Traditional desserts appeal to the young with creative visuals
Published : Feb 13, 2021 - 22:37
Updated : Feb 14, 2021 - 09:09

A lucky bag-shaped rice cake made by You Ha-na (Instagram account, hanainflower)

Hangwa, or traditional Korean confections, and rice cakes are essential snacks during the Korean lunar new year holiday. After a memorial service for ancestors and sharing meals with the family, traditional desserts are enjoyed with tea.

While Korean desserts have been mainly relished during the traditional holidays, they are becoming more diverse and enjoying popularity among younger generation with creative visuals.

“Korean desserts come in a wide variety as customers expect visually pleasing desserts these days, particularly younger people,” said Jin Seon-mi, the owner of Rice and Cake, a Korean dessert shop in Gyeonggi Province. “One of the popular desserts here is gangjeong with dried fruits. I add variety to typical gangjeong by adding colors and fruit decorations. Some customers purchase them as a gift to foreign friends.” 

Gangjeong with dried fruits by Jin Seon-mi (Instagram account, ricencake0307)

Other popular Korean desserts are flower pattern embedded dasik, which is a bite-sized Korean traditional tea cookie made of grain and seed flours, rainbow-colored baram tteok which is a half-moon shaped rice cake filled with bean paste and a lucky bag-shaped cake made of rice flour or bojagi cake.

“The lucky bag shaped-rice cakes have become popular recently, while rice cakes with bean-paste peony decorations have been a huge hit over the past years,” said You Ha-na who runs Kkot-hida, a rice cake shop in Daejeon. 

A wider variety of rice cakes in various designs are available today as more people celebrate special occasions like birthdays at home. Some cakes are said to be more of a piece of art than food. The customized rice cakes are in high demand among young people looking to celebrate special days with parents and grandparents at home.

Rice cakes with different food designs by Choi Yu-ri (Instagram account, sweetings_at)

"Social media has made the dessert market more competitive as young people look for creative desserts while looking through photos online. Cakes with rice flour that look like fried chickens and tteokbokki are also popular for their creativity,” said Choi Yu-ri who teaches one-day classes for those who want to learn to make rice cakes at Sweetings, a rice cake shop in Seoul.

By Park Yuna (
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