A shoutout to all the Korean food lovers out there! South Korea being well-known for their delicious food, that includes their desserts as well. Especially their traditional desserts, these mouth-watering visuals make you want to try each of them when you visit Korea. Here are 6 must-try traditional Korean desserts.
1. 송편 song-pyeon
Song-pyeon is a kind of rice cake (떡) fully made with short grain rice cake dough (반죽). It is filled with different ingredients such as sweetened sesame seeds (참깨), black soybeans (검은콩) and mung beans (녹두). The shape is made by hand and steamed before eating. Koreans eat this desert during the Chuseok (추석) to celebrate a bountiful harvest.
2. 약식 yak-sik
This is a Korean desert made of sweet rice. It contains some of the healthy fillings like jujube (대추), chestnuts (밤) and pine nuts. This dessert is seasoned with honey (꿀) or brown sugar (흑설탕), sesame oil (참기름), soy sauce (간장) or cinnamon (계피) in some cases. The tradition is to eat it on Jeongwol Daeboreum (정월대보름), a Korean holiday that falls on the 15th of January on the lunar calendar (음력). Many people also eat it during weddings.
3. 부꾸미 bu-kku-mi
Bu-kku-mi is a kind of dumpling made of rice cake stuffed with sweet red bean paste (팥소) and toasted (구운) ground sesame seeds. It is pan-fried in oil lightly for the crispy (바삭한) crust (껍질) along with a soft an chewy texture. The colors of bu-kku-mi white, yellow, pink or dark green. It is usually coated with honey and garnished with shredded chestnuts and jujube. They have it flat (평면) or round (둥근) in shape and some without fillings.
4. 다식 da-sik
Da-sik is tea cookies made from sesame seeds or rice flour (쌀가루). There are many kinds of pattern on the cookies depending on the mould used. A plate of da-sik usually consist of green, yellow, pink, black and white colors. The typical ingredients of this dessert include pine pollen (소나무 꽃가루), black sesame, chestnuts and soybean (콩).
5. 약과 yak-gwa
This is one of the most famous traditional Korean desserts. Another name for it is gwa-jul (과줄). This dessert is a deep-fried, wheat based made with honey, rice wine (청주), sesame oil and ginger juice (생강 주스). It is offered in an ancestral rite (제사) traditionally. But it’s served during Chuseok, marriages (결혼식), and can be bought at many places including traditional markets and supermarkets.
6. 수정과 su-jeong-gwa
This is a Korean traditional cinnamon punch, dark reddish brown in color. It is made with dried persimmons (곶감) and ginger (생강) and usually garnished (장식) with pine nuts. Su-jeong-gwa is served cold and as a dessert instead of a drink. It is somewhat similar to sik-hye (식혜) because of its sweet taste but in a dessert version. It is also widely available anywhere and served in canned form.