4.092 Ddeokbokki

Cycle 4 – Item 92

7 (Sun) April 2013



at Gomone Ddeokbokki

-Myeong, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W + DJ

Whereas ddeokbokki tends to be pretty much the same dish wherever it’s served throughout the country, the style found along the streets of Myeong-Dong is a bit different.  First, the cakes consist predominantly/exclusively of actual rice, making them soft/squishy, as opposed to the mixture of mostly/all flour that’s the norm for ddeokbokki cakes, which tend to be firm/chewy.  The cakes are also thicker, like fat thumbs rather than slim pinkies.  For both those reasons, each bite provides a much fuller mouthfeel.  Second, more significantly, the sauce is … I don’t know what exactly … distinct … in a very subtle way … the only descriptor that comes to mind is “dry,” meaning that it’s less sweet, less spicy … yet perhaps ore intense in flavor.  Technically, as far as I’m aware, “Myeong-Dong-Style Ddeokbokki” isn’t a recognized variation of the dish.  Nevertheless, from street carts to alley stalls, every vendor in the neighborhood seems to do it in this manner, while nobody anywhere else does.

When I asked the proprietor of my favorite street cart in Oksu-Dong, she theorized that, because the immense sales volume wouldn’t allow time for preparing sauce from scratch for each new batch, they all rely on pre-made sauce, probably acquired at the nearby Namdaemun Market from a handful of supply stores who get the same product from the same factory; she didn’t have an explanation for the rice-heavy cakes.

As I get older, I’m finding myself drawn to the ddeokbokki in Myeong-Dong.



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