Korean Food : Flower Decorated Rice cake, Hwajeon



Nearly 20 years ago

It was a day spring revived with newly born colors. The street along my school was filled with diverse colors, yellow, dark red, crimson, pink and green. Among them, the pink was the most noticeable color of all. That was from fully bloomed Azaleas.

My grandma said
You are lucky to have them.

I didn't understand what she meant.
I assumed that maybe because it was so much beautiful.

One day, 

 my grandma called us and asked us to pluck some azalea petals on the street. I felt reluctant to do what she said. How dare I pick off flowers! I defiantly asked her why. She said there was something she wanted to make with it and I would be surprised. Yes, I love surprises.

Picking up petals
I felt unconscientious for the end of a life, even it was a plant. (I think I was more emotional than now.) After a moment, I forgot that thought and fell into the amusement of collecting pretty petals. Finally we ended up gathering a small basket of azalea and came back home.

Entering home, I saw my grandma kneading dough, sitting on the living room floor. Around her there were a gas burner, a frying pan and other ingredients and utensils. We sat beside her, showing off what we’ve got by ourselves. She grinned and asked us to wash them throughly and bring them back.

Grandma let us grab a hand-sized dough and round it rolling with two hands. Then, she flattened the dough, and placed it on the preheated frying pan. Around 1 minute later, she flipped it over and reheated it. I recognized that she was making a rice pancake, frying it. It must be super-yum with warm, chewy texture.

Petals Attached

All of a sudden, She glanced at us with a mysterious smile and attached a petal into one side of well cooked rice pancake. We were astonished and stared curiously at what she was doing. She let it firmly fixed, looking at us, giggling.

My sister and I were so excited and shouted at her in unison, “What’s next? What? What?”. She moved a azalea decorated pancake to the dish, and drizzled a teaspoon of syrup on it.

It is called 'Hwajeon'

She said, “It’s done. It’s called Hwajeon(meaning ‘flower pancake’). Precisely, Jindalle Hwajeon(azalea flower pancake). I made this beautiful dish very often when I was young. Nowadays, it’s not easy to find wild azalea in the city. You are lucky to have them around our house.”

I am lucky to have them.

Finally, I understood what she meant, and I truly thought I was lucky to have them.  And I also thought I was very lucky to have my grandma to let me know this beautiful plate of flowers.


On that day, We made hundreds of hwajeon trying as many different designs of it as I could imagine. How about the taste?

It was as delicious as my grandma’s love.


What is Hwajoen?

Hwajeon is a small rice cake(tteok) adorned with edible flower petals including azalea and chrysanthemums.

Hwajeon was commonly eaten at a traditional custom called hwajeonnori meaning flower rice-cake play. Every March 3 in the lunar calendar, named ‘Samjinnal’, azaleas blooming, women and children went out to pluck azaleas or other edible flowers. They also carried all ingredients and a thick frying pan to make it outside.

20 years Later

I have grown up and I could make Hwajeon by myself without any help from my grandma. But sadly, there’s no azaleas around my house anymore, as the city has grown larger. I am not lucky anymore in terms of azalea.

But I am lucky to have this beautiful memory
with my wonderful grandma


* Samjinnal(March 3 of lunar calendar) is March 24 this year 2012.

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  1. Favicon of https://tood-re.tistory.com BlogIcon 먹튀 검증 2018.07.30 11:58 신고  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기


Korean Holiday : I Eat Rice Cake Pasta Soup on New Year Day.

rice cake soup

Today is Lunar New Year Day.
A big holiday in confucian countries.

As tradition, I had rice cake pasta soup, tteokguk, this morning.
I also ate special foods eaten only on occasion.
After eating breakfast, I bowed to our grandma and parents.
I used to get some money from them.
But I am old enough not to have it, a bit sad.

I am glad to have nice food here.
Now I am preparing to meet my maternal relatives later.

rice cake

[KOREAN FOOD] - Korean Food : New Year Culture, Rice Cake Soup at Home
[SCRIBBLE ]- A Rice Mill : To Buy Rice Cake for Lunar New Year in Busan, Korea
[MY DIARY] - Korean Holiday : Lunar New Year Korean Traditional Food

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  1. anonymous 2012.01.26 05:49  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기

    rice cake soup?!! 그거 완전 어감부터 괴식인게, cake + soup 이 조합은 약과를 미역국에 넣어 먹는 것과 동급으로 영어권 사람들에게 이상합니다. 그냥 떡국이라고 하거나 아니면 rice pasta soup 정도가 맞겠죠.

