Top 8 Must Try Korean Desserts

Top 8 Must Try Korean Desserts: When you think of Korean cuisine, your mind might dart straight to kimchi, bibimbap, and Korean BBQ. But have you dived into the sweet side of Korean food? Korean desserts are not only delicious but also offer a unique glimpse into the country’s rich culinary traditions. From traditional to trendy, here are eight Korean desserts that you simply must try!

The Sweet Side of Korea

A Taste of Korean Tradition

Korean desserts often incorporate ingredients like rice flour, beans, and sweet potatoes, reflecting the agricultural heritage of the country. These desserts are not just treats but also a part of Korea’s cultural and festive celebrations.

Bingsu – The Ultimate Shaved Ice

What is Bingsu?

A Cool Delight

Bingsu is a popular Korean shaved ice dessert, famous for its light, fluffy ice shavings and various toppings. Originally, it was simply ice shavings with sweet red bean paste, but today’s bingsu comes in an array of flavors like mango, matcha, and even cheesecake!

Why Try Bingsu?

Beyond Refreshing

Imagine cooling down on a hot day with a bowl of ultra-fine ice shavings sweetened with condensed milk, then topped with fresh fruits and maybe a scoop of ice cream. It’s the perfect refreshment!

Hotteok – Sweet Korean Pancake

The Comforting Sweet

What’s Inside?

Hotteok is a sweet, syrupy pancake filled with a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and chopped nuts. It’s pan-fried to golden perfection, creating a crispy outside with a gooey, sweet inside.

Where to Find Hotteok

A Street Food Favorite

Typically found at street stalls during winter, hotteok is best enjoyed fresh off the griddle. Its warmth and sweetness make it the perfect snack to ward off the chill.

Tteok – Korean Rice Cakes

A Staple in Korean Dessert

The Many Varieties of Tteok

Tteok is a category of Korean rice cakes made from steamed flour made of various grains, including glutinous or non-glutinous rice. Whether served as a dessert or during celebrations, tteok comes in many forms, from the simple to the elaborate.

Tteok for Special Occasions

Not Just a Dessert

In Korea, tteok is not just eaten as a dessert but is also a part of important festivities like birthdays and weddings, symbolizing good fortune and prosperity.

Yakgwa – A Traditional Honey Cookie

Deep-Fried Sweetness

The Unique Preparation

Yakgwa is a traditional Korean cookie made from wheat flour, honey, ginger juice, and sesame oil, deep-fried and soaked in a honey syrup. It’s delightfully crunchy yet melts in your mouth.

Why Yakgwa is Special

A Taste of History

Originally served in royal Korean courts, yakgwa is a window into the luxurious past of Korean royalty. Its rich flavors are a testament to the sophisticated palate of ancient Korean nobles.

Patbingsu – Red Bean Shaved Ice

A Classic Korean Treat

The Original Bingsu

Before the myriad of modern flavors, there was patbingsu, consisting of shaved ice topped with sweet azuki red bean paste. It’s a simpler, yet profoundly satisfying dessert that offers a taste of traditional Korean sweets.

Enjoying Patbingsu

More Than Just Beans

Often, patbingsu is also garnished with pieces of rice cake, fruit, and sometimes even ice cream, making it a versatile dessert that combines various textures and flavors.

Chapsal Donut – A Sweet Glutinous Treat

Chewy and Sweet

What Makes it Unique?

Chapsal donuts are chewy donuts made from glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet red bean paste. They are coated with sugar for an extra layer of sweetness.

Best Way to Enjoy Chapsal Donuts

A Perfect Pair

These donuts are best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee, where the beverage’s bitterness complements the sweet, sticky texture of the donut.

Gyeongju Bread – A Symbol of Gyeongju City

Packed with Flavor

What’s Inside?

This small pastry is filled with a mixture of red bean paste and nuts, offering a sweet, nutty flavor encased in a light, spongy bread.

A Must-Try Regional Specialty

Why It Stands Out

Gyeongju bread’s unique combination of textures and flavors makes it a beloved souvenir for those visiting Gyeongju, showcasing the local culinary craftsmanship.


Diving into Korean desserts offers more than just a taste sensation; it’s a journey through Korea’s rich history and cultural traditions. Each dessert tells a story, whether it’s a street vendor’s hotteok on a cold day or the elegant simplicity of a bingsu on a summer afternoon. So, why not treat your taste buds to these delightful Korean desserts and experience a sweet slice of Korean culture?

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