Korean Foods Explained: What is Tteokbokki (떡볶이)?

Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is a spicy Korean “snack” food that uses thick rice noodles/cakes (떡) and a pepper sauced (고추장) as its base. Most tteokbokki is usually mixed with eomuk (어묵) which is a fish cake. The spiciness varies, but typically it is one of the spicier things you can eat in Korea. The type of rice cake also varies greatly with Seoul’s being typically skinny and other places have really thick ones.

I personally like the thick and chewy variants, but there are others who prefer the skinny ones.

The best tteokbokki I've had so far located at 재일 시장 in Uijeongbu.
The best tteokbokki I’ve had so far located at 재일 시장 in Uijeongbu.

In my opinion, the best places to get tteokbokki are at the street stalls and shacks that specialize in it. Chains rarely impress me, but like most tteokbokki are completely edible. One serving usually costs around 2500 to 4000 won, which is very affordable too!

Tteokbokki Explained Jaws
Tteokbokki at Jaws (죠스). Tteokbokki is often served with a broth.

Most people eat tteokbokki with some fried foods (튀김) or sundae (순대) which is a blood sausage (not really a blood sausage). It is often accompanied with a broth that you sometimes have to ask for depending on the store. You can use the tteokbokki sauce to add flavor to the other sides as well.

tteokbokki explained 호야즉석떡볶이 cooking
Tteokbokki hot pot at 호야즉석떡볶이.

You may also come across “즉석 떡볶이” , where you can cook your own tteokbokki in a pot like a stew and add all sorts of ingredients such as ramen and other random bits. I’m not the biggest fan of this style because they usually use skinny tteokbokki.

Tteokbokki Explained Homemade
Homemade tteokbokki.

It’s actually not very hard to make it at home and you only need a few ingredients to make it.

Tteokbokki is one of those comfort foods that many people love to eat. It’s usually pretty spicy though, but I recommend having a go at it.

Tteokbokki Restaurants I have reviewed:

Jaws Tteokbokki (죠스 떡볶이)

Mapo Mandu (마포만도)

Hoya (호야즉석떡볶이)


Author: Ryan Mar

Just a guy simply making the most with life abroad. Love travel, photography, food, and just enjoying life. Currently blogging about beautiful places in Seoul, Korea, along with food, culture, and observations at findingtheseoul.com.

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