What Does Tteokbokki Taste Like? (Eat Chewing Truth!)


Tteokbokki, Korea’s most popular street food, is a must-try for K-pop fanatics and food enthusiasts. If you’ve ever wondered about the taste of those orangey tube-like snacks, we’re here to satisfy your curiosity. What does Tteokbokki taste like? Tteokbokki is chewy, fluffy, savory, sweet, and spicy.

It’s not for people who aren’t fans of spicy food, but we’ve got the perfect Tteokbokki hack to make it less spicy!

When you do, you’ll also learn about:

Are you ready to know more about this famous dish? If so, let’s get going!

img of what do tteokbokki taste like

What is Tteokbokki?

Tteok means rice cake, while bokki is the Korean term for stir-fried, so tteokbokki means stir-fried rice cake. This popular Korean snack features chewy rice cakes stir-fried in a vibrant red sauce.

Did You Know? Koreans have lots of names for tteokbokki. They also call it topokki, dukbokki, ddeokbokki, and ddukbokki. 

It has become an affordable and easy-to-prepare after-school snack or street food.

Today, it’s widely enjoyed by adults and children due to its versatility. Tteokbokki now comes in different flavors with various add-ins. Here are the options you can choose from:

  • Flavors: Cheese, Curry, Rose, Spicy, Seafood, Cream Sauce, and Jajang.
  • Toppings: Soft-boiled Eggs, Kimchi, Omelette Strips, Mushrooms, Scallions, Carrots, Bok Choy, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers.

“Tteokbokki’s popularity as a street food snack stems from its delicious combination of chewy rice cakes and bold flavors. It has become an iconic dish in Korean cuisine, loved by people of all ages for its affordability and ease of preparation.” – Chef Ji-hoon Kim, Korean 

Time PeriodMilestone
Late 19th CenturyOrigins of Tteokbokki as a simple street food snack
Mid-20th CenturyIntroduction of gochujang and transformation of Tteokbokki
1950sRise in popularity as an affordable street food option
1980sExpansion of flavors and addition of various ingredients
21st CenturyGlobal recognition of Tteokbokki in Korean cuisine
Present DayCulinary versatility and adaptation of Tteokbokki
img of how does tteokbokki taste

What Does Tteokbokki Taste Like?

Simply put, tteokbokki tastes like heaven for carbohydrate lovers out there. Let us describe this dish even better in the next few sentences.

On your first bite, you will notice the chewy and bouncy texture of the rice cakes. However, the rice cakes’ flavor is mild to even bland.

Here’s the exciting part: the taste of rice cakes is taken to a whole new level by the spicy, sweet, and savory sauce packed with umami.

Since the rice cakes soak up the sauce and absorb its flavor, you enjoy a rich, flavorful, and extra-chewy snack that can satisfy your tummy and taste buds.

Trivia: The chewiness of the rice cakes is similar to the texture of mochi or gnocchi.

Pro Tip: One great tip to change the rice cake’s texture is to sear it before adding the sauce. This simple trick can help add a crispy layer to it.

NutrientAmount per Serving (100g)
Total Fat2g
Saturated Fat0.5g
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrate30g
Dietary Fiber2g

“Tteokbokki offers a delightful balance of flavors with its chewy rice cakes and spicy, sweet, and savory sauce. The combination of textures and the umami-packed sauce make it a satisfying and addictive snack that captures the essence of Korean street food.” – Food Critic and Author, Anna Lee

RegionVariationUnique Twist
SeoulGungjung TteokbokkiA royal court version with a milder sauce, incorporating ingredients like soy sauce, beef, and vegetables.
BusanMilmyeon TteokbokkiCombines Tteokbokki with Busan’s famous milmyeon noodles, creating a unique fusion of flavors and textures.
JeonjuJeonju TteokbokkiKnown for its sweeter and spicier sauce, using gochujang with a hint of sweetness and additional toppings.
ChuncheonMakguksu TteokbokkiCombines Tteokbokki with Chuncheon’s signature makguksu noodles, creating a chewy and refreshing dish.
GwangjuMayak TteokbokkiFeatures bite-sized Tteokbokki coated in a addictively spicy and sweet sauce, often served as a street snack.
DaeguDaegu Kalguksu TteokbokkiIncorporates Tteokbokki with kalguksu (handmade knife-cut noodles), offering a unique combination of textures.

