Food, Recipe

Korean Street Food: Egg Bread (계란빵)

Baking Korean Egg Bread, or Gaeran Bbang (계란빵)

Once upon a time I studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea for a semester, living out my fantasies of…well…eating a lot of tasty Korean food! The four months I spent in Seoul were the best months of my life for many reasons (amazing Korean beauty products and fashion, nightlife that never ends, and, let’s be honest, the best drinking culture EVER).

The food definitely tops my list of highlights from study abroad, and the fact that I gained 20 lbs while overseas should be proof enough! (But actually though…) Of course Korean BBQ was my favorite indulgence, but not far behind was the cheap street food you find all over, in every season, day and night.

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One of my favorites was something we called ‘eggy egg’ before we knew its real name. Gaeran Bbang 계란빵 (Gaeran means ‘egg’, bbang means ‘bread’) is an oval shaped bread, slightly sweet, with an egg cracked on top and baked with the bread. The mixture of sweet and savory flavors had me craving this day and night. I haven’t had it since I left Korea at the start of the summer of 2013, and as I was finally getting around to printing out my photos of my study abroad round 1 (yes, I studied abroad not once, but twice) I got nostalgic for this eggy treat!

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I enjoyed these fluffy treats sans cheese, but on an episode of The Return of Superman, a Korean reality show, I saw one of the dads add cheese to his, so I tried it out…and I thought it was better than the plain ones!

The recipe is fairly simple, I took bits and pieces from these two recipes I found online at Chloe’s K Food Addict and Sue’s My Korean Kitchen. I didn’t have self-rising flour so I used Chloe’s suggestion of adding baking powder, used regular sugar instead of castor, and didn’t add vanilla (don’t remember the kind I ate on the streets of Korea tasting like they had vanilla so I left it out). I also cooked mine for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF in a normal cupcake baking tray, which is much longer than others said they baked theirs at. I probably could have taken mine out sooner, but I wasn’t sure if the egg was done cooking on top (note: It was).

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This recipe calls for basic ingredients you would likely have in your pantry already (unless you’re a poor college student like me and your cupboards are bare) so it’s something fun to try if you want to attempt a simple recipe without spending more money on ingredients you don’t already have.

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As pretty as these gaeran bbang look here, I don’t think my first attempt went so well. The bread part was fairly dense and did not have the right taste. I remember eating bread that tasted halfway between regular bread and cornbread, so maybe I will try with a bit of cornbread mixture next time.

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That being said, it wasn’t a total disaster. I baked three with cheese, four without, and had one of each. The one with cheese was definitely better (I’m a cheese addict and think it could have used twice the amount I put in) but neither really tasted how I remember them. They weren’t sweet enough for my liking.

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When all is said and done, they at least look pretty, and tasted decent. With parsley and ham in the cheese ones, as they had suggested, I think it would have been much tastier, if not still but a distant relative of the hot, steamy, eggy egg I ate in Sinchon in Seoul.

Hope you like this post, part of my new year’s resolutions was to learn to cook (or in this case, bake, because I like to bake when I’m home for the holidays) so I thought I’d start off with this recipe!

If you have any good beginner’s recipes (sweet or savory) for me to try out, comment below!

-Ashley

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