|If all else fails you can fall back on fruit punch in an IV bag.|
|Tasty, cheap street food options exist even for the diet-impaired!|
Pictured above is the holy trinity of hot winter street food (though it doesn't vary too much from season to season) for people who don't eat meat, can't eat wheat, or both: steamed corn on the cob, steamed sweet potatoes and roasted chestnuts. They cost about 2000, 3000 and 5000 (for a paper bag of about 10) won, respectively.
I'd never had a chestnut before coming here, and actually, had never really heard them mentioned outside that classic Christmas carol, but they're pretty great. They're large, starchy, filling, and surprisingly reminiscent of potatoes imo, but fairly low in calories. If you're attempting a meat and gluten-free diet in Korea, they can also serve as an important source of B vitamins, potassium, iron, folate, fatty acids and other nutrients.
As gluten intolerance and food allergies most often occur among people or northern and western European descent, Koreans don't really do gluten-free. Generally speaking, anyone beyond their 30's probably doesn't understand the concept of an alternative diet at all, so I wish you the best of luck in effectively communicating your needs or desires to them. Luckily, though, rice-based cakes and similar goods are very common, so you may find that you actually have more options in Seoul than you did at home, if you come from a smaller town.
|An extremely cheap if not oversized alternative|
to breakfast cereal? Perhaps.
|These cookies are sold by weight, |
in baggies or in larger bags,
kind of like kettle corn.
Additionally, there's also one type of common, extremely cheap traditional Korean cookie I've found at street stalls that should be gluten-free. It's a long cookie with little bits all over the outside, either plain or subtly coloured pink, green, orange, etc. The orange ones contain pumpkin flour, which also gives them a very slight flavour, but I'm not sure about the others. It's possible that the pink ones are strawberry.
They're handmade and will vary a bit, but for the most part they're light and crispy rice cookies with a thin wafery outside and a chewy interior, sometimes with honey. Watch out if you don't eat animal products, though! I'm almost completely sure they're made with gelatin. You can snag a bag for less than one U.S. dollar, and sometimes vendors will give you some for free (as with all rice snacks). Do keep in mind, though, that the chances that certain things contain equal amounts of wheat and rice flours are quite high, and the chances of cross-contamination at some point along the supply chain are high. Even if you have a native Korean speaker helping you and they say, "She says it's only made with rice flour, nothing else", there's still a good chance that this has occurred. Many of these options should be viable, but don't get too excited and go overboard before you know what works for you!
In addition to those candies, there are traditional Korean sugar candies that come in a variety of fun shapes and sizes, including the occasional foot-tall Gundam-esque robot. These are hard, darkish yellow and sort of transparent. Individually-wrapped candies like Bit 'o Honey and Chupa Chups are also quite common and popular.
|These lightly-fried fish-shaped cakes filled with red bean|
are also popular in Japan. I couldn't help myself -_-
|Mmm, warm fried potato snacks make everything better.|