Korean Traditional Snacks-Must Eat!!


Traditional Korean Sweets

Korean traditional snack foods are called hangwa. They include yumil, yugwa (deep-fried sweet rice cakes), yakgwa (sweet with flavors of ginger and honey), jeonggwa (preserved fruit in honey), dasik (tea cakes), and gangjeong (fried glutinous rice-cake). Hangwa uses fermented sweet rice as its basic ingredient. To make Hangwa, sweet rice is fried in oil and then coated with grain syrup, sesame seeds, or taffy.

Left: a box full of hangwa./ Right: a plate of hangwa with artificial flowers next to it.

(sweet with flavors of ginger and honey)

Snacks made of wheat flour, honey, and oil are called yumil, which includes yakgwa, mandugwa, dasikgwa, maejakgwa, chasugwa, yohwagwa, hangwa, and bakgye.

Left: a piece of Yakgwa./ Right:  a box consisted of various shapes and colors of Yakgwa.

The most popular one is yakgwa. Ingredients such as wheat flour, honey, liquor, and ginger juice are mixed into a dough, fried in oil, and coated with honey. The snack has a sweet, nutty flavor and melts softly in the mouth, so it is the most popular Korean traditional snack. It is divided into large size, medium size, and small size. The square-shaped yakgwa is called moyakgwa, and yakgwa served in a cake mold is called dasikgwa.

Yumilgwa was recorded in documents from the Goryeo period. In particular, it was used for Buddhist events such as lantern event and palgwanhoe (a festival for native gods). During the king’s trip, counties or temples served this snack to the king. 

Gangjeong (fried glutinous rice-cake)

This gangjeong is made by frying sweet rice, immersing it in taffy liquid, and coating it with sesame seeds. It is a kind of yugwa. Gangjeong is a snack for winter rather than summer. It is also served before and after a wedding.

Left: a few macaroon-shaped Gangjeong./ Right: a plate of sqaure-shaped sesame Gangjeong.

tea cakes)

Chestnut powder, pine pollen, soybean powder, potato powder, sesame seed powder, or stir-fried rice powder is mixed in honey and made into cake by pressing the mixture into a patterned cake mold. This snack food was created for the custom of drinking tea, which was very popular during the Silla and Goryeo periods. It became an essential ritual food as well. The tradition stems from the custom of using tea during auspicious family ceremonies. The custom has remained a formality over time.

Left: black and red clay colors of round Dasik. / Right: black, red clay and green color of round Dasik.

Further Information

Traditional Food: Bongnyeongsa

Enjoyable sites: Hangaone-HanGwa Culture Museum