A bowl of tteokbokki, traditional Korean rice cake with sauce
The Korean Street Food Tteokbokki Is Taking Over The Food Scene
By Dainius Vaitiekunas
The popular Korean rice treat, tteokbokki, is a sticky rice cake served in a tangy red chili sauce. Its mouthwatering chewiness and cylindrical shape of authentic Korean rice cake were synonymous with upper-class and royal cuisines, until the Korean War transformed it into a more accessible comfort food that is now taking over the global food scene.
The traditional tteokbokki is enjoyed with red chili sauce, but Koreans like it with boiled eggs, fish cakes, or soy sauce, too. The simple and addictive sweet and salty spiciness of tteokbokki has recently pushed the Korean street food staple into the spotlight, which has a lot to do with the K-culture movement, as interest in all things Korean only seems to be growing.
In New York, Witch Toppoki, the first specialized Korean tteokbokki restaurant, has opened in Flushing, Queens, followed by a second location in Bayside. These trendy rice cakes have also taken Amazon and Walmart by storm, with the Korean producer O'Food — who introduced them to the U.S. in 2021 — seeing a 450% increase in sales in 2022.