Tteokbokki is everywhere in urban South Korea. This popular and dirt-cheap street food is available year-round, but it's especially popular in winter. It features a thick tomato-based sauce, a lip-burning level of spiciness, and thick rice pasta. Vendors keep the dish hot on steam trays and over coal fires. You can actually warm up by standing or sitting near the cart or food stall while you eat. Some vendors provide you with wooden toothpicks or skewers for stabbing the heavy noodles and lifting them to your mouth.
Other versions of this dish call for adding different types of noodles, pork, seafood such as fish cakes, and vegetables. Another version, gungmul tteokbokki, or "soup tteokbokki," features a watered down (but still quite spicy) soup.