Crispy, cheesy and comforting Korean Street Toast (Gilgeori Toast) made with cabbage, eggs and ham. This authentic recipe is guaranteed to become your go-to comfort food!
I’ve always been a big fan of toast sandwiches, and my love grew even larger the first time I had Korean Gilgeori Toast. This Korean toast is one of South Korea’s most popular street food because of how delicious, cheap and convenient it is.
Korean toast is a must-try for all comfort food lovers who love a hearty meal! Made with thick slices of bread and filled with fried vegetables, egg and ham, this Korean street toast is seriously next level! So whether you’re looking for a decadent breakfast or a delicious snack on the go, this recipe is for you.
This Gilgeori toast recipe is incredibly filling, but also easy to make. There are no special ingredients needed to make it, and it’s really easy to make multiple servings at once. It’s not spicy at all, so it can be enjoyed by everyone, including children. And the best part? You can customise it by adding new toppings, sauces and much more.
If you're looking for more amazing Korean Street Food recipes, you need to start with Authentic Cabbage Kimchi. If you're feeling adventurous, try out the insanely popular Korean Corn Dogs or this extra creamy Rose Tteokbokki. Or if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, this Korean Sweet Pancake or Korean Lunchbox Cake might just do the trick!
What is Korean Toast?
Korean Street Toast or Gilgeori Toast (길거리토스트) is an incredibly popular street food originated in South Korea. It’s essentially a next level sweet and salty sandwich, made with buttery bread and filled with a delicious vegetable egg omelette. Topped with ham, cheese and different sauces, this toast is unlike anything you’ve ever had before.
In Korean, gilgeori (길거리) means “street”, so Gilgeori Toast literally translates to “street toast”. This decadent Korean sandwich is actually known under many different names:
- Gilgeori Toast (길거리토스트)
- Korean Street Toast
- Halmeoni Toast (할머니 토스트) = Grandma Toast
- Street Toast
Gilgeori toast is usually served by Korean street food vendors in small food stalls, food trucks or the famous covered snack tents known as pojangmacha (포장마차). There are many variations of Korean Street Toast, but authentic recipes are always packed with lots of crunchy veggies. Meat and other toppings are entirely optional.
Gilgeori toast basically appeared out of a need for cheap and filling food. It was created by Korean street-food vendors as a to-go meal for busy students and working people. Although typically eaten for breakfast, this popular salty-sweet egg sandwich can also be eaten as a snack or a quick meal.
The most famous food stall to sell Korean Toast is Halmeoni Toast (할머니 토스트) in Dobong-gu, Seoul. In Korean Halmeoni (할머니) means ‘grandma’, which is very fitting because this food stall was run by a grandmother for over 20 years. Although sadly Halmeoni passed away 2 years ago at the glorious age of 86, her legacy is carried on by her family.
If you’re ever in Seoul, I highly recommend visiting 창동 할머니토스트 (Chadong Halmeoni Toast), where you can buy the original Gilgeori Toast for as little as ₩2,500 (roughly $2).
Older generations of Koreans remember Gilgeori Toast fondly as a snack they used to have after school. In recent times, this decadent toast has made a strong comeback and is slowly becoming well known all around the world. Over the past few years, Korean brand Egg Drop has become famous for its Gourmet Egg Sandwiches. Although they are essentially just like Korean Street Toast, they are usually made using brioche buns or slices and packaged nicely.
Where to find it in Korea
Korean Street Toast is so popular in South Korea that it can be found in most street food markets. However, here are a few places renowned for their Gilgeori Toast:
- 창동 할머니토스트 (Chadong Halmeoni Toast) – located in Dobong-gu, Seoul. This place serves the famous Grandma Toast for ₩2,500 (roughly $2).
- 광장시장 (Gwangjang Market) – located in Jongno-gu, Seoul. This is the most famous traditional market in Seoul, which serves all types of street foods.
- 명동야시장 (Myeongdong Night Market) – located in Jung-gu, Seoul. As the most popular shopping district in Seoul, Myeongdong Market is the ideal stop for street food on the go.
- 통인시장 (Tongin Traditional Market) – located in Jongno-gu, Seoul. This market is the perfect stop after a long visit at Gyeongbokgung Palace, located just 5 minutes away.
However, until you get to visit Seoul, this Korean Street Toast recipe is really easy to make from wherever you are in the world. So let’s bring the authentic flavours of Gilgeori Toast to your home!
Why this is the best Korean Toast recipe
- Authentic recipe: This Gilgeori toast recipe is exactly how Korean street vendors make it in Seoul. It tastes comforting and authentic, just like Halmeoni Toast!
- Extra comforting: Nothing screams comfort food quite like a big, juicy sandwich! This Korean toast is made with butter-toasted bread (YUM) and lots of delicious fillings. Did I also mention the gooey melted cheese on top?
