan wins the raw fish games hands down. Being right next to the ocean has its perks and it comes in the form of some of the freshest catches you’ll ever eat! With the seafood so fresh you can literally smell the ocean in it, the meat is extra tender and succulent, it’s worth traveling all the way to down south (from Seoul) just to have a bite or two.
Its easy accessibility is also another plus point on its own. Just head on down to Busan’s largest fish market to choose any kind of seafood you want! Once you’ve made your choice, it is skilfully captured, deboned and sliced quicker than you can finish reciting the Korean alphabet.
And in true standard Korean fare, it can be eaten with vegetables (such as perilla leaves or lettuce, etc.), gochujang and garlic for a foolproof, well-rounded meal!
A testament to its popularity, Jagalchi Fish Market / 자갈치시장 is the first place most people would think of whenever someone talks about seafood in Busan. This huge market has all the fishes and seafood you can ever imagine, and even better yet, you can request for them to help you slice your catch on the spot!
Opening Hours: Every day from 2 am to 10 pm
Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan (부산 중구 자갈치해안로 52)
To Get There: Take the train to Nampo Station (남포역), it’s a 4-minute walk from exit 2.
#8. Sunflower Seed Hotteok / 씨앗호떡
Last but not least, finish off your feast with a scrumptious sugary dessert, fresh off the street side fryer. Stuffed with sunflower seeds and then encased within a dough mixture made out of regular and glutinous flour, this is Busan’s unique spin on the famous Korean street-side snack. With its chewy mouthfeel and crispy golden crust, it’s not hard to see why it’s a popular dessert choice amongst many.
To get a taste of this treat, head down to BIFF Square / BIFF 광장. This street has been especially famous for its many Hotteok stands in recent years thanks to Yoo Jae-suk and Lee Seung-gi who have filmed there before. Try guessing where the both of them ate their Hotteoks when you pop by!
Opening Hours: Varies depending on store
Address: 80 Gudeok-ro, Jung-gu, Busan (부산 중구 구덕로 80)
To Get There: Take the train to Jagalchi Station (자갈치역), it’s a 3-minute walk from exit 3.
Looking for another reason to visit this foodie paradise? Good news for you because your gateway to Busan just got even more accessible. Say goodbye to stopovers in Seoul and 3-hour KTX rides thanks to Singapore Airlines and Jeju Air regular direct flights! Now you can get from Singapore to Busan in just under 6.5 hours at prices starting from only SGD 450, two-way.
With flights so convenient and foods so tempting, what are you waiting for? It’s now time for you to pick Busan for your next adventure!
This article is brought to you by Korea Tourism Organisation Singapore.