Culture Did you know? Food Food Talk

What are the types of TTEOK 떡 (Rice Cakes) and their meanings?

Types of Tteok 떡 / When do Koreans eat them? How are they made?

Made by steaming in a shiru 시루 – a large earthenware steamer

Baekseolgi 백설기

백설기 baekseolgi
wizdata, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Meaning “white snow rice cake,” made of white rice. It’s considered a “sacred food” as the word baek means both the color white and number 100, symbolic of “purity” and “completeness,” respectively. Used for children’s first 100-day celebration, baekil 백일, and traditional rituals.

RELATED : Dojlabi 돌잡이 – What your baby grabs at their first birthday determines their future! Fun and quirky Korean superstitions and beliefs.

Patshirutteok 팥시루떡

팥시루떡 patshirutteok

Made of rice, glutinous rice, and topped with red bean. Popularly used for business opening events, and passed around to neighbors after moving to a new place as the red color of the red beans are believed to chase away evil spirits.

Sultteok 술떡

술떡 sultteok
National Institute of Korean Language, CC BY-SA 2.0 KR https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/kr/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons

Made with makgeolli 막걸리, unfiltered rice wine. The flavor of rice wine stays after steaming, but the alcohol content is almost non-existent.

Make makgeolli at home with Ditok Craft Makgeolli (3L) Starter Powder – for Brewing Traditional Korean Rice Liquor [Amazon]

Made by pounding rice or glutinous rice in a mortar or pounding board

See how it’s done! [아산TV] 짚풀문화제 최고 먹거리 떡메치기 체험 Experience Top Rice Cake Making in the Grass Culture Festival

Injeolmi 인절미

인절미 injeolmi
Image by ally j from Pixabay

Made with glutinous rice and coated with bean powder.

You can try the snack chips version – ROM AMERICA 2 Packs of Big Size Korean Rice Snacks Chips [ 150g x 2 ] Roasted Bean Powder [Amazon]

Garaetteok 가래떡

가래떡 garaetteok

A long white cylindrical (traditionally by hand-rolling) rice cake made with white rice, often cut into smaller portions. The long shape symbolizes “longevity” while the sliced pieces symbolize “prosperity” because of their similarity to the traditional Korean coins.

떡볶이 tteokbokki
Image by jun yang from Pixabay

RELATED: Quick and Easy Korean Food Recipe – Tteokbokki / Toppoki 떡볶이 (10 Min)

Tteokbokki Korean Rice Cake Instant (Pack of 2, Spicy & Sweet Sauce) Korean Snack Tteok Tteokbokki Rice Cake [Amazon] <- comes in 4 flavors : cheese / jjajang / onion butter / sweet & mild spicy

Samjin Amook Tteokbokki Fish Cake & Rice Cakes (2 Packs / 9.8oz) – High Protein Spicy Korean Food [Amazon]

RELATED : Why Do Koreans Eat Tteokguk On New Year’s Day?

Made by kneading dough into different shapes, and boiled or steamed

Songpyeon 송편

송편 songpyeon
wizdata, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Half-moon shaped rice cake that contains sweet fillings such as red beans, soybeans, chestnuts, or honey. They are steamed in a steamer over a layer of pine needles. Traditionally, families would gather around to make them during Chuseok 추석 (Fall Harvest Festival). There’s a belief that if a single woman makes a pretty songpyeon 송편, she will find a great husband, and if a pregnant woman makes a pretty songpyeon, she will have a pretty daughter.


Gyeongdan 경단

Small ball-shaped rice cakes filled with red bean or sesame paste, coated with black sesame or bean powders.

Made by pan-frying

Hwajeon 화전

화전 hwajeon by Republic of Korea (flickr.com/photos/koreanet) licensed under CC BY 2.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Thin, mini pan-cake like rice cakes made of glutinous rice, decorated with flower petals.

Watch how to make hwajeon! It’s really easy! Flower Rice Cake 화전 (Hwajeon) | SweetHailey

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