No doubt about it- Korea is a country where it’s possible to eat healthy, vegetable-packed meals- japchae, kimchijiggae, all sorts of soups and stews and side dishes abound. However, as the presence of deep-fried chicken, salty bar snacks and sweet-smelling red bean treats indicate, it’s also very, very possible to indulge.
And indulge one’s sweet tooth? Certainly!
Rice cakes are ubiquitous and endlessly varied. Filled with sesame, soybeans, bean powder, red bean jam, fruit jam. Coated with various powders, sugar or shaved nuts. Shaped like little balls, semi-circles, discs, squares, rectangles. There are always new varieties to sample!
I’ve been making a lot of pancakes lately- some sweet, some savoury (kimchi pancakes are a great standby). I’ve been adding buckwheat flour for greater complexity and flavour (not to mention health benefits 😉 ). In this batch, I added some chopped peanuts and mashed bananas.
Probably the easiest treat for Westerners to get into- honey bread! A relatively common offering in cafes, this is basically two thick slices of fluffy white bread, drizzled with honey and served with whipped cream. You can tell it’s healthy 😉
I finally tried this treat last weekend- hodo kwaja! These adorably waffle-shaped nuggets consist of dough baked in a special mold, filled with- you guessed it- red bean paste and a whole walnut.
I tried this treat shortly after arrival while exploring the Yongin Folk Village, and it’s probably the most unique dessert I’ve encountered! This is kkultarae, or the king’s dessert- a concoction made by stretching honey with corn flour into thousands of tiny threads. These threads are wrapped in little bunches around crushed peanuts. It’s quite a unique dessert!
Ahhh, yakgwa. Another traditional dessert, these rich cookies are made from sesame oil, wheat flour and honey. Bad for you? Definitely. Tasty? Absolutely.
And finally, one of the more adorable options- bunggyeoppang, or as I call them, fish waffles! These cuties consist of a light, tasty waffle batter filled with- mm, mm, mm- red bean paste. Ahh, snacks in Korea are such fun! I promise I even eat vegetable-based snacks once in a while 😉