    • Favicon of https://foodstoryist.tistory.com BlogIcon Food Storyist 2012.01.26 16:19 신고  댓글주소  수정/삭제

      안녕하세요? 틀린 표현 지적 너무 감사드립니다. rice cake pasta soup 으로 정정했습니다. 덕분에 좋은 표현 알게 되어서 기쁘네요. 글을 쓰면서 한국 음식에 관해 공부하지만 아직 많이 모자릅니다. 앞으로도 좋은 조언 부탁드립니다. 감사합니다 ^ ^

Korean Holiday : New Year Food Shopping at Market

I went to Sajik farmer's market with my mom and sister.
We need ricke cake and some fruit.
We were able to buy them at the discount store.
But we all like walking through the market feeling the lively atmosphere.
Just Like a little me.

First, We looked for our first target, rice cake.
There were several rice cake stores.
But this store seems to sell the freshest rice cake just out of the steamer.
Also, it was so very crowded by a throng of people.
Mom bought two loaves of rice cake. (It's 5000won, each.)

rice cake

Next, we bought sweet rice drink called 'Sikhye'. 
My grandma used to make it at home,
but this year, she is not healthy enough to do it, sadly.

I am not that fond of it, so I didn't notice there were no sikhye prepared.
My sister reminded us of the tradition of drinking sikhye.
Mom and I first hesitated. Mom is not a big fan of sikhye, either.
But Sister wanted to buy it for visitors and for herself.
We ended up buying one hottle of sikhye. (As shown, it's 3000won for one bottle.)


Lastly, at the end of the market alley,
we found the fruit store with vivid, luminous colors of fruits.

korean fruit

Mom bought some mandarines
I love mandarines, especially small sized one with thin peel,
that's usually sweeter than others.

I feel like I have already eaten 10 kgs of it this winter.
But I want to eat it more and more. I am crazy for a mandarine.
korean fruit

Mom also bought a few pears.
Pears ripens and get harvested in autumn, so it's not in season now.
Not in season means Very expensive. (1 pear :  upto 3,000won)
But it is one of food used in the ancestral rite at the  new year.
So, in spite of its high price, Korean buy pears every traditional holiday.
(I will handle this issue on another post later.)

korean fruit

Now, we are almost prepared for welcoming relatives.

BTW, Ladies and Gentlemen! Happy New Year!

2012/01/21  Korean Market : Farmers Market (with Video) in Busan, Korea

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A Rice Mill : To Buy Rice Cake for Lunar New Year in Busan, Korea

rice mill

On the way home, swirling steam blurred my sight.
I stopped to figure where it was from. It was from the ventilator of the rice mill.

I thought the rice mill was almost shut up, completely close, since its light inside was often off. It hadn’t displayed any stuff quite long time.

But today, Surprisingly, small carts was laid in line in front of the rice mill to wait for its turn. I looked around standing there, and I spotted some women who seemed to be owners of those carts chattering with each other.

They must wait for their white long bar rice cake to make rice cake soup on the new year day. And thinking that we already prepared the rice cake ingredients, my mom by herself did it for us waiting in line.

Thanks, Mom. I feel the biggest holiday coming soon.

2011/12/28 - [KOREAN FOOD] - Korean Food : New Year Culture, Rice Cake Soup at Home

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Korean Food : New Year Culture, Rice Cake Pasta Soup at Home

When I was young, I wanted to grow quicker to be an adult, so I ate it two or even three bowls to get older. Will you eat it, if you gain one more year through it?

No or Yes?

You might not believe even the existence of it. But it exists in Korea. When you eat this food, you will get one year older. Do you want to know what food it is?


rice cake soup

 This is it. You might have seen it somewhere, or already eaten it. This food is called ‘tteok guk’ in Korean meaning rice cake pasta soup. This is the korean traditional new year food.

When do korean eat rice cake pasta soup?

We eat rice caken pasta soup twice a year; the solar new year day and lunar(chinese) new year day. The solar calendar new year is the 1st of January, most people know, while the lunar new year day is around the beginning of February. The lunar new year day changes every year as the lunar calendar changes.

Technically, we eat rice cake pasta soup on the lunar new year day, because we used to use the lunar calendar at the time we celebrated it. However, people started to eat it at the 1st of January as well, as the profound meaning of eating this soup is commemorating the new year, and then it became a tradition.  


The particular type of rice cake : Bar rice cake

We make rice cake pasta soup only with a particular type of rice cake. That is bar rice cake, called ‘Garae ddeok’ in Korean. It is long thick-strip like super-thick spaghetti with diameter of 3cm.

This bar rice cake embrace two implicit meanings.

Firstly, bar rice cake symbolizes the purity and hope for longevity. Its pure white color  signifies the new start with new clear mind. Like its long shape, we wish our long life expectancy.

