Korean street food weekend: Ddeokbokki (떡볶이)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It has been just recently that I got into Korean culture, drama, food, and okay, music too, that my sister and I make it a point to eat or cook Korean food every weekend. With the Korean staple condiments/sidedish kimchi, red pepper paste (gochujang), bulgogi sauce, and a bit of know-how, we've cooked kimchi fried rice, bibimbap, beef bulgogi, improvised samgyeopsal, and most recently ddeokbokki or spicy rice cake popular in the streets of Korea. 

I love spicy food - from the kick of chili in nasi goreng and nasi lemak of Malaysia; the pungent and flavorful curry of India; and the nasty burning taste of siling labuyo. Korean food also gives a burning taste to one's palate but also adds sweetness and sourness as well.

And so, here's the ddeokbokki, a product of our Korean grocery shopping in Westgate, Alabang. We improvised a bit and added noodles, cabbage, and ham instead of fish cakes. 

From our Korean grocery splurge, we used the following for the ingredients:

  1. Freshly made rice cakes (in long cylinder shape)
  2. Topokki sauce
  3. Chopped cabagge
  4. Leftover ham (from our trusty ref)
  5. A few spoonfuls of gochujang
  6. A bit of chopped garlic
  7. Onion leeks
  8. Noodles from ramyun pack
  9. Water, of course

Some recipes call for creating a fish stock from dried anchovies and kale but as it's our first time to try making ddeokbokki, we decided to stick with the instant topokki sauce. The rice cakes can also be made at home - use Google to know the recipe.


  1. Saute garlic in a bit of oil. 
  2. Add the sauce and combined water (250 ml of water for one pack of topokki sauce). Stir.
  3. Add the rice cakes, cabbage, and onion leeks. Let the topokki sauce be absorbed by the rice cake.
  4. Add the ham and noodles and stir continuously.
  5. You might see that the sauce is thickening and then drying up - add some combined water and gochujang (put some or depending on how saucy you want it to be)
  6. When the noodles are cooked, you're done!

My mom, who doesn't like eating or even seeing spicy Korean food, liked this dish and said it somewhat tastes like pancit. I agree, it's a sweet and spicy pancit with sticky rice cakes. The ham added the needed saltiness in the dish and the cabbage provided the crunch. Although this is originally a Korean snack, we splurged on this during lunch. 

Yum yum!

Kudos to my sister who took the initiative in cooking this. Nyahahaha


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