- Simple ingredients: Despite appearing quite complex, all ingredients required for this Gilgeori Toast recipe are easy to find in regular supermarkets. All you need is bread, butter, cheese, vegetables and eggs. Optional ingredients include ham, bacon and various sauces.
- Easy to make: Korean Street Toast is ideal for busy mornings because it doesn’t take a long time to make. You can prep the ingredients in advance the day before, then fry it up within minutes!
- Budget friendly: In addition to the ingredients being easy to find, they’re also cheap! You can of course add anything extra, but the base recipe is really budget friendly, perfect for a large family.
- Customisable: You can add any additional vegetables you like, as well as spam, ham, bacon and other types of cheese. The options are endless with this Korean toast recipe, so feel free to play around with your favourite ingredients!
- Easy to make in large quantities: I’ve made Gilgeori Toast before for a party of 10 and it only took me 10-12 minutes extra for frying the filling. Overall, where you make 2 portions, it only takes you a few more minutes to make 10 or 20 servings!
Equipment & products used
Since Korean Street Toast is all about a speedy breakfast or meal, here are my favourite tools to use to speed up the process:
- Vegetable mandoline – helps you chop all your vegetables into thin slices at the speed of light. This tool is especially helpful when you’re planning on making this recipe in large quantities.
- Stainless steel wide turner – helps you flip the filling over without it breaking. It also really helps when breaking the large batch of filling into singe servings. However, be careful with it if you’re using a non-stick frying pan.
As I’ve mentioned before, all ingredients needed for this recipe can be easily found in regular grocery stores. There are no specialty ingredients required for Gilgeori Toast. Here’s what you will need:
- Bread – thick white sliced bread works best for this recipe. However, any type of bread can be used as long as it’s quite thick cut. You can also use brioche or milk bread, as it's extra fluffy and sweet.
- Butter – we will be using a lot of butter for frying the bread and the filling. Butter is crucial for the authentic flavour of Korean Toast, so I do not recommend substituting it for oil, and especially not olive oil.
- Eggs – large eggs are needed for this recipe.
- Cabbage – green cabbage is traditionally used for Gilgeori Toast. You can also use a mix or green and red cabbage if desired. I do not recommend swapping cabbage for anything else, as it’s very important for the unique flavor.
- Onion – we’ll be using copious amounts of white onion for the filling. When fried in butter, the onion will become soft and sweet, giving a lovely flavour. You can also use red onion if desired.
- Green onion – very important for the fresh flavour and we will be using both the white and leafy parts. Chop green onion vertically (julienne) into thin strips.
- Carrots – add sweetness and juiciness to the filling. Make sure you peel and clean carrots well before cutting them julienne (thin strips). Use a vegetable mandoline for ease.
- Cheese – American sliced cheese works best and it’s what street food vendors use. However, you can use other types of cheese like cheddar cheese, mozzarella or gouda.
- Bacon – optional, but highly recommended. It’s perfectly fine to make this Korean Toast vegetarian, but I personally really love the smokiness bacon adds. Cut smoked bacon into thin strips and mix it into the egg batter. You can also use spam instead of bacon if you have some on hand.
- Ham – again, optional but highly recommended. Add a few slices of thinly cut ham on top of the filling, then fry it for a few minutes for smokiness.
- Sugar – it might sound weird, but sugar is added on top of the savoury veggie omelette to add sweetness. Koreans love mixing sweet and savoury, so please trust me on this one! Only a little bit of sugar is needed per sandwich, about 1 teaspoon.
- Sauces – are the finishing touch! In Korea they usually top Gilgeori Toast with ketchup and mustard. You can also use any other types of sauces like mayonnaise, gochujang sauce, BBQ sauce and many others.
How to make Korean Street Toast
1. Cut ¾ of the vegetables in thin strips (julienne), then mix them in a large bowl.
2. Separately beat the eggs quickly, then add them into the vegetables. Mix well to combine with a pinch of salt.
3. Melt a tablespoon of butter into a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the cabbage mixture into it. Shape it into a square shape with a spatula and fry until it holds together.
4. Using a spatula, cut the rectangle in the middle creating two parts.
5. Add the remaining vegetables on top of each part, then flip them over individually. Fry until golden for a few minutes.
6. Add ham (optional) and cheese on top, then cook until the cheese has melted.
7. Separately, toast bread in plenty of butter on both sides until golden brown.
8. Place cooked filling on a slice of bread, then top with sauces and sugar. Sandwich with another slice of bread and serve.
There are hundreds of different Gilgeori Toast recipes all across South Korea. Some contain meat, others have extra vegetables and other ingredients. This original recipe is the authentic one made by Halmeoni Toast, but all variations are equally as delicious.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how you like it, and I encourage you to experiment. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Kimchi – if you like a spicy kick, I recommend adding some kimchi into your mixture. Make sure you pat dry it before mixing it into the eggs to remove some of the juice.
