Ddeok - the food of the gods. Also called tteok and 떡. Ddeok can be categorized in a number of ways. There is:
- 1) Everyday traditional ddeok. There are regional variations. Also included is ddeokguk ddeok ([for rice cake soup]) and ddeokbokki ddeok (for ddeokbokki). The ddeokbokki ddeok is sometimes found made from wheat nowadays - this inferior but less expensive variety has a yellowish color.
- 2) Ceremonial ddeok. This is used for weddings and such and takes many colorful forms. The more ornate creations can cost considerable money.
- 3) Contemporary ddeok. Some people are trying to update ddeok's image. This is currently found mostly in a few shops in larger cities.
- 4) Ddeok cookies. Sometimes sold where other types of ddeok are not. These puffy lozenge-shaped items are usually coated with something (sesame seeds, coconut, etc) Some are flavored with ginseng.
Ddeok is also categorized by method of preparation:
- 1) boiled
- 2) steamed
- 3) pounded, and
- 4) fried
Rice is the basic ingredient of ddeok, but among other ingredients sometimes used with ddeok will be found bean flour, bean paste, barley flour, millet, potatos, and buckwheat. Ddeok often contains sugar in varying amounts. For flavour or for ornamentation mugwort, beans, raisins,chinese dates, sesame and other seeds, or chestnuts may be used.
Where to buy ddeok: Some specific places are noted below. But ddeok can be generally found in these places:
- Supermarkets - for ddeokguk ddeok and ddeokbokki ddeok.
- Department Stores - for the fancy as well as the everyday ddeok. You'll pay more here....
- Public markets (shijangs) - Most markets of any size will have several places selling ddeok. Many, but not all, go for around 2000 won a package.
- Ddeok Jips (rice cake houses) - shops that make ddeok. Some of these retail ddeok at their site, some don't
- Rice Cake Streets - in Seoul and Daegu (anywhere else?)
- Seoul subway system - Some subway stations have shops selling smallish packages of ddeok for 1000 won apiece.
Tteok and Kitchen Utensil Museum, 164-2 Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-360. Tel. 82.2.741.6521. This place has utensils on the second floor and ddeok on the third floor. Connected with it is:
Jilsiru Rice Cake Cafe. #1F,164-2,Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul-shi 110-3. Tel: (02) 741-0258/Fax: (02) 741-5415. Another of these cafes is in Insadong. Try the ddeok lunch for 5,000 won - a ddeok sandwich and several pieces of ddeok in different forms.
Ddeok Street in Seoul is just north of the Nakwon Arcade, north of Tapgol Park. They charge 3000 won though for your basic ddeok - You can get it for 2000 at Dongdaemun Market and someone inside the turnstyles at Jongno-sam-ga has small packages of ddeok for 1000 won.
Siru in Kyeongju. Ornate cakes made of ddeok, gift boxes, squares of ddeok inlayed with flowers. Next to the juk restaurant. Tel: 054 744-9927.  Also branches in Pusan, Jinju, Changwon, Gumi, Daegu, Andong, Kimhae, Cheongju, Chungju, Cheonam, Hwaseong, Seoul, Pucheon....
Uri Ddeokbang a ddeokjip in Samcheok - a nice presentation for their products and tastier than average. (033) 574-1211 (ground line); 016-346-2109 (cell). 104-2 Namyang-dong, Samcheok, Gangwon-do.
The Tteok and Kitchen Utensil Museum had a display with a number of traditional sayings about ddeok. Here are just a few:
How lucky I am to have ddeok unexpectedly in the dark of night.
Unable to eat ddeok, you are inclined to spoil it with a stick for no purpose. (There's the dog-in-a-manger effect...)
Just watch and have a piece of ddeok without interfering.
Our partnershipis destined and tight like barley-ddeok in the starving season.
Spring ddeok is welcome even by a dieting hermit.
--Skookum 13:21, 9 Sep 2005 (UTC)