Slideshow: Snapshots from South Korea: The Best Things I Ate in Busan

Bibim naengmyun
Bibim naengmyun
It's hard to find good bibimniangmyun outside of Korea. Really. To this day, I have yet to have some that tastes as good as this restaurant's—mixed gochujang with just the right amount of garlic, green onions, sesame oil, sugar, and more; fresh pickled radishes and cucumbers, delicious marinated raw fish, and buckwheat noodles cooked just right.
Ddukboki and Fried Things
Ddukboki and Fried Things
My favorite stand for ddukbokki and all sorts of fried things. Have your pick of fried squid, sweet potatoes, kimbap, hot dogs, or peppers stuffed with jap chae for about $.60 a pop. To the right is ddukboki, rice cakes, and fishcake drenched in an amazingly smooth and spicy sauce. Need something to tame the spice? Help yourself to some fishcake soup. Eat what you want, then pay after!
Fried Pepper Stuffed with Jap Chae
Fried Pepper Stuffed with Jap Chae
Using the mini tongs provided, grab your pick of fried goodies (my favorites are the stuffed pepper, pictured here, and the squid) and eat it right there. Dip it in some of their special sauce that has scallions, sesame seeds, and a bit of red pepper floating on top.
Cold Rice Noodles
Cold Rice Noodles
Simple and refreshing, this is like a simplified bibimbap without the rice. Cold rice noodles sit under some fresh veggies just waiting to be mixed with the red pepper paste. This is another dish served with kimchi and daikon.
Fields of Kimchi
Fields of Kimchi
You've probably seen a variety of kimchi or kimchi-pickled veggies in the U.S., but maybe never like this. Mounds and mounds of fermented vegetables and seafood give the sidewalk an explosion of reds.
Jjajangmyeon
Jjajangmyeon
My sister's number one dish to get while in Busan, jjajangmyeon, or black bean noodles, are a different caliber out in South Korea. Served with a fried egg on top and julienned cucumbers, this Chinese-Korean noodle dish features super-glossy noodles and a savory black bean sauce with pork, onions, and more. We order this for delivery to the apartment every time we're in town.
Hot Dog Wrapped in Seaweed and Fishcake Paste
Hot Dog Wrapped in Seaweed and Fishcake Paste
If you love that texture that fishcake and hot dogs share, you might love these creations, which I came across on my walk to the fish market. Koreans love their hot dogs, and their fishcake, so why not put the two together? Hot dogs are wrapped in a sheet of dried seaweed and fish paste is slathered around it. Then it's fried to seal the deal.
Kalguksu
Kalguksu
These simple noodles are comforting yet not heavy at all. Handmade roughly cut noodles swim in a clean, light broth with the simple addition of a little red pepper paste, scallions, seaweed, and sesame seeds. Eating with kimchi and daikon is a must.
Seaweed
Seaweed
So many different kinds of seaweed! From soups to cold dishes, seaweed is used in many Korean entrees and side dishes.
More Ddukbuki & Chive Pancakes
More Ddukbuki & Chive Pancakes
This lady's stand also served ddukbuki, in addition to fried dumplings and delicious chive pancakes. You'd never know it, but it's among the many food stands in the middle of shopping districts—cute clothing and shoe stores line both sides of the walkway.
Pristine Pastries
Pristine Pastries
The entire first floor of the Busan Lotte shopping mall is dedicated to food, and in such a stylish setting, it's no real surprise that those foods are aesthetically perfect. These light and fluffy cakes and mini pancakes are a prime example. Check out the attention to detail—down to the biased cut on the other pastries to showcase what each is filled with.
Seafood
Seafood
These baskets of mixed seafood were begging for a photo. Busan, at the coast of the southernmost tip of South Korea, makes heavy use of fresh seafood. Precisely portioned, these baskets were so cute with hefty-looking clams, octopi, shrimp, and more, taken home to be used in soups and stews.