Korean Food : Highway Service Station Food is way Expensive! (Hyugeso)

The Last winter trip to High1 

My b-friend and I went on the last trip of this winter, to High-one, one of the biggest ski-resort in Korea, located in Gangwon province. We spent 2 nights and 3 days with his friends.

On a first day, we arrived late at night, so we just grab a bottle of beer and had a rest. On the next day, we all snow-boarded nearly for 8 hours, trembling, tumbling, sliding, shrieking, bumping, crashing, shouting, sprawling, and laughing. To shortly say, Exhilarated.

At night, we ate pork belly, called Samgyupsal, with beer and soju. Samgyupsal after hard-working of snow-boarding was very wonderful. We played several games that we used to do during schooltime and chattered about our daily lives and again, laughed and laughed.

When the sun rose in the third day morning, it was time to turn back to own lives. After having said goodbye to each other, we took a car for own destination, Seoul, Gumi, and Busan.

It would be a long journey for my b-friend and me. To Busan to Gangwon, it takes 4 to 5 hours through express way by car. Before departure, we decided to drop by a service station, called Hyugeso in Korean, and have late lunch there.

I was a Service Station Snacker

During my childhood, when my family visited relatives’ house on traditional holiday, like a new year or a thanks-giving day, we took a highway to get there. For me, only thing I longed for, during the boring time staying in the stuffed car, was snack time in a highway service station(Hyugeso).

It was me who popped out first as soon as Dad finished parking the car. I dashed out to the snack area, rubbing my abdomen. Then, Mom, behind me, cautioned me to be attentive against cars with a worrying voice. Later, Mom arriving, I excitedly said to mom a list of want-to-eat snacks.

Mom bought whatever I demanded, grinning. Mom did never reject to buy them for me, since she knew it was the only interest for me on a way. My favorite was walnut bread, named Hodugwaja, a symbol of service station snack, and baked or steamed corn. I was so happy with them.

Cheongdo Service Station

Korea service stationKorea service station
We arrived at Cheongdo service station around 4 o’clock, 3-4 hours after departure. We felt a bit hungry and start to wander around for snack.

There were typical service-service station snacks including Walnut bread(Hodugwaja), Ddeokbokki, Oden, Baked potatoes, Sausage-bar(Hot bar), Hotdog, Corn and Coffee. We splitted, for saving time, to choose snack to buy.

Korea service stationThey look so yum, don't they?

Highway Service Station Food is way Expensive!

Soon I gaped at the prices of the snack.
It was unreasonably expensive than that in other places.

For example, Walnut bread, called hodugwaja, one of the famous snacks in highway service station, was sold in a packet of 8 balls at 2,000won, meaning 250 won per ball. In comparison with walnut bread in Cheon-an city, it’s 20% more expensive. Oden and Sausage stick(Hot-bar) cost 2,000won each, of which prices are 1,500won each in the city-market. It is way costly.

Unfortunately, I had no choice but to buy them. We bought a bowl of Ddeokbokki and a skew of Oden, paying 5,000won in total. I expected the taste to be good in suit of its high price. But the tastes of them was just fair, but not satisfying enough.

Korea service stationKorean service stationIt's my he eating a piece of ddeokbokki!

Korea service stationA skew of Oden is 2,500won!!

Please Keep price fair!

For me, it was still the biggest delight on a highway.
There’s something special on that service station, with cheering atmosphere.

The quality of snack in such areas cannot be guaranteed, due to its locational advantage for monopoly. But as it remains as a citizens’ rest area, providing convenience for exhausted drivers and passengers through long trips, it should keep its food price fair. 


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 Snack : Roasted Chestnut Pack, Matbam : CJ in Korea




Matbam ★★★★☆
100% chestnuts, delicious healthy food

Company : CJ Cheiljedang
Weight : 42g

Main ingredients: chestnut 100%

Nutrition Facts : 73kcal(1serving-42g)
Carbohydrates 16g(sugars 5g) (5%)
Protein 1g(2%)
Fat 0.5g (saturated fat 0g/Trans-fat 0g)(1%)
Cholesterol less than 0mg
Sodium 20mg(1%)

Variation : No variation
Similar Product : Haepyo Matbam

Foodstoryist Review

Color  : light walnut color outside and inside
Taste : First you can smell a bit of nutty flavor on the surface. You smash one piece of the chestnut in your mouth, then it comes with mild chest nut flavor. Without sugar or sweetener adding, it tastes definitely simple and straight. Consumers who got accustomed to instinctive or strong flavor might think it is too somewhat bland. The chestnut taste is just like a chest. I finish my review here.



Pros : No doubt that it’s good for your health. It is a nature food without adding any artificial additive or flavors. It will invite you to the slow food world. It is portable packed in the plastic, and so convenient to carry in the bag for your afternoon snack.

Cons : Chestnuts used in Matbam are imported from China. I don't want to discuss the prejudice or vias on food in china. I just want to ascertain that Korea also harvests chestnuts in many provinces including Jeongan, Buyeo, Sancheong, and Yangpyeong. They are admired to be distinctively sweet and delicious. I recommend CJ as Korean leading food company consider using Korean local agri-products to promote Korean agriculture industry.

Food Pairing :

Chocolate and Chestnut Fondue

I would like to introduce you a interesting way to eat chestnuts(Matbam) with chocolate. You know what a fondue is? This time, you apply chocolate instead of cheese, a chocolate fondue. Sounds yum?


All you need is chocolate, dried fruits and chest nuts. You first start melting the chocolate, all types, whichever you like. In a meantime, you just cut dried fruits such as prunes, bananas, plums, or pigs. into pieces in size of chestnuts. (You can prepare whichever you like.) Later, you fork the fruits first and add chestnuts in order. Chestnuts are fragile, so add it later. The last action is you place your fork into melted warm chocolate and then into your mouth. Enjoy your lovely chestnut fondue.

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Snack : Soboru? Soboro! : Paris Baguette in Korea
                                                                      soboro=soboru=strewed bread


Soboru (Strewed bread) ★★★★☆
소보로 빵

Company : Paris Baguette
Weight : 85g

Main ingredients: wheat flour, butter, peanut, sugar
Nutrition Facts : 280kcal(85g)
Sugars 11g
Protein 7g(12%)
Saturated fat 3g(20%)
Sodium 180mg(9%)

Variation : Sweet potato soboru, Soboru stick
Similar Product : Tous les Jour Soboru

Foodstoryist Review

Color & Texture : dim yellow(straw) color
                             Crispy and buttery strewed cover and rough bread inside

Taste : Soboru usually divides into two parts, cookies on top and bread at the bottom. I instantly smell the strong nutty flavor even at a distance. I usually pick up the strewed cookies with my finger first, because it is the best part of the bread. I enjoy the butter crispy cookie with peanuts in. The cookies impress you with two texture, crunching feeling and chewy and sticky feeling with peanut butter. Later on, I tear off a bit of soboru(the whole bread) and put it into the mouth. The biscuit on top is super sweet itself, while the bread at the bottom is bland. It sets on a balance mixing sweetness with blandness.

A funny way to cast your fortune through soboru.

Curious? Check the bottom surface of it, and if there are crispy cookies the same one on the top, you are lucky. It gives extra sweetness to it. Some have it, others don't. So Test your luck with your soboro today.


Pros : Compared to other bakeries, Paris baguette tops with a lot more cookies.  They are less screwy on ingredients. Additionally, its cookie is more crispy giving richer buttery flavor. It’s a charming point for consumers for sure. It is the best and steady seller of Paris baguette.

Cons : The bread part of Paris baguette is too bland contrary with sugary cover on top. I hope it is more flavored so that it positively affects the whole bread. It results that the bread taste is too separated from cookie’s. It’s better to eat soboro with complementary food that contains a flavor.

The quantity of cookies varies depending on the store. Some bakeries have a lot of it on, but others have just little. There must be a standard recipe of it, but the style or the amount of cookie-attaching seem to be decided by the owners or bakers. The headquarter’d better standardize the product. That’s my one thought.

But, I think I am enjoying testing my fortune wishing the biggest soboro with enormous amount of cookies on. HaHa.


Food Pairing :

Chai Latte and Soboro

What is Chai Latte?
Chai is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise or fennel seeds, peppercorn and cloves. Chai latte is the steamed milk of a normal latte is being flavored with a spiced tea concentrate, Chai. You can add sweetener or sugar to adjust the extent of sweetness.


Eating a part of Soboro, you enjoy its own taste first. Then, you should try it with Chai Latte, warm spiced milk tea. You put one bite of soboro in your mouth, drink one morsel of chai latte and chew them together. You can feel the milk tea soaking bread and buttered crispy cookies altogether.

The most impressive part of this pairing is chai’s spices flavor. The flavorless bread part gets back up with a bit of exotic flavors of spices, bitterness of tea, sweetness of sugar, and smoothness of milk. It complements the missed part of the soboro. a Good match.  



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Korean Food : Street Food Calories in Winter (tteokbokki/hotteok)



When you walk through the street in winter, you can see many vendors selling hot food with steam swirling on. Spicy tteokbokki, hot hot soup with glamorous oden and deep-fries just out from oil. All of them fascinate you to come. No body would possibly pass by this food temptation.

It’s great to experience local street foods in winter. They must meet your starving experimental spirit in new world. But you need to know the side effect of it before exploring. 

Street food = Obese food?

Frying with oil or seasoning with thick sauce are common cooking way of street food. Deep fries(twigim) and hotteok are deep fried. Bungeoppang, gyeranppang are fried with oil. Ddeokbokki and oden are seasoned with very spicy or salty sauce. That is because these foods must warm itself and warm customers body when being served.

Street food mostly consists of carbohydrates and fats. It means it contains significant amount of calories, that cause obesity and diabetes. Also, it is high in sugar and sodium, so it increases blood sugar levels rapidly. Furthermore, people usually eat them standing and it also accelerates speed of level up.

 Name  Calories
 Hobbang  200kcal
 Hobbang with vegetables  250kcal
 Chinese Hotteok  160kcal
 Bungeoppang  100~120kcal
 Hotteok   260kcal
 Gyeranppang(egg bread)  130kcal
 Kukhwappang  40kcal
 Oden(50g)  70kcal
 Oden(70~80g)  100~150kcal
 Hodogwaja(walnut bread)  50kal
 Baked sweet potato(200g)  256kcal
 Tteokbokki  225kcal

   Seeing this, your rationality just blows away. Doesn't it?

To Eat a Best Diet with Street Food

Vendors attract people through stimulative and impressing taste. Those stimuli usually include unhealthy factors such as deep frying and high carb and fat content. The use of those definitely makes sales easy and cheap, and it’s profitable. 

Interestingly, customers indulge in those seductive tastes apart from nutrition facts. They enjoy eating them although they are aware of negative results of overindulge of it. And I do, too. We seem to have fallen into temptation of street food. Kind of ‘What the heck.’


I think, to eat a best diet with street food, it’s crucial to balance those greedy wants and nutritional aspects. Nothing must be neglected to better life. Vendors must reduce the quantity of unhealthy ingredients and consumers also learn to adjust its intake considering their health condition.

  It's Chinese Hotteok sold in Korea. Must be more health friendly than Korean one.


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Korean Food : Tongue Burning Pancake, Hotteok (Hoddeok) in Winter

15years ago.

Every winter,
Near my elementary school,
There was a Hotteok vendor with small students around.
I always stopped by there But not to buy one.
Just to look at it. To look at the hotteok making process.

I liked the sizzling sound when round dough met oil.
I liked the vendor’s hand technique to press it flat.
I liked the oil moving in waves when puffed dough turned over.
I liked the smell that notify me of cooking done.

Sometimes I had money to buy one, it was about 300won at those days as I remember, and then I straightly scurried to the vendor. I pay for one hoddoek. I started to observe the intriguing procedure in front of me.

When hotteok study was done, I was able to grab a cup of hotteok. (Why a cup? Hotteok is served being embedded in cardboards. But often served in a paper cup preventing sugar drops to clothes. Cups are more costly than cardboards. I assumed that the vendor near my school was thoughtful worrying us for being scolded about filthy clothes.)

I hurriedly ate a bite of hotteok with feeling of excitement. Ouch. Inside was too hot and I almost burned my tongue. I resolved not to hasten to eat it next time. I must do first bite after cooling it edible enough. But interestingly, I repeatedly burned my tongues having forgot previous learning.  

I think I had to pay more for vendor’s hotteok making performance, since I really appreciate the whole play. I owe some to him for that, but he also owes me for product liability law. He’s never warned me to be attentive of hot filling. I’ve burned my tongues umpteen times. Tradeoff.


What is exactly a Hotteok?

Hotteok is a sort of brown-sugar filled Korea pancake.

Where is Hotteok Origin?

The name Hotteok is combination of ‘Ho’ meaning barbarian and ‘tteok’ meaning rice cake. In other words, it literally means ‘barbarian rice cake’.

It was believed to be originated from middle Asia including Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan or Turkey and India. Researchers assumed the hotteok was derived from ‘Nan’, the typical bread in those areas. It was introduced to China through the silk road and became popular in China. Later, in 1882, hotteok was introduced to Korea by chinese merchants who immigrated to Korea. They started selling it in Jemulpo, Incheon at the beginning, and then moved to Jongno and Myeongdong in Seoul. Now it’s sold everywhere throughout Korea.

First introduced Chinese hotteok contained savory meat fillings, but it was replaced by a sweet mixture to meet Korean tastes. The basic ingredients of sweet filling are brown sugar, honey, chopped peanuts, sunflower seed and cinnamon.

How Can I Make Hotteok?

1. Mix wheat flour, water, milk, sugar and yeast in the bowl.
2. Kneed the dough.
3. Let dough lie for several hours.
4. After dough arising, tear off handful sized balls from the dough.
5. Make it round shape and fill it with sweet mixture.
   (brown sugar, honey, chopped peanuts, and cinnamon.)
6. Place the filled dough on a greased griddle.
7. Press it flat with a circle shaped metal spatula.
8. When one side cooked, turn it over and fry another side.
9. After both sides fully browned, let it off the pan.
10. Serve when it’s hot.

<Good News>

In supermarkets or discount stores, You can buy ready-made dry hotteok mix with a filling of brown sugar and ground peanuts or sesame seeds. Easy and Fast!


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Korean Food : Did you buy Baked sweet potatoes today, Mom? 

“Did you buy sweet potatoes today, Mom?”

It was the first question that I asked when my mom got home from work.
 I was happy when she answered me back ‘Yes’.
But regardless of my wish, she sometimes said to me.

“No, today the sweet potato vendor didn’t come out there."

Some vendors are not stable like in-store merchants.

In Korea, sweet potatoes were sold like a street food.
But, some vendors are not stable like in-store merchants. Most of vendors are the elderly who work on the street for their living. Even stray adolescents or high-school students sell them for fun. Moreover, in Korea, vending is not legitimately allowed in most areas. Due to these conditions, they don’t come out or they change selling places very often. So, Mom couldn’t buy me sweet potatoes at times and I felt so disappointed and even sad..



How about home baked sweet potatoes?

No, It doesn’t satisfy me as much as street one.
There’s something special to street sweet potatoes.

Street vendors roasted sweet potatoes in an specially devised equipment. What is that? It is a drum. Do I mean a real drum? Yes, I meant that. The drum is modified to roast sweet potatoes. There is one wide door at the side of the drum so that you can put firewood to set a fire. There are also a few narrow long drawers inside to put raw sweet potatoes. The metal cover helps keep heat inside as like an oven. Few minutes later adding them, you can smell the baking. Sweet potatoes are roasted enough to eat. It’s time for you to enjoy the nature given sweets.  

Homebaked vs Streetbaked

That is because there are several differences in tastes.

A street sweet potato has a secret ingredient. You will taste sweet and nutty flavors in sweet potatoes and those are created by starch and amino-acid. But the most delicious part of street one is the caramel flavor that is generated by heating sugars.

What is the secret ingredient? It is firewood inside the drum. It sometimes burns parts of sweet potatoes and those parts are attractively caramelized. It also gives distinctive woody flavors to sweet potatoes, that makes them distinguished from home baked. This combination of all flavors makes you indulge in street sweet potatoes.

Technically, based on science research, the street one is proved to be sweeter than homebaked one thanks to less water contain. On the process inside the drum, the water evaporates from sweet potatoes, so sugars condensate. It makes the texture differences as well. The home baking one has rough and dry texture, street one has hard and chewy since starch and sugar tangle into firm string-like texture.

Few days ago,
I read thatthe sweet potato vendors are disappearing owing to the fire wood price-risin. That is sad news. As it is hard  to bake sweet potatoes at home, there should be vendors who specialized in making them. Also, Many Koreans long for the memory Mom brought them home just I do. 

I know there's no sweet potato vendors in my town anymore.
I murmur myself.

Did you buy sweet potatoes today, Mom? 



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Snack : Black sesami & Black bean, Harvest : Lotte in Korea


With black bean, black sesami

Company : Lotte
Weight : 88g(44g x2pack)

Main ingredients: wheat flour, sugar, palm oil, shortening, coconut powder, black swesame, black bean
Nutrition Facts : 225kcal(1pack)
Carbohydrates 30g(9%) (sugars 9g)
Protein 3g(5%)
Fat 10g (20%)(saturated fat 6g/Trans-fat 0g)
Cholesterol less than 5mg (1%)
Sodium 170mg (9%)

Variation : Harvest original, Harvest soft cheese
Similar Product : Gosomi / Japanese Harvest


Foodstoryist Review

Color & Texture : Wooden color
                             Crispy and Cracking 


Taste : When I tasted Harvest, the first thing that streak my head was Gosomi made by Orion, Korea. They have quite similar taste with different shapes; Gosomi with a round edged square while Harvest with a circle. Harvest impressed me first with its nutty tastes compared to Gosomi with sugar. The biscuit was enriched with country-like grain flavors. It seemed produced to emphasize its grainy feeling with black sesami sprinkles on the surface of the biscuit.

In comparison with Gosomi, it’s certainly fortified with nutty character while Gosomi with sugar, salt, and butter mixed flavor. As a metaphor, I would say Gosomi is a buttery charming, but whimsical girl with sugar and salt, while Harvest is a young robust farmer in a grain storehouse. Almost the same ingredients, but very distinguished taste with proportion difference in it.

Pros : Not salty, not sweet, only nutty. Well balanced mixture of ingredients. It’s a very delicious snack. It's differentiated from western snack such as choco pies, and chips just like Gosomi.

Cons : I found the almost the same snack named ‘harvest’ in Japan. Harvest in Korea is made by Lotte. I just doubt that it actually originated from Japan, not from Korea. (Not very bad about that fact, but just feel sorry as Korean)

Related Post :
Snack : Sweet Nutty Cracker, Gosomi : Orion in Korea

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