How to Enjoy Tteokbokki Like a Korean


2 min

Korea is famous for its spicy food, and it's starting to catch on in the United States. Take Buldak fried noodles, for example—they're super popular right now. And the latest spicy sensation? Tteokbokki! If you love Korean food, you might have heard of tteokbokki but aren't quite sure what it is yet. Let's change that!

What is Tteokbokki?

Tteokbokki is often called the soul food of Korea. It's a nostalgic dish that harks back to Korean students grabbing a quick bite from street snackshop, known as Bunsikjum, after school. This dish features finger-sized rice cakes (tteok) simmered in a spicy, sweet sauce made with gochujang (Korean red chili paste) and various other ingredients like fish cakes, dumplings, vegetables, and sometimes even squid.

Korean Street Food Tteokbokki
Korean Street Food Tteokbokki

How to cook Tteokbokki?

The base seasoning is crucial in tteokbokki. The standard seasonings include gochujang, chili powder, garlic, and soy sauce. Some variations might include curry or chunjang (a type of black bean paste) to add depth to the flavor. Many famous tteokbokki spots in Korea have their own secret sauce, and there's even a map of tteokbokki restaurants across the country!

Unlock the Secret to Perfect Tteokbokki: 5 Must-Try Tips

Tteokbokki + Mozzarella Cheese

  • Tip: The spicy flavor of tteokbokki can be mellowed by adding mozzarella cheese, giving it a savory and mild twist.
  • How to Cook: When the tteokbokki is almost done, turn off the heat, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top, and cover the pan with a lid. Let the residual heat melt the cheese.
Teaokbokki with mozzarella
Teaokbokki with mozzarella

Tteokbokki + Boiled Egg

  • Tip: Adding eggs to tteokbokki not only boosts the protein content but also helps protect your stomach from the spicy heat.
  • How to Cook: Boil the eggs separately before making the tteokbokki. When the tteokbokki is cooking, add the boiled eggs to the mixture. For the best flavor, slice the eggs and let them soak up some of the sauce.
Teaokbokki with boiled eggs
Teaokbokki with boiled eggs

Tteokbokki + Ramen

  • Tip: If you find tteokbokki alone isn't filling enough, try adding ramen noodles. This combination, known as ramen bokki, is popular and delicious.
  • How to Cook: Since ramen noodles absorb a lot of water, use about 1.5 times the amount of water recommended in the tteokbokki recipe when adding ramen.
Teaokbokki with ramen
Teaokbokki with ramen

Jajang Tteokbokki + Red Pepper Flakes

  • Tip: For a different flavor profile, try jajang tteokbokki, which uses a savory black bean sauce. If you prefer a bit more heat, you can add red pepper flakes.
  • How to Cook: Add red pepper flakes sparingly to avoid making the sauce too watery. Adjust to your preferred level of spiciness.

Tteokbokki + Cabbage

  • Tip: For a healthier or vegan option, add a variety of vegetables, especially cabbage. Cabbage adds a crunchy texture and helps protect your stomach lining.
  • How to Cook: Cut the cabbage into bite-sized pieces and add it to the rice cakes and marinade before boiling. Use more cabbage if you want a lighter meal with fewer rice cakes.

By following these tips, you can create a personalized and flavorful tteokbokki experience that's perfect for your taste. Enjoy experimenting with different ingredients and making this classic Korean dish your own!