Korean food is still top of the (K) Pops in Doha and the world (soft power anyone?) but it can be new territory for some people. What is Tteokbokki (aka topokki)? Where to find stir fried Korean rice cakes in Doha. the first in my series of where to find some of the best dishes from around the world right here in Doha.
The Dish: Tteokbokki
Translation: Spicy stir-fried rice cakes
What is it exactly?
These chewy cylindrical rice cakes are the ultimate Korean street food. They are stir-fried in a spicy sauce made of gochujang chili paste, soy sauce, gochugaru chili flakes, garlic, and a little sugar. So basically, a LOT of chili. Gochujang gets its umami flavor from fermented soybean paste which gives this dish both its kick and its savory goodness. They are steamed and often mixed with thinly-sliced fried fish cakes, green onions, and sesame seeds. Or anything really!
Eaten by royalty, pop royalty and the foodie on the street, it’s one of Korea’s most famous foods. The texture may take a bit to get used to, but ease yourself in.
The history of Tteokbokki
Tteokbokki, now a humble street food, actually has a royal lineage, tracing its origins back to the court of the Joseon Dynasty where it as used as a cure-all for a range of ailments. The spicy take on tteokbokki is generally thought to have a more recent origin. Developed in 1953, the year the Korean war ended, the spicy recipe apparently traced back to a woman in Seoul who made the rice cakes with spicy gochujang sauce as an affordable street snack.
Fun fact, you will also see it written as Topokki, the Korean government adapted the name for an international audience.
Where to find stir fried Korean rice cakes in Doha?
As I mentioned, Korean food is still as popular as BTS so there are a range of place you can find it here. and luckily for foodies, K Food is as reasonably priced as it is delicious:
- Yee Hwa is the OG of Korean food in Doha and always a crowd pleaser. Their Haemul (seafood) tteokbokki is rich and spicy and QR60 and the standard tteokbokki is QR60.
- Yee Hwa and Qokio is the Muaither-based baby sister of Yee Hwa and has street food style rice cakes on a skewer, five in a serve, for QR5. You can choose to amp up the flavor more with soy garlic sauce or other options. And yes, it’s a very reasonable QR9 per serve.
- Tofu House has two branches and offers tteokbokki in a spicy sauce for QR25.
- You guys know I blanch at the word “authentic”, but the unassuming Sol restaurant in bin Mahmoud is pretty bang on the money. They have more than 40 dishes on the menu including our rice cakes.
- KKum, a recent find of mine in Al Sadd, their tteokbokki comes in a huge steaming bowl, the slippery rice cakes bathed in a spicy sauce with veggies ad a boiled egg for QR25 for the small version. If you are looking for the ultimate comfort food, ask for mozzarella on top (extra QR15) – it’s a gloriously cheesy mess.
If you are in Korea…
Sindang-dong Tteokbokki Town is Seoul’s most famous spot to get tteokbokki. The area is the home of the modern iteration of the dish and a must visit for any foodie.
Can I make my own?
Thanks for playing along! Is there a dish you want me to take a deep dive into? Drop me a comment below.
For other posts and dining options for all budgets: