● Snacks Ancestors Enjoyed
Nowadays, we can see many kinds of oil-and-honey pastries and kinds of pattern-pressed candies. In particular, Yakgwa was a precious snack among the oil and honey pastry in the Joseon Dynasty. Yakgwa is fried cookies made of wheat flour, honey and oil. It is not made of sugar, but grain syrup whose materials are corn, rice sorghum and millet. It was such a favorite snack from the Goryeo Dynasty to Joseon Dynasty that it was restricted in some periods of the Goryeo Dynasty. This is because for making Yakgwa, grain, honey and oil were almost used up, and it caused a rise in prices, making people’s lives troubled. Then we don’t have to talk about how tasty it was. Even now it also charms people in spite of its high calories.
Another representative snack in that period was Yeot (taffy). When you boil down this grain syrup, you can easily make Yeot. Surprisingly, we can often find Yeot in the pictures of the Joseon dynasty. Kim Hong-do, who was a painter of the late Joseon period, painted the traditional Korean wrestling, and in the left side of the picture there was white food in the wooden board. This white food was Yeot. It used to be a normal view that Yeot sellers made a cheerful sound with their big scissors, which were probably for cutting the Yeot. They believed that if a person ate Yeot on New Year's Day, then ringworm wouldn’t appear on his face. That's why in that season the sound of scissors from the Yeot sellers didn't stop at all. The sweet Yeot provides us energy very extremely, so it is a helpful snack to someone who suffered from stiffened muscles because of the malnutrition.
● Snack the Parents Ate
Whenever the school closed, students rushed out to this snack, called Dalgona. It is made of sugar and baking soda. The big feature of this snack is that eaters can make many kinds of figures using moulds. Children tried to make perfect figures. The more complicated the moulds were, the harder it was to succeed. It was sort of a game and obviously there was a prize for a winner. The prize was a giant sugar snack which was made of only sugar. Dalgona had a darker color than this prize snack because of the baking soda. Honestly, it was not a healthy snack at all, but in that time sugar was precious and it was hard to take sugar. Thus, it was loved by kids and even now some adults and children sometimes look for it because of the memory and its sweetness.
When you ask your parents about the winter snack in the night, they will recall sticky rice cake and buckwheat jelly sellers. You may not understand the combination of a sticky rice cake and buckwheat jelly. There are reasons why people eat them together. However, they are not the exact reasons. Some people say it’s because the sticky rice makes our mouth dry and buckwheat jelly makes it refreshed. Other people say that the sticky rice digests well and that buckwheat jelly is a low-calorie food. For that reason, these two things are really suitable to be a late-night snack, but it’s hard to find the sellers around us, these days.
● Snack Today
When we are tired and exhausted, we want to go out and eat some hot and warm Tteokbokki. Its ingredients are sticks of rounded rice cake, fish balls and red pepper paste. The charming part is the hot sauce. There are fish balls and sometimes boiled eggs inside the Tteokbokki. Every Korean knows that the fish balls in Tteokbokki have a better taste than plain fish balls. It appears not only in winter but also in other seasons, but it is best taken in the winter.
Now, let’s search deep inside about recent snacks in winter. When the winter comes and snow comes, you can see the roast sweet potato sellers who wear woolen hats and fur gloves. It’s very hard to resist the sweet smell of sweet potato, and you finally eat sweet potato blowing on a hot one. 20 years ago, people used to stock the sweet potato in the store and eat it during the winter.
However, the highlight of the winter snack is Bungeobbang and Hodduk. As we know, Bungeobbang is carp shape bread with bean jam filling inside. Nowadays, new fillings such as strawberries and cream have been developed to teenagers’ tastes. Hodduk should not be missed. It is a pancake with brown sugar filling from China, which the name ‘Ho’ was derived from. In the biting cold winter, the sweet and hot fillings of Bungeobbang and Hodduk are enough to keep out the cold.
Korean snacks are mostly sweet and hot, with a strong taste. The snacks didn’t appear suddenly. They changed their forms and taste slowly as time passed and captured modern people’s taste buds. The unchanged taste of snacks is the sweetness. Probably many people love the sweetness of snacks. What is the next generation’s snack which will please us?
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