Tteokbokki, also known as Ddeokbokki is a popular Korean snack food which is commonly purchased from street vendors or Pojangmacha. Originally it was called tteok jjim, and was a braised dish of sliced rice cake, meat, eggs, and seasoning.
Tteok jjim an early variant of modern tteokbokki, was once a part of Korean royal court cuisine. This type of tteokbokki was made by boiling tteok, meat, vegetables, eggs, and seasonings in water, and then serving it topped with ginkgo nuts and walnuts. In its original form, tteokbokki, which was then known as gungjung tteokbokki, was a dish served in the royal court and regarded as a representative example of haute cuisine. The original tteokbokki was a stir-fried dish consisting of garaetteok (cylinder-shaped tteok) combined with a variety of ingredients, such as beef, mung bean sprouts, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and onions, and seasoned with soy sauce
Following the Korean War a new type of tteokbokki became very popular. While the older version was a savory dish, this latter type was much more spicy, and quickly became more popular than the older traditional dish. In addition to traditional ingredients, this tteokbokki used gochujang, a hot paste made from chilli peppers, along with fish cakes. Other ingredients added to tteokbokki include boiled eggs, pan-fried mandu (Korean dumplings), sausages, ramyeon (which then becomes rabokki/labokki ), and cheese.
These days, many kinds of tteokbokki are popular such as seafood tteokbokki or rice tteokbokki. Flour tteokbokki was popular in early days, but rice tteokbokki is more popular these days.
Sindang-dong in Seoul, where tteokbokki was first sold, is still very famous for the dish, which has become one of Korea’s most popular snack foods. Since Tteokbokki is one of the most famous snacks, one will easily find a place to enjoy eating Tteokbokki in Korea.
The drama that introduced me to tteokbokki is Goong. There is a scene where Chae Kyung (Yoon Eun Hye) enjoys eating tteokbokki after school with her friends, and Lee Shin (Joo Ji Hoon) comes find her. It looked yummy when I saw the scene that I had to try it out. It’s a bit spicy (the kind that I’ve tried), best eating when it’s hot though. It’s tasty and fills your stomach quite nicely. 🙂