Food Adventure in Korea – Our Second Week – Part Four

Tteok Museum - Wedding Fruit and Yakhwa Display

On this trip into Seoul, we visited the Rice Cake Museum (떡박물관) and Insadong (인사동). If you’re joining us now, you’ll see that Bunny and Kitty have been all over Seoul and the outer metropolitan areas. You’re welcome to come up to speed by checking out our previous posts on our food adventures in Korea!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

After arriving back at our aunt’s place, exhausted from Gyeongbokgung (경복궁) and Tongin Shijang (통인시장 – Tongin Market), we all turned in early. I was really looking forward to visiting the Rice Cake Museum! I had researched the location before going on our Korea trip, hoping the location would be close to a neighborhood we were planning on visiting. Sure enough, we discovered that it was close by to a few of the places on our itinerary, ideal for us to go to the museum in the morning, and spend the rest of the day in Insadong.

**Again, I want to share that I didn’t take my DSLR along, thinking that I would be okay with taking photos with my smart phone. The photos turned out alright, for the most part; however, they’re not of the best quality, so I apologize if they’re out of focus or blurry. And major credit to my sister, for taking a bunch of these photos! Plus, I’ve intentionally blurred people’s faces.**

Tteok Museum - Building
Here is the entrance to the Museum.
Tteok Museum - About the Museum
Description of Tteok (Rice Cake).
Tteok Museum - Regional Map
This is a regional map of what was/is the most commonly made rice cake in the area.
Tteok Museum - Stamps for Rice Cakes
19th Century rice cake stamps.
Tteok Museum - Seasonal
Rice cakes made during each of the seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
Tteok Museum - Assortment
An assortment of rice cakes displayed according to how they are made: steamed, boiled, pounded, and fried.
Tteok Museum - Closeup of a Few Rice Cakes
A close-up of a selection of rice cakes.
Tteok Museum - Mallet for Pounding Rice
Mallet that is used to pound rice.
Tteok Museum - Pot for Cooking Rice Cakes
Pots and vessels that were used to make rice cakes in the past.
Tteok Museum - Mill
How grains were milled.
Tteok Museum - Different Grains
Display of the grains used to make a variety of rice cakes.
Tteok Museum - Shop Varieties
A selection of rice cakes inside the museum shop.

We bought a few items in the shop to bring back to the house. Overall, it was a really nicely curated museum, with plenty to learn in the art of making rice cakes.

Our next stop was the neighborhood of Insadong. The last time we were here, my dad was awfully hungry. We didn’t have much time wandering this area because hungry equated to *hangry*. We walked up and down the main street and then went on our way to find dinner. This time around, we were able to visit the stores we wanted to see, enjoy the shopping, and check out the food. We definitely had Dad’s voice chiming in our heads (*Why is it taking so long? Don’t you want to see other stuff?*), especially when we were shopping inside one store for too long!

Insadong - Shops Around the Area
A collage of some things we saw along the way from the Museum: vintage porcelain, calligraphy brushes, and flower garlands around a shopping area.
Insadong - Main Street
A wide shot of the main street. Off to the left of this photo (not pictured) is a Maraş Dondurma Turkish ice cream shop. I had never tried dondurma before, but James did when he visited Turkey. We decided to get a scoop of strawberry, and it was so curiously chewy and delicious!
Insadong - Embroidery Store
We sat in front of this store and ate our ice cream, while my sister shopped inside.
Insadong - Stamp Kiosk
James and I got our name on stamps! We thought it would be a really cool souvenir to have something made.
Insadong - Jirisan Restaurant
We took a break in-between shopping and exploring to go eat at Jirisan. We decided to just have a basic meal of bibimbap (비빔밥) and soups. There was a friendly dog there too!
Insadong - Castella Shop
On our way back from the restaurant to the main street, we came upon a cheesetella shop! We got a giant slice of fluffy cheesetella to share.
Insadong - Starbucks
We thought we should take a requisite photo of a Starbucks on this street; Insadong Street is known for displaying all of their shopfronts in Korean characters, and Starbucks wasn’t an exception.
Tteok Museum - Rice Cake Pins
These are cute rice cake pins I got at the museum! A perfect memento for my trip there!
Insadong - Embroidered Thimble
My sister bought me this embroidered thimble at the shop in Insadong. It has pretty peaches embroidered on both sides. She knows me so well, I love peaches!
Insadong - Hand Carved Name Stamps
I found a bunny and kitty for our stamps! You can see what the stamps look like on the bookmarks.
Kyobo Bookstore - Traditional Rice Cake Books
In our previous Korea trip post, you’ll find that we went to the bookstore after wandering the Gyeongbokgung grounds. I got these two after looking through them and finding out that the recipes are more traditional. The one on the left is actually formatted like a school textbook. I thought that would be a good reference in creating my own recipes.
Kyobo Bookstore - Fancy Rice Cake Books
The two books above are fancy rice cake books, straying a little from tradition and having some fun with aesthetics. The rice cakes from the book on the left are absolutely beautiful.

I think this was one of my favorite days on our trip. I’ve always had an interest in making rice cakes, but didn’t know where to start. I had a general grasp of how to make rice cakes, remembering my grandmothers talking about making them; however, it took a trip to the Rice Cake Museum to give me that nudge to pursue making these traditional sweets. I hope to share some more rice cake recipes with you!

Next time, check us out as we visit the neighborhood of Hongdae, the city of Paju, the Chinatown in Incheon, and a quick bakery stop in Gangnam.

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