Short on cash but in need of a hot, filling snack? Hoppang are exactly what you’re after. These tasty steamed buns are easy to find at convenience stores and street vendors across Korea, especially at this time of year as temperatures begin to drop. Hoppang comes from the ‘ho-ho’ sound one makes when blowing on hot food, and the Korean word for bread, pang. The buns were historically called jjinbang (steamed bread) but the name hoppang became popular in the 1970s.
Although they’re available in a variety of fillings such as beef or cheese, the most popular ones seem to be sweet red bean paste, or pizza. Sometimes yellow paprika or spinach is mixed into the dough to make colourful yellow or green buns. In a convenience store, hoppang are kept in a heated cabinet so they’ll be hot when served. Take it slow for the first bite, as the fillings can be very hot and drippy – as you might imagine it’s a bit like biting into a hot, soft filled bread roll. They’re perfect for students and budget travellers at only 1,000 won (60p) each.
It’s easy enough to make savoury or sweet hoppang at home too. If you’ve got a bamboo steamer that’ll double up as an impressive serving plate to friends.
Here’s a nice and easy to follow pizza hoppang recipe.
Here’s an all-chocolate version!
Here’s a pumpkin and nutella version.
Bonus: Watch this Mokbang star tuck into some hoppang