In addition to the steamy hot and spicy food that is served in Korea, there are many sweets that are highly popular! Here are 10 Korean sweets that you should try.
1. Red bean porridge – 단팥죽/dan-pat-juk
A sweet porridge made out of red beans and sweet rice, Korean red bean porridge also includes sweet rice balls and is usually served during the winter solstice. Koreans would place bowls of the porridge around the house because it was believed that the red color would scare away spirits.
2. Sweet pancakes – 호떡/ho-dduk
Hodduk is a common street food in Korea which is made of sweet flour pancake that is filled with warm and gooey sugar syrup in the center.
3. Sugar candy – 뽑기/ppop-gi
Another street food in Korea, Korean sugar candy, is made out of sugar and baking soda. While the ingredients and technique in making the sweet snack seems fairly easy, it takes practice and skill to make it correctly. Sugar candy is sweet, yet slightly bitter and nutty. The street vendor imprints a shape on top of the sugar candy and if the customer was able to eat the rest of the candy without breaking the design, they would get another one for free.
4. Shaved ice – 팥빙수/pat-bing-su
As opposed to American shaved ice, the Korean version of this dessert is not made with artificial syrups. Instead, the dessert is piled up with red beans, sweet rice cake, and an assortment of fruits, topped off with condensed milk. A popular summer dessert, Korean shaved ice is consumed to combat the intense summer heat.
5. Peanut sesame candy – 깨땅콩 강정/kkae-ttangkong gangjeong
Made of peanuts and sesame seeds, peanut sesame candy is a delicious and slightly brittle. The recipe is highly flexible and the peanuts can be easily interchanged with any other type of nut or dried fruit.
6. Ginger cookies – 매작과/mae-jak-kwa
Ginger cookies are crunchy and sweet traditional desserts made out of ginger, cinnamon, and nuts. The cookie is twisted into a unique design and served in a golden brown color.
7. Fish shaped bread/pastry – 붕어빵/bung-eo-ppang
Not to be confused with the fish shaped red bean ice cream, which is cold and frosty, bungeoppang is served as a warm and crispy pastry filled with red bean paste. The outside is bread which is molded into the shape of a carp using a special pan and then the inside is stuffed with gooey and sweet red bean.
8. Candied sweet potato – 마탕/ma-tang
While the snack is crunchy on the outside, candied sweet potatoes are toasty and fluffy on the inside. Candied sweet potatoes are simply chunks of cut up sweet potatoes which are coated in a sticky hot syrup and topped off with black sesame seeds, which makes the dessert appear like candy.
9. Chestnut cookies – 율란/yul-lan
Strained and crushed, the boiled chestnuts are scooped out of their shells and mixed with honey, cinnamon, and syrup. They are shaped, left to dry and then dipped and coated with crushed nuts or green tea powder.
10. Rice dessert drink – 식혜/sik-hye
The Korean rice dessert drink, sikhye is used to help aid in digestion. It is made of barley malt powder and rice which is served cold in a bowl.