What is Chapsaltteok Rice Cake?
The easiest way to describe Chapsaltteok rice cake, a Korean dessert staple, is as the Korean version of Japanese mochi. They come in different colors and sizes that you can see at rice cakes shops and bakeries all over Korea. But the classic one is just white chapsaltteok filled with red bean paste.
Chapsaltteok is a very sticky kind of sweet rice cake.It sticks to your hands so easily when you try to eat it that it needs an extra coating of flour around it so that you can hold it.
But also, for many Koreans chapsaltteok is something you should eat right before taking a difficult exam. Eating it gives you the luck you need to get extraordinary results. But do you know what’s behind this myth?
Orgins of the Chapsaltteok Rice Cake Charm
Some people say the meaning behind these rice cakes comes from the time and hard work it takes to prepare. As with preparing for a difficult exam, you have to put all your effort and energy into it. Just like those who make chapsaltteok, students should remain focused until the end.
But, even more people agree on the idea that the chapsaltteok’s charm actually comes from its stickiness. Hopefully, in just the same way rice cake easily sticks everywhere else, information can stick in student’s memories.
The meaning may also have to do with the name of this rice carke itself. In Korean, the word for paaing an exam is 합격하다 (hapkyokhada). But, it is also common to say 붙이다 (buchida) which means “to stick”. Which is the first word you would use to describe chapsaltteok!
Whatever the reason, it is now customary to give students chapsaltteok when you know they are preparing for an exam. It is very popular for moms and aunties to buy some chapsaltteok for their kids during exam season.
Where to Find Chapsaltteok
Chapsaltteok It is actually pretty easy to find. If you look around a Korean traditional market any place with the word 떡 (tteok) on the sign will have them. In small commercial areas it is also common to find local rice cake shops. And even at super markets you can see chapsaltteok at the bakery.
One of my favorite Korean snacks ever is actually made of chapsaltteok. Rice Cake Pie is the brand name for this little chapsaltteok covered in chocolate.
It’s definitely a Korean snack you should try if you ever come across it. It is pretty easy to find it at convenience stores and supermarkets as it is distributed by Lotte, one of the biggest companies in Korea.
Now that you know all about this yummy treat’s luck giving properties, go get some chapsaltteok before your next exam!