Spicy Korean Sea Snail Salad

Spicy Korean Snail SaladI have a feeling that today’s recipe will be either LOVE it or HATE it type.

It is all about the snails, the edible kinds. Yikes!!!

Actually the word “snail” for this dish is not the right translation. The sea snails I used for this recipe in Korean is called “골뱅이, golbangyi”.  The snail in Korean is “달팽이, dalpangyi”. I couldn’t find the right English word for golbangyi, and the next close thing is the snail. So I will call this recipe the Spicy Korean Sea Snail Salad, 골뱅이 무침 (golbangyi muchim).

If you happen to know the Korean Golbangyi in English, please share.


Spicy Korean Snail SaladKoreans do eat a few kinds of slug snails but not all. Golbangyi is perhaps the most popular among them and it is mostly consumed from a can. Fresh golbangyi is available sometimes but it is a pain to get the meat out of the shell if you know what I mean.

Golbangyi is delicious. Its texture is similar to clam. So if you like clams, you won’t have a problem with golbangyi.

I made spicy salad with my canned friend. This salad is quite popular during summer month and often serve with thin wheat vermicelli. If you truly love Korean food and love what the locals eat, you will love this salad.

BTW Canned golbangyi-s are available in most Korean grocery stores and they are very affordable. So why not try something unusual for the sake of summer?


cold snail saladHere are 2 small cans of golbangyi (골뱅이).


cold snail salad-4Drain and reserve a little bit of its juice. Rinse the golbagyi once.

I like my golbangyi in big chunks. You can cut off to small piece if you prefer.


cold snail salad-3Slice all the vegetables.


cold snail salad-5And onions, too.


cold snail salad-9Put everything in a large mixing bowl.


cold snail salad-7In a small mixing bowl, combine garlic, chili paste, chili flakes, vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, and…


cold snail salad-8this special ingredient I use often in Korean salad. This the Korean green plum extract (maeshil jeup). You might be able to find this golden syrup in a big Korean store. If you can’t find it, omit it. Instead use the reserved 2 tablespoon of golbangyi juice from the can.


cold snail salad-11Mix everything to make the sauce.


cold snail salad-12Pour the sauce over the golbangyi and vegetables in a bowl. Mix with the divine kitchen tool that was given to you from the heaven – your HAND!


cold snail salad-13Taste it! Then, adjust the seasonings as you like.

You can eat the salad alone but try mixing with thin wheat noodles to make complete meal.


Spicy Korean Snail Salad

Cold and refreshing! You’ve just got one exotic meal of the summer to remember.


I gave a little portion to my children as a lunch. It was spicy but they liked it.

“These clams are very delicious, mom!” My 12 year old daughter said as she was drinking a cup of milk to neutralize the spiciness. I felt a little guilty because I told her it was clam. Otherwise she would have refused to eat.

So someday, when she reads this recipe post…

“Sorry to lie to you, darling! It was not what you thought it was. But remember! — you liked it.”


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Spicy Korean Snail Salad

Spicy Korean Snail Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4

Spicy Korean Snail Salad


  • 1 large or 2 small (about ) canned golbanygi
  • 1/4 cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 carrot, thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 small cucumber thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 2 tablespoon Korean chili paste
  • 2 tablespoon Korean chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoon white or rice vinegar
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Korean plum extract, optional (or use the juice from the canned golbangyi)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • Korean thin wheat noodles/vermecilli


  1. Drain the golbangyi and reserve 1 tablespoon of juice. Rinse the golbangyi and cut in half if the pieces are too big.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage, onion, carrots, cucumber, and the golbangyi. Set aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine garlic, chili paste, chili flakes, vinegar, sugar, plum extract (if you don't it, add reserved golbangyi juice), and sesame seeds. Mix them well to make the sauce.
  4. Drizzle the sauce over to the golbaygi and vegetable mixture and toss well. Chill in the fridge while you are getting the noodles ready.
  5. Cook the noodles in a package direction or boil in the water for 3-4 minutes. Rinse the noodles in the cold running water and drain well.
  6. Place golbangyi salad with cold wheat noodles on the side. Toss well before you serve.

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  1. 1

    Anne says

    So according to google, this is a type of snail called the “bladder moon snail” (Glossaulax didyma). Google is becoming really amazing- it gave me English results just from me pasting the korean word you provided. Hope that helps!

  2. 3


    My family loves golbangi muchcim! It’s delicious with somyeon. I made it a couple of weeks ago, but your photos are making me crave again. Awesome post and photos as usual, Holly!

