Hangwa: Traditional Korean Confectionery

Learn All About Tasty Traditional Korean Snacks. Different Types And Ingredients Explained!
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고양이좋아해요
4 months ago

Learn All About Traditional Korean Confectionary

In this article we will learn about hangwa, traditional Korean confections. Rice cakes, fruit confections, sweet red beans and more; there are plenty of varieties and a lot to discover.

You will also find suggestions for shops and cafes where you can find delicious and beautiful hangwa confectionary!


YUGWA (유과)


Yugwa is a hangwa which is made from glutinous rice that has been pounded and shaped into desired pieces.

They are then fried in vegetable oil and coated in honey, puffed rice and sesame seeds. It is sweet with a crispy but easy-to-chew texture.

colourful korean snacks yugwa presented on a plate with a pair of chopsticks and teapot

You can enjoy yugwa in a traditional setting at the hanok cafe Banjak Banjak Bitnaneun, located in Insadong.

delicious traditional korean snacks and tea served at a hanko cafe in seoul insadong called banjak banjak bitnaneun


YUMIL-GWA (유밀과)


Yumil-gwa is made by adding ingredients such as honey and rice wine to a wheat flour dough. It is shaped into small pieces before being fried and coated with honey.

The most famous kind of yumil-gwa is called yak-gwa (약과), a soft and sweet confection somewhat similar to old-fashion doughnuts.

korean confectionery yumilgwa & yakgwa served on a plate

The yak-gwa you can find in supermarkets and convenience stores usually taste great, and the mini version which is often sold in multipacks is a perfect souvenir item!

mini traditional korean snack yakgwaemartmall


GANGJEONG (강정)


Gangjeong is made from rice puffs and nuts which are fried in syrup or honey, creating something similar to an energy bar.

Some variants also contain sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and other ingredients.

Offering nuts and other nutritious ingredients as well being just sweet enough, it is popular among all ages.

assorted gangjeong, traditional korean snacks, served in a bowl

You can pick up gangjeong packed with nuts and other healthy stuff at Gangjeong Gongjakso (강정 공작소) and many other places.

different traditional korean confectionery gangjeongIG @ gangjeonggongjakso


DASIK (다식)


Dasik is made by kneading sesame seeds, chestnuts, rice and other grains, and pressing the result into a decorative mold known as dasikpan (다식판).

Bite-sized and easy to eat, dasik is often served together with tea (the name itself means tea food!)

colourful and artistic traditional korean snack, dasik served with tea

Below you can see a dasikpan with a variety of patterns to put on the dasik!

traditional korean snack mold, dasikpan, makes colourful dasik with different patterns and colours

At the café Gungjungdagwa Gohojae (궁중다과 고호재) located at Korea House close to Chungmuro, you can enjoy dasik along with a cup of tea in a traditional Korean atmosphere.

amazingly presented korean confectionery, dasik궁중다과 고호재 (네이버 예약)


JEONGGWA (정과)


Jeonggwa is made by boiling sliced fruits such as yuja and apricots, or roots like burdock and ginger, in honey and sugar water.

The result is a confection with vivid colors and a crispy and chewy texture.

jeonggwa served on a plate, traditional korean snack

A jeonggwa present box would make most people happy!  

a gift box of traditional korean snacks, jeonggwa마켓컬리

The dessert maker Hyojadong Dessert (효자동디저트) has an online store where you can find plenty of jeonggwa varieties and other hangwa as well!

beautiful jeonggwa, made with colourful ingredients, korean snacksIG @ hyojadong.dessert


GWAPYEON (과편)


Gwapyeon is made from boiling fruits and berries such as apricot, quince and magnolia berry. Starch and sugar is added to create a jelly-like confection.

gwapyeon of different shapes served on a plate, traditional korean confectionery농사로

At THE EERANG TEA LOUNGE (더이랑) in Mapo-gu, you can enjoy beautifully shaped gwapyeon with flavors such as honey apple (they even add apple blossom petals!).

yellow gwapyeon, korean snack, served on a plateIG @ the_eerang

The café also has gorgeous-looking strawberry gwapyeon!

orange jelly-like korean snack, gwapyeon, served on a plateIG @ the_eerang


YEOT (엿)


Yeot is hangwa made from malt, steamed rice, glutinous rice, millet, corn and other grains.   

making yeot, delicious korean snack

Yeot with peanuts and other nuts is also popular!

traditional korean snack, yeot, closeup

The glutinous rice cake is quite sticky, and Koreans believe that eating yeot before an exam means that what you have studied will “stick” to your mind, which is why it is common to give as a present for friends of family who are taking an exam.

a gift box set of yeot, korean snackslotteon


TTEOK (떡)


Tteok is a Korean rice cake made from rice and other grains. It is a staple food at festive occasions such as major holidays, birthdays and weddings.