- Meat – add in some extra protein by adding whatever type of cooked meat you like. This can bacon, ham, sausages, spam, prawns and many more. Unless the meat is cured or smoked, I recommend cooking it separately before adding to the egg mixture.
- Veggies – feel free to load up on whatever vegetables you like best (make sure you keep the cabbage). Try adding bell peppers, chillies, mushrooms, potatoes and many more.
- Avocado - if you’re feeling extra, add some thinly cut avocado slices on the cooked omelette. This will give the Street Toast a modern twist.
- Smoked salmon – top the omelette filling with a few slices of smoked salmon for a wonderful smoky flavour.
- Sauces – as the finishing touch, sauces can really take this sandwich up a notch. Experiment with flavours by using mayonnaise, gochujang sauce, Namsam BBQ sauce, extra spicy Buldark Chicken Sauce and many more.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Use thick bread – For the most authentic Gilgeori Toast, you need to use thick white bread slices. It’s thick enough to hold all the sauces and fillings, whilst also having a sweet taste.
- Chop vegetables with a mandoline – For ease, I recommend using a vegetable mandoline when cutting your veggies. This way all vegetables come out nice and thin, so they cook well throughout.
- Add enough eggs – The vegetable mixture needs to look like an overloaded omelette. So make sure all veggies are coated well in enough eggs, as it’s what keeps them together.
- Lots of butter – For the most authentic flavour, the buttery toasted bread needs lots of butter. So make sure you coat your pan well before frying the filling and the bread.
- Fry the bread well – The secret to a successful Korean Street Toast is crispy bread. Make sure you fry the bread well in butter until golden-brown in colour.
- Don’t skip the sugar – I know it’s counterintuitive to add sugar into a savoury sandwich, but trust me on this one. Most Korean savoury snacks have sugar added to them, which creates a lovely flavour and balances out the saltiness.
How to serve
Gilgeori Toast is always served fresh, whilst still hot. If needed, I recommend preparing all the ingredients in advance. Then fry the bread and filling immediately before serving.
When serving, make sure you don’t skip the sugar and plenty of sauces for each sandwich. A good side of Cabbage Kimchi is always a good idea with this sweet and savoury toast!
In terms of packaging, Korean Street Toast is always served in a way that’s easy to take-away:
- Placed in a sandwich paper box lined with wax or deli paper
- Wrapped in aluminium foil
- Stuffed inside a single use paper cup
How to store
For the freshest flavour, I strongly recommend frying up Gilgeori Toast right before you’re ready to consume it. However, here are some ways you can prepare it in advance or store it for longer:
- Raw vegetables - Prepare the vegetables, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Resume the recipe as usual.
- Cooked omelette - Cook the vegetable egg filling as indicated in the recipe, without adding the cheese. Let the omelette cook down entirely before placing it in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 2 days, then heat it up in a pan and add cheese on top. Serve with freshly fried bread.
- Finished sandwich – I do not recommend storing fully assembled sandwiches in the fridge, because the bread will get soggy.
- Raw vegetables – Prepare a large batch of vegetables, then freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3-4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then proceed with recipe as indicated.
- Cooked omelette – You can store the cooked vegetable omelette filling (without cheese) in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Ensure you let it cool down completely before wrapping in aluminium foil or airtight container and freezing. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then fry again until piping hot and top with cheese.
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Gilgeori Toast: Korean Street Toast Recipe (길거리토스트)
- vegetable mandoline, optional
- non-stick skillet or large pan
- wide spatula
- 4 slices thick white bread
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups cabbage *
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 2-3 green onions
- ½ medium onion
- 3 large eggs
- 2 slices smoked bacon, optional *
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ketchup & mustard *
- Wash and peel the vegetables. Thinly slice the cabbage and onion, julienne cut (thin long strips) the carrots, green onion and bacon or spam. Mix all the vegetables into a large bowl while sprinkling salt over them.
- In a separate bowl quickly beat the eggs. Add ¾ of the vegetables into the eggs, mixing well to combine.
- Heat up a large pan or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the slices of bread and toast them on one side. Repeat the process for the other side.
- Remove the bread from the pan, then melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the omelette mixture, shaping it into a rectangle with the spatula. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the remaining vegetables on top and press it down to stick. Flip the omelette over and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes.
- Add ham (optional) and cheese on top, then cover and cook for 1-2 extra minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Place the cooked vegetables on top of the buttery bread, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar on top of each omelette.
- Finish off with ketchup and mustard, then sandwich with another slice of toasted bread. Serve immediately whilst hot.
- Green or red cabbage can be used.
- Bacon can be replaced with ham or spam. If bacon is uncured, please cook it separately before adding it.
- Any other types of sauces can be used instead of ketchup and mustard.
- Nutrition information is estimative only and is calculated per sandwich, without bacon or other additional toppings (this recipe makes 2 servings).