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Delicious Korean Desserts

August 16th, 2010 by

Hangwa is the Korean term for sweets and husik is the term for dessert. Remember these words well on your next visit to South Korea because undoubtedly, you will want to partake in what the country has to offer in terms of after-dinner treats.

Photo courtesy by AndrewEick.


A traditional Korean rice cake made from glutinous rice flour, Tteok has been around since the Three Kingdoms Period from two millennia ago. Tteok can be boiled or steamed, while gangjeong more specifically refers to rice cakes that are fried and coated. Tteok is a favorite during celebrations, and is commonly served during weddings and birthdays.

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This iconic Korean dessert even has its own museum, showing the different varieties and kitchen equipment used in preparing it. A special rice cake called songpyun is served traditionally during Chuseok, the Korean day of thanksgiving. Songpyun is shaped into a half-moon (to suggest that life is incomplete with much more to accomplish) and filled with beans or sesame seeds with honey. It is usually steamed with pine needles to imbue it with a distinctive fragrance.


These fried honey cakes are made with wheat flour and sesame oil and shaped to look like chrysanthemums. The name yakgwa means “medicinal cookie”. The treats are now traditionally served with tea and offered to ancestors during Chuseok, or Korean harvest festival.


Dasik is made from sweet potato starch, pine pollen, honey, rice flour and herbs. Dasik is usually marked with a decorative stamp called dasikpan and comes in a variety of colors.


This jello-like sweet is made from boiling fruits or plant roots in honey and syrup. Assorted fillings can be used in jungkwa, like melons, carrots and ginseng.


A delicious summer treat, this dessert is made from shaved ice and topped with red beans, fruits, yogurt, milk, syrup, rice cakes and corn flakes. One healthy variant is green tea patbingsu, which is available in specialty cafes.


Photo courtesy by scaredy_kat.


Sikhye is a sweet rice drink which may contain cooked rice or pine nuts. To make it, cooked rice is immersed in malt water and heated until rice grains float to the surface. The liquid is then separated and boiled with sugar and flavored with ginger. Sikhye is served chilled, and is also available in cans or bottles in convenience stores, groceries and jjimjilbang. A version which aids digestion is called andong sikhye and contains radishes and powdered pepper.


This Korean sweet tea contains ginger and cinnamon and is quite fragrant and sweet. Prepared by brewing savoury ingredients, filtering solids and boiling once more with honey or brown sugar, sujeonggwa is a veritable fruit punch. The drink is often served on ice on particularly hot days. Pine nuts are a popular garnish.

Gyeong Dan

This sweet rice ball concoction is prepared by boiling glutinous rice until it floats. The rice ball is then coated with sesame seeds and cinnamon sugar or stuffed with red bean paste.

Before you discover all of these traditional Korean delicacies in person, check out superb deals on hotels in Seoul.

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