There is an abundance of varieties, including songpyeon which contains honey and sweet red beans, tteok coated with powdered soybeans (injeolmi), and steamed rice cake (baeksoelgi) which is commonly served at a feast celebrating the hundredth day after a baby’s birth.

korean rice cakes, tteok, assortment of different colours and flavours

Nulli Cake (널리케이크) close to Balsan Station make tteok that looks like a piece of art!

beautifully curated assortment of tteok, colourful korean rice cakes널리케이크

Haap (합) located in Gangnam also offer a variety of hand-made tteok, with visuals that remind of western cakes.

tteok (rice cake) served as a cake with coffee in seoulIG @ haap2010


KKULPPANG (꿀빵)


Kkulppang, or honey bread, is a bread filled with sweet red bean paste which has been deep-fried and then coated with syrup and sesame seeds. Very sweet, it is more like a donut than a bread. 

kkulppang, delicious korean snacks that are crispy and sweet이슈에디코

You can order hand-made kkulppang with two different kinds of sweet red bean paste at Baeknyeon Bapsang (백년밥상). It’s crispy and sweet and very delicious!

kkulppang, korean snacks, red bean fillings and more!백년밥상


HODU-GWAJA (호두과자)


Walnut cake, or hodu-gwaja, is made from wheat flour and pounded walnuts, and the walnut shaped cake is filled with red bean paste.

You can find it at many highway rest areas as well as in specialty shops.

hodu-gwaja, delicious korean snack, often found at rest stops and bakeries in korea

Studio D’holic (선유서가) in Yeouido is famous for its hodu-gwaja.

hodu-gwaja, korean walnut snack, served with coffee and other desserts.IG @ seonyu_seoga


PATBINGSU (팥빙수)


Patbingsu is a shaved ice dessert which in its original form was topped with sweet red beans, rice cake and ground nuts (pat means red beans).

Nowadays you can also find shaved ice (bingsu) topped with a variety of different fruits, condensed milk and various sweets.   

korean shaved ice, batbingsu, served with rice cake and red bean on top.

Sul-bing (설빙) is a popular chain café where you can enjoy bingsu with both red beans and many other toppings – it’s a great and not too heavy dessert!

shaved ice (patbingsu) different flavours at sulbingIG @ sulbing.official


DANPATJUK (단팥죽)


Danpatjuk is a porridge made of sweet red beans, often seasoned with cinnamon. In the porridge you find small rice dumplings, chestnuts, walnuts and pine nuts.

danpatjuk, sweet porridge made in korea.

You can get hand-made danpatjuk at the Incheon café pot-R. It’s a perfect treat for the cold months.

nicely served danpatjuk, sweet red bean porridgeIG @ cafepotr


ICED PERSIMMON (아이스홍시)


Since long ago, Koreans have enjoyed ripe persimmons which are frozen before being eaten like a sorbet. It’s soft and sweet and absolutely delicious!

iced persimmon, a beloved korean snack

You can find iced persimmons ready-made in supermarkets or order online.

iced persimmon presented with other traditional korean snacks쿠팡!


HOTTEOK (호떡)


This street food favorite is made from wheat and rice flour.

After the dough has been allowed to rise, it is filled with ingredients such as brown sugar and cinnamon and then cooked on a greased griddle before being served.

hotteok, sweet korean pancakes, piled up on a plate

Seoul Hotteok (서울호떡), which you can find in Sinchon and other locations, sell gorgeous heart-shaped hotteok!

heart-shaped hotteoks in sinchon, seoul hotteokIG @ seoul_hotteok


What hangwa have you tried? Let us know in the comment section!


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