Koreans have developed a variety of traditional sweets and beverages which make nutritious snacks and delicious desserts.
(Traditional Rice Cake)
Tteok is traditional Korean cake made from rice powder. Koreans prepare it for festive occasions such as birthdays and weddings as well as for ancestral memorial services. They also have it on seasonal occasions such as seollal (Lunar New year's Day) and chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day). Koreans have the custom to prepare tteok when they move residence, and distribute a plateful to the new neighbors. It makes a natural and healthful snack.
Rice powder and the pounded red beans are layered alternately in siru, an earthenware steamer, with a final layer of red beans, and the mixture is steamed. The red color of the red bean is believed to keep away evil spirits and bad luck, and this tteok is prepared for many occasions to bring good luck.
Kneaded glutinous rice dough is shaped into small circles and pan-fried with flower petals of azalea, rose or pear decorated on the top of the dough.
Pounded and steamed rice dough is pressed in a wooden pattern mold, cut into pieces, and coated with sesame oil.
Steamed and pounded glutinous rice coated with bean powder or hulled red bean powder.
Glutinous rice dough is formed into small balls, placed in boiling water and removed, and then coated with different-colored powders made from sesame seeds, beans, cinnamon, chestnut, etc.
(Traditional Sweets and Cookies)
Hangwa is appreciated for its artistic and decorative colors and patterns as well as for its pleasing sweet taste. Often taken along with traditional beverages, it is regarded as a healthful snack and classy dessert. Beautifully packaged baskets or boxes of hangwa also make excellent gifts, especially appropriate for the elderly. It is available at shops specializing in traditional cakes and sweets and special sections in department stores.
A light and fluffy sweet made from glutinous rice and honey. It is deep-fried and coated with popped rice, cinnamon, sesame seeds, etc.
this soft cookie is made from wheat flour dough mixed with honey, rice wine, and sesame oil. The dough is flower-patterned and fried, and then marinated in honey before serving.
Yeot gangjeong from a mixture of yeot (sticky rice sugar) plus sesame seeds, beans, walnut, or pine nut, cut into bite-size pieces.
Powder of sesame seeds, chestnut, beans, medicinal herbs, or pine pollen are made into dough mixed with honey. The dough is pounded and then patterned with various pattern molds.
(Traditional Cold Beverage)
Traditional cold beverages are called hwachae. They are usually made with fruits or grains, and water sweetened by either sugar or honey, or flavored and colored by omija (fruit of the "five-taste" tree, Schisandra chinensis). There are also hwachae made from Oriental medicinal foods, azalea or pine pollen.
A sweet rice punch. Koreans like it so much that canned sikhye is now widely available.
A sweet drink flavored by ginger and cinnamon. Softened dried persimmon and pine nuts are added at serving time.
Fruit punch made from cherries, strawberries, peaches or watermelons. There are also hwachae with floating azalea petals, boiled barley, pine pollen, or slices of pear in omija-flavored water, sweetened with honey or sugar.