If you like tteokbokki (떡볶이), but want to spice it up with different flavors and ingredients, give Hoya (호야즉석떡볶이) a try! Hoya lets you customize your tteokbokki and cook it right in front of you in a hotpot. You can find this place near Sinchon Station (신촌역) by walking out of exit 3 towards the Uplex. It is literally across the street from the popular red tube structure.
Being a basement restaurant, it feels a bit like Ojju (오쭈) in Gangnam but more crowded without any partitions. The benefit is they can accommodate many people in a relatively small space. You get a little makeshift burner that is permanently fixed on the table. I found it comfortable enough.
You start off by picking which flavor of tteokbokki you feel like, such as original, 짜장 (black bean sauce mixed with pepper sauce), curry, seafood, pork, or “everything”. You can then add additional ingredients (사리류) such as ramen, extra fish cakes,vegetables, extra rice cakes (떡), ham, and cheese. 튀김류 are fried items you can mix. Lastly, you can choose to stir fry (볶음밥) rice into the leftovers.
Regular tteokbokki (즉석떡볶이) – 4000 won
Had two orders, which was a reasonably large quantity. It comes with shredded cabbage and carrots, fish cake (오뎅), and of course tteok (떡). We had an added ramen (1000 won), a side of cheese (2000 won), fried mandu (1000 won), and fried seaweed rice roll (김말이).
The preserve the crispiness in the fried mandu, you should add it the soup last minute.To be honest I was a little bit disappointed with the filling in it, but the texture it added was nice.
The cheese addition for 2000 won and pretty small. You couldn’t really taste it unless you left all the cheese in one spot to melt. You probably need to add about 2 orders to 2 orders of tteokbokki to make any significant difference.
They use the skinny rice cakes, which are less chewy and more noodle-like than the fat kind. I’m not terribly fond of it, but to each their own. I suspect we didn’t cook it down enough because the sauce tasted a bit bland.
Corn Stir Fry Rice (옥수수콘볶음밥) – 2000 won
We had the additional corn stir fry rice (옥수수콘볶음밥) added after finishing off everything. The corn rice has a nice sweetness and the rice absorbed the sauce and made it easier to perceive the flavor. This was definitely worth adding, especially compared to the cheese.
The food didn’t really suit my preferences, but this place is a decent choice for someone wanting to try tteokbokki in a different manner. I somewhat regret not choosing a more adventurous flavor. If I ever get the chance, I will go for the curry flavor next. If I’m looking for more traditional tteokbokki, I’d rather get it at a street stall, Jaws, or make it myself.