Secondly, bar rice cake also implies the desire for wealth. As it comes along out from the machine, money hopefully comes ceaselessly out to eaters. On the other hand, it is sliced while cooking and served. It looks like just like a coin, that was only currency in the past. We just hope to be richer eating this money-shaped food.

The Strange Expression to Say hello at The new year.

As I mentioned on the head, you gain one year when you eat rice cake pasta soup. It leads to the unique and strange expression to say hello at the new year.

We often ask, “Have you eaten rice cake soup pasta this year?” meaning happy new year. We also ask “How many rice cake pasta soup have you eaten since born?” meaning “How old are you?”.


I am not like the child as I was, who ate two or three bowls of rice cake pasta soup. I’ve been old enough as a grown up. Yes, I think I had enough. I shouldn’t eat it anymore, but it’s so delicious that I cannot resist it.

Do you want to get older, or want to avoid eating it? I ascertain that you cannot help eating it when you look at the hot bowl with chewy rice cake in its mysterious white soup.

              Happy New Year !

                                                and... Try Rice Cake Pasta Soup This New year.

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At Christmas, Healthy Dessert with Rice : Cake Recipe.

christmas tree


I wish you
a Merry Christmas!

When you think of the christmas dining table,

You eat firstly appetizers and fresh salad.
It follows to christmas turkey, or chicken with wine or soft drinks,

In the end sweet cake with tea or coffee please us.

chocolate cake

You cannot separate christmas dessert from your happy christmas time.

Some cakes are baked by home, but others are sold by bakeries. It happens in Korea as well. Bakeries are busy selling christmas cake on christmas season.

However, as you know, cake contains high volume of sugar and fat. It certainly delights your tongue but not your body.

In Korea, some housewives, particularly who are interested in health, found the alternative for sugarly cake. They don’t want to get fatter and their children to be obese, either.

Mothers replace wheat flour with rice flour.

Rice is the staple in Korea, so it is not expensive compared to wheat flour. It is easy to buy from any stores. There exist various information and knowledge about rice from their mom as well as medias. They can develop new recipes based upon their experience. They know what food goes well or bad with rice. That is why rice substitue for flour in making cake.

Rice cake is more nutritious than flour cake. You should think wheat flour is as nourishing as rice flour. It is true that nutritional facts of two are not that much different. However, when other ingredients such as sugar and butter add to wheat flour cake, its status is not the same with rice cake.

Rice cake is made up of rice powder, water(sometimes substituted with milk), small amount of sugar and salt. It doesn't have much sugar or butter. Depending on your tastes, you can put a variety of natural ingredients including sweet potatoes, pumpkins, strawberries, beans and so on. You can add whatever you want if it satisfy your palettes. Later, I will recommend some certain food mostly used by Korean rice cake bakers.

Two Ways to Have Rice cake.

1. From Home baking

             Pumpkin Rice Cake

Ingredients : rice powder 800 g, pumpkin (cooked) 200 g, sugar 1/2 cup, salt 1 ts 

< Making Mixture >
1. Smash the pumpkin to mix with rice flour.
2. Mix rice flour and smashed pumpkin.
(You can see small pieces of flour cluster due to pumpkin moisture.)

3. Sift the mixture twice. The more throughly sift, the more cake smooth.
(After sifting, you can see egg-yolk yellow color of powder.)
4. Add sugar depending on your tastes.
(Sugar doesn't play less important role in rice cake than in wheat cake, so add sugar as much as you want. Consider the sweetness of pumpkin, and put less.)

< Preparing Steaming >
5. Pour water into steamer.
6. Spead the wet cloth on the rack of the steamer
7. Place the 18cm~20cm cake ring on the wet cloth the steamer.
8. Put the mixture into the ring. 
(You'd better put it above the rim so that you easily clear the top.)
9. Top off and make the surface flat using the scaper.
10. Decorate the top with garnishes such as nut, almond, or some pumpkin pieces.

< Steaming >
11. Close the lid of steamer and boil it with high heat for 25minutes
12. Turn down to low heat(or just turn off) with the lid closed for 5 minutes

13. Cool down and Enjoy with the tea or coffee.

* You can change the flavor exchanging pumpkin for other ingredients
(such as sweet potatoes, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, green tea and so on.)

2. From Rice cake Bakery.

You can get it whether you buy the rice cake from the rice cake specialized bakery or buy the pre-mixed rice cake powder and bake it at home.

rice cake
rice cake mix

I will link some of the rice cake bakery websites in Korea.
Unfortunately, they are written in Korean. You can order it just in Korea.

If you stay in other parts of the world, you should make it home!
You can have some ideas from those linked sites.
It's kinda simple proceses and eay to cook. You can try baking it.

Merry Christmas !

I hope you enjoy Healthy Christmas with Rice Cake!


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