Ddeokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)

Seoul Travel Guides / November 14, 2016
Ddeokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes) Image credit: Abigail Becker

Ddeokbokki, or Korean spicy rice cakes, are among the most common street food items in Seoul.

Characterized by a thick, fiery red sauce, these chewy pillows of rice are not for the faint of heart. The assault of flavors starts with a subtle introduction that grows into a full-blown explosion of spices. As you chew along, you wonder if it’s a tad bit too spicy to handle, but then it’s too late because you find yourself already addicted to ddeokbokki.

Ddeokbokki nowadays are commonly prepared by smothering the rice cakes in red sauce but there are still food stalls that prepare it the traditional way – stir fried in a wok and topped with a heaping of chili flakes.

Here are the best places to have ddeokbokki in Seoul.

  • TONG-IN MARKET | Jongno-gu
    For old-fashioned ddeokbokki at cheap prices
    What to order: Ddeokbokki, Dumplings, Mayak Gimbap
    Price range: 300 to 1,000 won ($0.26 to $0.86)
    When: 09:00 – 18:00 Monday – Friday; 09:00 – 13:00 Saturday
    Where: 10-3 Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
    For extremely spicy ddeokbokki that is perfect for sadists
    What to order: Ddeokbokki, Steamed Egg, Chicken Feet
    Price range: 3,000 to 14,000 Won ($2.59 to $12.10)
    When: 10:00 – 18:00 Daily
    Where: 117-9 Hongin-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
    For having ddeokbokki in a different style: Soup ddeokbokki
    What to order: Ddeokbokki, Fried Shrimp, Local Beer
    Price range: 3,000 to 9,500 Won ($2.59 to $8.21)
    When: 09:00 – 18:00 Daily
    Where: 404-29 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
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