Tteokbokki (Dduk Bbok Kie): Hot and spicy Korean street food

Tteokbokki stall

Tteokbokki or Dduk Bbok Kie as our Korean interpreter Kim spells it is a popular street food in Korea. I only knew that after I had it though. Three of us were walking around the streets sans interpreter and stopped to grab a quick bite to eat before heading back to the main event.


I caught sight of a group of locals congregating around this stall which sells some kind of spicy looking pottage. I don’t know what it is but it looks starchy and comes in a rather promising shade of red. The smell coming from the bubbling pot was decidedly pleasant and I concluded this was just the thing to have on a chilly autumn night.

busan street

We were in huge market somewhere in Busan and attempts to ask what it was failed miserably. I wanted to know what it contains so I can write about it but finally gave up and did The Sign Language Thing (TM).

pointing thing

The Sign Language Thing (TM) involves using your index finger to point at the simmering pot, turn that finger 90 degrees to indicate one serving, and rotate it another 90 degrees to point towards yourself, demonstrating your intent.

Dduk Bbok Kie

The Tteokbokki is served with a whole boiled egg, fish cakes, sliced meat, and tteok (a long rice cake with a texture like chewy dough) doused with a hot paste. It was surprisingly good. I love the hot sauce made with peppers – you can still see the chillis in the dish. It’s savory and spicy and costs 3000 Won (RM 8).

pork sausage

I was also given a pork sausage made with pork and starch as a “service”, which means free in their version of English.

eating Tteokbokki

Anyway, I was standing there eating the hot Tteokbokki (though I didn’t know what it was at the time) when up came this hot Korean girl (or so I thought at that time) and explained in PERFECT QUEEN’S ENGLISH what the dish contains. I was flabbergasted and my jaw probably dropped in mid-chew, exposing the half eaten contents inside my mouth.

I’m sure she was very impressed. T_T

She translated what I said to the stall owner and vice versa and thanks to her, this post comes complete with the ingredients in Tteokbokki.

malaysian student

Oh, and I found out she’s a Malaysian studying in Seoul after talking to her. Heh! She was here with her friends for PIFF 2009.

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25 thoughts on “Tteokbokki (Dduk Bbok Kie): Hot and spicy Korean street food”

  1. Hey, that was awesome to meet another Malaysian in Korea. Did you get her number? πŸ˜‰ Anyway, the dish looked really awesome(and fiery hot!) It’s hard not to like a dish with egg.

  2. Cheers: Heh! Ya it was nice to meet a fellow Malaysian in Korea. I didn’t ask for her number, I was there on a business trip and the next day we had to fly back so I don’t see the point. πŸ™‚
    The dish is really fucking good! =D
    eiling: T_T
    No la, was talking to her for quite a long time, she’s from KL too. :p
    …: Yeah, I love game! Any wild animals I haven’t eaten, I’ll eat it! =D

  3. HB, that Korean Blood Sausage sure looked yummy and kimchap (Korean Sushi). It bad you didn’t try kimchee pancakes that a great snack too.

  4. KY: Indeed! They mix the pork sausage with starch very nice texture. That girl is refreshing – someone who speaks English in Korea AND Korean too. Very useful as an interpretor. =D
    Erica: Yeah, I didn’t manage to try kimchi pancakes, that would have been nice. Bulgogi I had a lot of times though, awesome stuff! =D

  5. Toppokki!! (That is what they call in Japan). I have only tried once with the red Kochujang version. Prefer the sweet salty and spicy dry version. So, how is the Korean blood sausage taste like? Sweet?