Is Tteokbokki Spicy?

This is the next popular question about tteokbokki. So here’s an honest answer: Tteokbokki is mildly spicy. It’s not the spiciest Korean dish out there, but it might be a bit spicy for people who aren’t used to spicy food.

If you’re one of them, we’ve got a surprise for you. We’ll share a simple hack on making Tteokbokki less spicy so you can enjoy its chewy texture and delicious taste minus the heat.

But before getting into that, let us look at how you can make Tteokbokki at home. 

How to Make Tteokbokki at Home?

Good news: preparing this dish will take only a few minutes! It involves only a few steps.

Step 1. Soak the rice cakes in warm water for approximately 10 minutes to soften them.

Do this for around 10 minutes. This simple step can help loosen up and soften the rice cakes so you can cook them faster.

Step 2. Prepare the sauce.

As you wait for the rice cakes to soften, take this time to prepare the dish’s sauce. For this, you will need the following ingredients:

Blend everything until you form a paste.

Step 3. Simmer the sauce and fishcakes together.

Add the sauce to the fish stock and let it simmer for a few minutes. After that, add the rice cakes to the resulting mixture and let it simmer. Continue cooking until the sauce becomes thick and sticky and the rice cakes are chewy and fluffy.

Mix the sauce and rice cakes well to ensure they are even coated.

Step 4. Top it off.

Once you’re done, transfer the dish to your serving platter and top it off with the toppings of your choice. We highly recommend adding toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

Tteokbokki Hack: 3 Ways to Make Tteokbokki Less Spicy

For those who are not fans of spicy dishes, try these Tteokbokki hacks: 

1. Use Mild Gochujang.

Remove or reduce the spicy ingredients if you don’t want a spicy Tteokbokki. We recommend skipping the gochugaru and using mild gochujang instead.

2. Top It Off With Shredded Cheese.

If you find your Tteokbokki to be a bit spicy, adding cheese is the simplest and most delicious way to tame its heat level.

Pro Tip: Mozzarella cheese goes well with Tteokbokki because it has the same chewy texture as rice cakes. This is because dairy products, like cheese, contain casein. (*) This fat-loving protein binds with and disperses the oil particles that generate heat.

3. Drizzle Sesame Oil On Top.

You can also use oil to counteract the heat of capsaicin. The best option would be sesame oil since it complements the different flavors of TTeokbokki.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Tteokbokki?

Let’s address a couple of common questions about Tteokbokki:

1. Is Tteokbokki vegan?

Unfortunately, Tteokbokki isn’t vegetarian. This is because it contains anchovy stock and, sometimes, eggs.

The good news is you can make this dish vegan with a few tweaks. For example, you can use vegetable stock instead of anchovy stock, tamari instead of soy sauce, and skip the honey.  

2. Is Ttteokbokki unhealthy?

Tteokbokki is rich in carbs and fats. However, it’s not considered intrinsically unhealthy since it depends on how much Tteokbokki you consume.

Pro Tip: To keep it healthy, avoid overeating this dish and consume only the amount within your daily carbohydrate limit.


What does Tteokbokki taste like? Tteokbokki is known for its chewy rice cakes and sweet, spicy, savory (and a bit fishy) sauce.

It can get a bit spicy since it contains gochugaru and gochujang. Fortunately, non-spicy lovers can easily counter its heat by adding grated cheese, using mild gochujang, and drizzling it with sesame oil.

So what are you waiting for? It’s about time that you give this delicious snack a try. We promise you’re in for a good treat!

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top