This post is about what to eat in Busan.
Busan is a beautiful coastal (and the second largest city) in South Korea, loved by both locals and international visitors. For foodies, Busan is the perfect city to explore, offering some unique Korean dishes that originates from the city.
If you have been to Korea, you know how many restaurants there are on every street and it’s definitely not easy to find a good one. If you know Korea, then you also know that things change really fast in Korea. This list is compiled from my recent trip to my hometown, Busan in 2023.
You can learn more about the history of the city here. Without further ado, let's dive right into 15 best dishes you must try in Busan.
1. Han Jeong Sik (traditional course meal)
Han Jeong Sik is a Korean traditional course menu which is less known. It is my absolute favorite way to enjoy the local and seasonal dishes because you can try 10+ dishes in small portions. Here are the dishes I got for Han Jeong Sik. I looked through my album and realized a whooping 15 dishes were served at this restaurant I went. This is the perfect way to try Korean food with local and seasonal twist! I don't remember the name of the restaurant but you'll find one like this in Busan if you google Han Jeong Sik.
2. Busan Uh Muk (Fish cake)
Busan Uh Muk’s history starts in 1876. Growing up in Busan, I know that Uh Muk is a everyday food for the locals, during my recent visit to Busan, I realized Uh Muk has gotten a lot fancier. I recommend you try the original way of buying at a traditional market at a food stall where you can get the fish cake on a skewer and get some free soup as well as at one of the more trendy fish cake bakeries like Samjin Uhmook store or Goresa.
3. Hwae (Sashimi)
There is no better place to eat Hwae than in Busan. Hwae is raw fish, which you might think of as the Japanese sashimi, and yes it is somewhat similar. The main difference between sashimi and hwae is the duration of aging as well as the cut.
Additionally, the locals usually dip the piece in Korean chilli sauce instead of in soy sauce, and hwae platters come with a wide variety of unique side dishes that are typically served with hwae.
In most local places in Busan, you will get a soup when you order hwae. This is prepared with the leftover fish ingredients like the fish bone and head from your hwae! I know, nothing goes to waste, Busan locals really do love fishes.
4. Hwae guk su (sashimi noodles)
Hwe guk su is one of locals’ favorite dishes and it literally translates to raw fish noodles. Instead of the “real” noodles, you will get fish cut narrow so it looks like noodles and they will serve this will some fresh vegetables and sauce. This is basically like bibimbap but wish fish instead of rice. So if you like bibimbap and fish, definitely give this dish a try.
5. Bok uh (Puffer Fish)
Puffer fish soup is one of the best dishes to try in Busan because it is extremely difficult to cook a puffer fish and only licensed chef are allow to do it by law. This is one of the best soup to have after a night out as a hangover cure.
I tried puffer fish hwae rice (raw puffer fish with rice) and it was delicious as well!
6. Haemul Samgyetang (Seafood Chicken soup)
Busan locals love to add seafood in everything. Haemul Samgyetang is a Korean chicken soup with a variety of seafood like octopus, etc. I think It’s sooo special because nowhere else in the world, I’ve seen seafood and chicken together in a soup. I highly recommend this restaurant called Samhojeong, my dad has been going there for decades, they have really good service and food! In fact, they just renovated and expanded their business recently.
7. Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake)
Haemul Pajeon is a seafood pancake with spring onion and it’s so popular in Korea that even Koreans visit Busan to eat it. It’s best paired with the Korean rice wine.
8. Gomjanguh (grilled hagfish) or janguh(grilled eel)
I recommend visiting the gomjanuh alley in Jagalchi market to try this the local way! Janguh is the regular eel that you see at a lot of Japanese restaurants and gomjanuh is the smaller fish that look similar. They are usually coal grilled and you can choose which sauce you want with the fish either simply with salt or the spicy one. I recommend wrapping a piece of fish with perilla leaf!
9. Chungmu gimbab
This is a very simple dish with 4 parts. First, rice wrapped in seaweed sheet. Yes, just rice, nothing else. Additionally, it comes with seasoned reddit, some squid and fish cake. It’s so classic so if you are looking for a no frill meal (especially if you are solo travelling), you need to try this!
10. Sundae (Korean sausage)
Sundae is Korean sausage which is quite similar to German blood sausage. You can get these at Bunsik places which is usually tiny restaurant for snacks. You can try these at either the traditional markets or franchise restaurants, and I prefer to get them at traditional markets. When you order, they will ask if you want pork liver, and other offal meat so you can say yes or no depending on what you like.
11. Sundae gukbap (Korean sausage soup)
Sundae gukbap is soup with sundae and its served with rice. It’s one of the most famous and common “people’s food” in Busan as it usually cost less than 10 Euros and it is super healthy, hearty and will fill you up.
12. Ahgujim (steamed fish)
Ahgujim is a spicy steamed fish dish served with lots of bean sprouts. It’s spicy and yummy, best paired with some soju! One thing to note is that you should go with a friend or more because it’s a 2+ person dish so you will most likely not get it with just by yourself.
Restaurant shown below called Jeongdongjin is one of the best places to try the dish in Busan.
13. Korean BBQ with regional side dishes
Korean BBQ is famous and it’s not a Busan thing but you’ll get some regional side dishes when you get Korean BBQ in Busan. If you like Korean BBQ, you should definitely get it in Busan as well.
14. Shellfish BBQ
If you are looking for BBQ but with some local seafood, this is the perfect dish for you! You can grill all sorts of shellfish usually with coal. Many restaurants by the beach in Yeongdo area offer shellfish BBQ with amazing views.
15. Jokbal (Pork Trotters)
Jokbal is one of the most loved dishes by local in Busan. Unlike how German serve it, the Korean version is cooked with soy sauce and is served cut thinly. If you want to try, you should visit the Jokbal alley in Busan where 8 restaurants specialize in Jokbal dishes (Pork Trotters Streets in Bupyeong-dong).
When travelling in Busan (or in Korea in general), I suggest that you use the app “naver” in addition to google app to see reviews. Although the reviews will be in Korean, you can translate it automatically and see how many stars they are rated at.
What food is busan famous/best known for?
Busan is best known for its beautiful beaches and seafood. If you love coastal cities, you will definitely fall in love with Busan.
What is the tastiest food in Busan?
I’d recommend that you try all the food I listed above. If I have to pick one, I’d say the seafood!! Try to mix it up getting them at local traditional market and regular restaurants!