America is a country that loves bread. In fact, most studies who that when asked, “What is your favorite food,” the number one answer is almost always a bread-related food like, a hamburger, pasta, or pizza. What can we say? We love our bread!
But what you probably didn’t know is that South Korea has a love of bread that’s just as big, if not bigger than the States!
South Korean bakeries are like a playground of dreams for bread lovers. Bakeries are so commonplace, they’ve become cultural hangout spots for friends to chill, couples to celebrate anniversaries, or students to study for a big exam. And you don’t have to pay to stay. Because they must support one of the world’s largest populations in a fraction of space, you can easily find several bakeries on any Korean street to enjoy.
Only 30% of Korean land is inhabitable. With over 71 million people sharing only 30% of a land smaller than the state of Alabama, there are very limited parks and open spaces for friends and families to enjoy each other’s company. Consequently, you will often see places like bakeries have become an easy, affordable place for people of all ages to relax and build relationships.
In contrast, bakeries in the US, specifically Alabama, are mostly used just for special occasions. Furthermore, you really do not see people hanging out all day in a bakery down here in the ‘Gump.
The most common bakeries you will see in South Korea are Tous Les Jours and Paris Baguette.
As you can see, these stores are designed as spaces to relax and spend some quality time.
So let’s now look at the TOP 5 KOREAN BAKERY FOODS you must try and also, where to get them in Alabama!
Sticky Rice Donuts 찹쌀도넛
I love these. Sticky Rice Donuts inherit a slightly chewy texture from the special glutinous rice and red bean paste filling, but also gain a sweet crunchy outside from the fried sugar bread. In a word: mouthwatering.
Green Pea Bread 완두빵
Sweet. Salty. Creamy. Mousey. Savory. Green Pea Bread has it all. Made from literal green peas, this bread is surprisingly sweet despite its wasabi-like color. TRY IT. Be enlightened.
Also! You can find Green Pea Bread at Seoul Market in Montgomery.
Pizza Bread 피자빵 / Sausage Bread 소세지빵
The things South Korea can do with the classic hotdog never ceases to surprise me. So, imagine my face when I first saw this exciting fusion food: the “Sausage Bread.” Sausage bread is basically a hot dog (or sausage) wrapped in dough and covered in strange, yet visibly pleasing toppings. The most popular kind of sausage bread is pizza bread, which is a hot dog wrapped in pizza dough, cut and separated like leaves, then topped with cheese, corn, pizza sauce, and other vegetables. This is far from your classic ballpark frank…
Honestly, I was too scared to try it when I first saw it, but my coworker swears by this popular bakery find. Here are some other variations:
Squid Ink Bread 오징어먹을빵
I know what you’re thinking.
Something like, “I don’t hate my stomach enough to put squid ink in my mouth, even if it is hidden inside scrumptious, warm bread.”
But I’m telling from firsthand experience (that’s my photo up top!), it not as bad as you think. In fact, I didn’t taste anything “squid inky” at all! It’s a delicious bread you can eat and gives a great story to tell your friends 🙂
Kimchi Croquette 김치고로케
The Croquette is our final Korean bakery staple. You can find these salty, savory breads not only in bakeries but in your local street food markets as well. Croquettes can be filled with many different flavors like Kimchi, pizza, or sweet potato. All of them are delicious!
Go out and grab a variation of this tasty treat at the Sweet Rice cafe in Duluth.