  3. 4


    I do like French escargot (mainly the garlic butter!) but snails have a texture that turn a lot of people off. I’ve never heard of sea snail before, but that’s not surprising – so much to learn in the food world! Anyway, this looks really interesting – thanks so much.

  4. 5

    Julie Lee says

    Thank you I love the side dish with “snails” so I know I will love this. Looks great for the summer too, it’s so hot in St Louis ,Missouri already !

  5. 8


    I ate different type of snails, ones that are in woods(we would go when I was a kid hunting for them when it’s season hehe), but my hubby loves raw from the sea. This salad is just delicious and your pictures very tempting. I think your daughter will understand, and appreciate your cooking even if you have to make a little lie. I think all moms do it for the sake of eating healthier. Have a wonderful week ahead Holly, and thank you for sharing this yummy recipe!

  6. 9


    My favorite topic in college was invertebrate zoology, so I’l weigh on my opinions. My market had these on sale fresh (KyoPo in Sunnyvale, CA) a while ago, and the English on some of the cans calls them top shells. That would put them in the Family Trochidae, the top snails, which is consistent with what they had in the market.
    There are a lot of varieties (genera) of top snails, so it could be any one. The distinction between the two terms for snails that you give, based on my looking at Google images for each, is that “골뱅이, golbangyi” are sea snails and “달팽이, dalpangyi” are land snails. Land snails are what you get if you order escargot in a Western restaurant. Whelks, another family of sea snails, are also popular, especially in Italian cooking.
    This is what happens when you let scientists who also cook read your blog, And the salad looks delicious, I wish now that I’d bought the 골뱅이 when I had the chance. The large cans are pretty expensive for my budget, but maybe I can find the smaller ones somewhere. Thanks!

    • 10

      Holly says

      Wow, So good to know that I have a reader who is a scientist. Thank you very much for the distinguished differences of snails. I agree on the term “slug” is not the right description. I will correct that.

  7. 11


    Oh, and one last thing – slugs are snails that don’t have an external shell. They are very slimy and I don’t know of anyone who eats them, except for some birds. It’s best not to call them slugs, because slugs are pretty unappetizing!

  8. 13


    I am a huuuuuuge fan of snails the way they are served in France, i.e. baked with garlicky parslery butter (it’s a different kind of snail, the variety is called Burgundy snail, but it doesn’t necessarily come from Burgundy), so why not the Korean sea snail? Your salad looks so good, I don’t care which sea crature it’s made of 😉 I will check if I can get canned snails here.

    • 14


      Somewhere online is a blog post by someone who bought snails at a Korean market and prepared them exactly the way you would for French snails, although by the photo he posted, they do look more like land snails than like top snails. Considering how closely all the snails, clams, squid and octopuses are related, it’s no surprise that you can swap them out and still get delicious results!

  9. 15


    Haha! She will be surprised one day but she will always remember how delicious it was. 😉 Until I came to the US, I didn’t know octopus was something “strange” to eat. It’s so delicious and I get the weird face. 😀 We have so many different kinds of food in the world and it’s nice that we know what are edible and delicious already. 😀 Beautiful photos!

    • 16


      Nami, you are right about here being so mny wonderful things to eat! I am proud of my son, who will try anything. We call ouselves “adventurous eaters” because we think that food is a great adventure and you should always travel to unexplored territorty if the opportunity presents itself. But I’m wondering about this can of silkworm larvae I just bought – it was on sale, next to the golbangyi I was looking for. Maybe I went a little too far this time . . . 😉

  10. 17


    My friend made me something like this once and it was soooo good, I’m glad I have a recipe now! P.S. I just love your pictures, I wish I could take a class from you >.<

    • 20


      The term “Whelk” is commonly applied to a variety of sea snails, many of which are not true whelks, which technically are only members of the Buccinidae family. So under the name whelk, you might be buying true whelks or top snails (see my comment above). One of the interesting things about true whelks is that the species Busycon have shells that coil in the opposite direction of most; they are called “left-handed whelks.” An important difference between whelks and top shells is that whelks are carnivorous – they eat other snails and dead fish, for example, while top shells are mostly vegetarian.

  11. 21

    Patrick says

    Love this recipe – have made it twice now, with fresh whelks – easier to find than canned ones in this bit of South East England.

    • 22


      Hi Patrick
      How lucky you are to find fresh whelks there! You can’t beat anything fresh when it comes to preparing food. I am glad to hear that you liked this salad. I am craving it now very badly.


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