  6. chefmel: Har! Are you from Kuching or not? πŸ˜‰
    We eat with dirtier plates. Haha!
    Anyway, this was at a street vendor so yeah I guess the standards of hygeine are lower. πŸ™‚
    fish fish: Oh! I realized a lot of Korean and Japanese food has the same heritage. I haven’t tried the other version. I like the blood sausage, it tastes good. Soft and bursts in your mouth. πŸ™‚

  7. man, what ever you are doing, you are doing it right. or you got a good airbrush artist for your pics, dorian grey. any ways, the second photo, with what looked like carrots, potatoes, unspecified meat, in a red, tomato based gravy puts me in the mind of brunswick stew sold around here in autumn. actually, it had squrel, rabbit, possom, deer, and whatever you could catch. the modern version call for chicken, shredded pork, and ground beef. cooked low and slow, outside, over a fire, with tomatoes, lima beans, corn, taters, rice and local seasonings ( red pepper and salt, sage, basil). that looks good. thanks, HB,but now you put me in the mood for some. guess we will have to make our own. hope you are well. I would say happy halloween, but half my family are stick up their a– southern babtists. thank god the other half methodists. happy halloween. but you must rememer guy fox day, also, if you do that… humm… remember, remember the first of november, gunpowder treason and…. oh what the hell… happy halloween hope you have a nice time, just be careful, bwuhaaaa… tom

  8. i have no idea what Tteokbokki contains, but it cant be worse than ” potted meat” – lips and butholes, and lungs ( goes good on crackers), souse meat ( ground up snout, ears, cheeks, red pepper in gelitain base from the boiled skull of the pig, congelled into a loaf; liver mush( pig liver mashed and cooked with onions and corn meal, pressed into a loaf, then sliced and fried; chitlins, ( boiled or fried hog intestines); tripe, (cow stomachs) or my favorite– ta da– hagis- a sheep’s lungs, liver, and heart, stewed and mixed with oats, onions and garlic, then stuffed into its own bladder and boiled or baked. no wonder you drink it with a wee bit o scotts whiskey. hell, I have to drink half a fith before i taste the first bit. But much of it comes from the idea that if you kill an animal, you dont waste nothing. at all. ever. it is an insult to the animal that sutains you, and just generally bad karma, or luck. plus you cannot afford to be wasteful. matters not if you live in the artic or dessert. tom

  9. Tried Tteokbokki before when I was in Korea. Not bad actually, best eaten on a cold winter night. Keeps you warm!
    And wow! Ada ah moi cantik as well!

  10. jg: My favorite Korean food, hands down, is bulgogi. They do it VERY WELL over there, will post about it soon. Their bulgogi restaurants are much better than ours. =D
    Dylan: Haha! Sure, no problem. Up for some “wild eats” e.g. game meat? πŸ™‚
    eldy: Heh! Well, I wouldn’t say easy la due to the communication problems but not that diffucult too. I was there for work though so I didn’t have a change to talk to people. πŸ™‚
    tom: Cheers my friend! πŸ™‚
    I don’t have an airbrush artist, all I do is resize my photos. I’m not even good in Photoshop, I need to get a designer friend to do the more complicated ones.
    By complicated I mean stuff like speech bubbles. :S
    Have a good Halloween my friend! Caught the Simpsons Halloween episode last night.
    Take care and have fun! πŸ™‚
    Lyn: It’s surprisingly good! I swear it’s one of the best things I’ve tasted (besides bulgogi and Alaskan King Crab) in Korea. πŸ™‚
    …: Sure thing mate! I’ll give holler when I’m in Kuching. πŸ™‚
    Marlboro Guy: Yeah, it’s pretty good stuff eh? πŸ™‚
    Haha! Ya, I thought she was Korean with an amazing command of English (coz most of them don’t) but she’s a Malaysian student studying in Seoul. She’s just down for the Pusan International Film Festival. πŸ™‚

  11. Hey there, my friend just showed me this post. I didn’t know you are a blogger then! Very surprised and honored to be featured in your blog. =D
    I’m glad to meet some fellow Malaysians in Korea too.
    Anyway, it’s good to see you have a great time in Korea.

  12. Kai Xin: Hello there! You’re the girl in the photo? Small world eh?
    Ya, I didn’t mention I was a blogger coz I was there for work. Heh!
    It’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for translating that day. πŸ™‚
    The Koreans in Busan didn’t really understand English. T_T
    Anyway, sent you an email. Cheers! =D
    cwei: OMG! What a small world eh? It’s amazing! πŸ™‚

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