Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dongdaegu Market - Korean rice cake

Around my university, there's lots of interesting places to go. For the I-have-lots-of-time type of guy, he will go directly to the downtown for movie and fine dining (He probably will be broke by the end of month if he's there too often though).

For the lazy ones, he will order food through delivery service. Sometimes, the very common place students from this campus will do is just to visit the market.

Why market? Well, to get to the bus stop (the very convenient 간남약국 bus station), we need to pass through a small lane that had been converted into a small market called 동대구시장 (Dongdaegu Market). This is the place where fresh market produce, freshly baked bread and Korean street food can be found.

The best way for any tourist visiting Korean market is to try out the rice cakes or Tteok (떡) available there. Tteok is served during celebrations or important day such as weddings and also to honor the deceased.

There's a particular rice cake that is very common in Korea, just ask any Koreans and they will definitely know that Songpyeon (송편) is the must-try. Other than Injeolmi (인절미), a type of rice cake made after the glutinuous rice flour was pounded and mixed with dried/powdered beans. It is extremely common to find Songpyeon of all rice cakes available.


What is Songpyeon then? Songpyeon is made from glutinous rice flour and some sweet filling such as nuts that were added into the rice ball. It was then shaped to look like Chinese gold ingot (in my opinion). Songpyeon is usually eaten during Chuseok (추석) or Korean Thanksgiving, a day I always remember as one of the most eerily quiet day in my campus.

I think it's pumpkin cake

Sweet and fluffy

Korean Thanksgiving day falls on mid-autumn, the 15th day of the 8th month in the Lunar Calender. Ethnic Chinese too celebrates this day and during the Mid-Autumn festival, instead of Songpyeon, we will eat Moon cakes. East Asians like the ethnic Chinese and Korean share almost an identical culture.

Today is my "Songpyeon day", nah, it is just another day that I am again extremely bored. Tried Songpyeon and an unknown cake (I did not ask for the name, it looked nice so instinctively, I bought it. Just kidding. I bought it just to try out), which I think is the 호박빵 (Pumpkin cake). Each pack is 2000 Won.

If you are at Dondaegu Market, you can find 3 stalls selling tteok, just walk to the end of the market and there's a medium size stall on your right. This was the shop I went to. Nevertheless, I am not saying that the other stalls do not sell nice tteok. It was just that I bought my tteok at this stall on that fortunate day.

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