Potatoes were introduced in Korea in either through the China–North Korea border at Tumen in 1824, or by the German missionary Karl Gützlaff via sea in 1832. The tubers have been cultivated mainly in the hills and mountain ranges of Gangwon Province, with gamjajeon becoming a specialty of that region. Gamjajeon is traditionally made with only potato, salt, and oil.
According to taste, the grated potato may be supplemented with finely shredded potatoes, carrots, onions or scallions, sliced mushrooms, or garlic chives, which adds color and crunchy texture to the dish. Gamjajeon can also be garnished with shredded fresh red and green chili pepper. It is served with a dipping sauce called choganjang (초간장), made of soy sauce and vinegar.