Ttok (rice cake) is a distinctive staple food of the Korean nation. Any of the Korean people likes to eat it.
It is made by kneading and boiling rice flour or by pounding steamed rice. It was made for birthday and wedding ceremonies and memorial services and for honoured guests.
On the lunar New Year’s Day, the Korean people mainly ate chalttok (glutinous rice cake), solgittok (steamed rice cake) and huinttok (white rice cake).
The scene of men lively pounding steamed rice and women helping them was quite spectacular.
Chalttok is regarded as a food good for treating stomach troubles and effective for health improvement. And it doesn’t become hard for its stickiness. So, it was said that if the food was toasted a few days later and spread with honey it was peerlessly tasty.
Well-known was chalttok of the Yonbaek (Yonan and Paechon) region in Hwanghae Province, and it was characterized by being spread with bean flour.
Solgittok is made by kneading sparsely and steaming rice flour. It is also called siruttok.
It is said that such rice cake of Palhae, which made a reputation as Haedongsongguk, or a “thriving country in the East”, from the seventh century to the tenth, was famous.
The food is mainly made with flour of white rice, glutinous rice, hulled millet or kaoliang. And it is spread with red bean, soybean, sesame and mung bean flour.
The best of the food was that of the Kaesong region, the one made by steaming white glutinous rice flour mixed with black soybean, jujube, chestnut, honey, cinnamon powder, etc.
And it is said that muusolgittok (sweet rice bread with radish slices) of the Sinwon region in Hwanghae Province was so tasty that visitors to the region never left it without eating the food.
Huinttok (white rice cake), one of such foods eaten on the lunar New Year’s Day, is made by steaming and pounding white rice flour kneaded with boiling water. And it is usually stuffed or spread with nothing.
The food includes jolphyon (fancy rice cake), karaettok (bar rice cake), kkorittok (tail-shaped rice cake), etc.
The Korean people still make and eat ttok on different occasions.