These days, some people have decided to fight off the cold weather and the economic recession with the reinvention of traditional winter snacks.
[Interview : Kim Chang-jin, Seoul resident] "In the winter, I crave the hot baked sweet potatoes that I used to eat on the street."
[Interview : Kim Han-na, Seoul resident] "Steamy, golden hotteok!"
[Interview : Kim Gwang-woo, Seoul resident] "For me, winter reminds me of bungeobbang."
One cafe became a hit after they began serving winter street snacks in a new way.
Their main offering is the hotteok pancake, which fuses the best of East and West.
[Interview : Jang Yu-jin, Customer] "I love it here because they have all the classic winter street snacks."
The fermented rice dough is packed with nuts and fried on a hot plate to create hotteok, but this is no ordinary hotteok.
[Interview : Kim In-gyu, Manager ] "The hotteok can be filled with dried bananas, dried berries, or cinnamon powder."
The hotteok begins to transform. It is topped with lightly scorched bananas, syrup, ice cream, and nuts to become a hotteok pancake. This hotteok pancake set sells for anywhere between 8 to 10 dollars.
The menu offers a variety of fruits and toppings.
[Interview : Lee Yu-jin, Owner ] "People still think of snacks like hotteok only as a street food. It took about five or six months to break that preconception, but since then we've been making profits and have become a hot spot."
The winter street snacks of old have made a revolutionary transformation with new looks and new flavors. The snacks are a hit among foreign customers as well.
[Interview : Kazue Anami, Tourist
Japan] "Hotteok sold on the street are fried, making them crunchy, but the hotteok here are light like pancakes and are not greasy at all."
The delicious hotteok pancakes had tourists hooked, and they were even introduced in a travel magazine!
Unique fusion winter snacks keep customers coming back for more.
[Interview : Rie Hazama, Tourist
Japan] "This is a dessert I'll remember. It tastes fresh because it's served with fruit."
The cafe has also transformed the baked sweet potatoes that are widely enjoyed in Korea each winter.
The sweet potatoes are baked the normal way.
At home, the sweet potatoes are usually enjoyed with kimchi or dongchimi. Here, they are served with chopped cabbage salad and butter for a new experience.
[Interview : Cha Yu-mi, Customer] "The baked sweet potatoes are upgraded by the toppings."
[Interview : Yun Han-na, Customer] "It tastes like the baked sweet potatoes I used to eat on the street when I was little, but it feels different because I'm having it in a nice cafe like this."
Of course, we can't leave out this snack when talking about winter!
Another street food has been brought indoors, butthey look a little different!
[Interview : Park Seong-gyun, Customer] "When I was little, they used to sell six bungeobbang for fifty cents. These days, bungeobbang have become upgraded."
On the outside, they still have the familiar fish shape
but on the inside, everything is different.
[Interview : Jang Won-ik, Manager ] "They can be filled not just with red bean paste but also with sweet potato puree, blueberry jam, custard cream, chocolate cream, strawberry jam, or coffee cream."
The flour dough is poured into the fish-shaped frame, then filled with plenty of red bean paste and nuts. But red bean paste is not the only filling used for this winter snack.
The choices are endless, and customers can choose their favorite filling.
Soft cream cheese, sweet and sour blueberries, green tea leavesanything can be turned into a filling here.
[Interview : Oh Hyeon-ju, Owner ] "We opened our store last April, and since then we've been selling up to 700 pieces a day."
The transformation of a traditional winter snack has everyone cheering.
[Interview : Deirdre Peara, Tourist
United States] "I'm so excited to eat this fish. The texture, the colors. I just don't understand how something could get better. I can't imagine what else I would want to eat in Korea."
The creations are popular with young customers and foreign customers.
[Interview : Koura Lee, Tourist
United States] "In the street, it tastes a little empty, but the ones that I eat here, they're like really full and there's a lot to bite into and I love that the fillings are so different and there are a lot of different kinds of it."
Around the dinner rush, there are many people stopping by after work to pick up a few of this snack for their families.
[Interview : Choi Hong-gil, Customer] "My kids love these, so I came to pick some up on my way home."
This is a traditional market in Incheon.
Here, we find another delicious winter snack that stops people in their tracks - warm and steamy fried fish cake skewers.
[Interview : Jeon Eun-suk, Customer] "I came here from Geomdan. I tried it once, and it was so good that I had to come back. It's worth the drive."
[Interview : Park Jeong-ja, Customer] "Everyone in my family loves these, so I make sure to buy some when I come out here. They're great."
With 35 years of experience, the owner awes everyone with his quick hand movements. But don't let the cheap price fool you, for these are snacks of the highest quality.
[Interview : Lee Yun-haeng, Owner ] "We usually make a thousand a day, and two thousand on weekends. We're open every day of the year."
Handmade fish cake has become one reason people look forward to winter.
Fish cake wrapped in sesame leaves, spicy seafood fish cake, fish cake served with rice cakea total of 10 choices are offered here.
[Interview : Kang Su-wol, Customer] "I like that I can personally see the ingredients being used."
[Interview : Lee Hyeong-il, Customer] "They're delicious, affordable, and nutritious, and I get to pick and choose from the different kinds. It's wonderful."
Even winter snacks must become unique if they want to survive in today's market! Delicious and hearty, these new and reinvented snacks are sure to keep you smiling and warm through the year's coldest season.