Korean food has been on everyone’s radar in recent years, following the K-wave of music and entertainment. Everyone wants to have a taste of all the snacks they see in K-dramas, so it’s no wonder why many Korean restaurants and hawkers have been popping up all around Singapore. Aside from the famous kimchi, Korean barbecue, and tteokbokki, though, people have yet to try this part of the menu for themselves. Here’s a hint: it’s the one part that everyone loves. That’s right — desserts!
Korean desserts have been too obscure for so long, resting in the shadow of their more savory cousins. But now that every aspect of Korean culture is widely being explored and appreciated, you’ve got to leave some room for dessert! Here are some traditional and modern treats you should try for yourself.
1. Songpyeon (Rice cakes)
Perhaps the most basic yet the most appreciated snack in Korean culture that has been around for centuries. They are a gelatinous mixture of tteok rice powder, kabocha squash, dried mung beans, and sesame seeds. They have a tart taste, and can be made in many different flavours and can have different types of fillings. Each family has their own unique recipe, and a unique shape to each one, too! They are mostly eaten during the Lunar New Year.
2. Bunggeopang (Carp bread)
Similar to the taiyaki of Japan, this is usually a deep-fried pastry molded from a cartoon fish shape, which can have different fillings inside like cream, chocolate, mung bean, matcha, and more. In Korea, you can find this snack sold on street stalls, but many restaurants have also been offering their own twist to bunggeopang.
3. Hotteok (Korean hot cakes)
The Korean hot cake hotteok, is almost a cross between a regular pancake and a traditional Korean rice cake. It’s texture is halfway between both, which is a thick flour-based dough rolled in small dollops, and then fried on a hot pan. Although it is sweet, it can also be made into a main dish, with some green onions and veggie strips added into the mixture.
4. Dalgona (sponge candy)
This is an iconic street food. It’s only made with a mixture of sugar and baking soda, placed onto a popsicle stick, which is then pressed onto a hot mould with a shape in the center. This gained popularity due to its star turn in Netflix’s Squid Game. The game featured in the series is actually based on real-life: vendors would usually award customers a free candy if they can lick and eat around the embossed shape perfectly.
5. Bingsu (shaved ice)
Korean shaved is unique in that it is made with a special ice machine for an actual snow-like texture. It’s topped with combinations of syrup, fruit, candy, and even mung beans.
Appreciating Korean culture is a treat in and of itself. Aside from the food and desserts, learning the language can be a gateway to help you explore every facet of the culture. Sejong, a top Korean language school in Singapore, we can satiate your hunger to learn Korean.