[Oraegage] Chuseok Food
See & Do Tours
A season of blue skies and fattened livestock, autumn is upon us. And there’s more than plenty of food to go around, just in time for the approaching Chuseok. A period of feasting which brings to mind the sweet tasting songpyeon (half-moon rice cake) and the many other mouthwatering seasonal delicacies to accompany it, Chuseok is a time of harvest and family gatherings. Be sure to stop by and visit these Oraegage stores to prepare for the upcoming holidays.
Considered to be the oldest rice cake store in Korea, the origin of Nakwon Food goes back all the way to 1919. Even during the golden age of rice cakes, Nakwon Food was able to set itself apart from all the other rice cake stores in Nakwon Market. In fact, it was so famous that many of Korea’s past presidents were frequent regulars of this store. Every time there was an event happening at Cheongwadae, they would always go to Nakwon Food for their rice cakes. Even major companies sought out their rice cakes for special events and occasions. Their rice cake is highly addicting and rightly so, as this store was able to preserve the original flavor and texture of their rice cake for a very long time.
77 Jahamun-ro 40-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
In business for over 48 years, Dongyang Bangatgan sits quietly at the entrance to Buam-dong’s Baeksasil Valley. Its sharp, angular building is a great place to use as a reference point. Although they started this shop by taking out a loan, the owners of this shop were able to keep their business open to this day due to all their neighbors coming in regularly to buy rice cake at their store. Although it’s easier to make rice cakes nowadays due to better machinery and technology, this store continues to faithfully use its old but still powerful machine to pull out their garaetteok (long rice cakes) every morning at dawn.
20 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
For a store that has passed down three generations making rice cakes for royalty since 1949, Biwon Rice Cake looks like one of those small and modern rice cake cafes. A minimalist place embodying the simplistic beauty of Korean spaces, this store is modern, cozy, and seems like it would be a popular place among the younger crowds. However, this store has always been like this since it first opened its door. As a family business, all five member of the family wake up early everyday at 4 am to prepare the ingredients and make the rice cakes together. Looking at the rice cakes displayed in their cases, one can’t help but marvel at the enormous amount of effort that goes into making each and every one of their rice cakes.
88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
This is a store that’s been in the same spot at Gwangjang Market for 54 years and 2 months. Actually, before that, it used to sell its side dishes by the side of the streets so Sunhuine Banchan has been in existence much longer than that. As a store that’s been around for a long time, it has a great amount of regular customers. Recently, more and more foreign customers have come to buy their side dishes, too. In response to growing demands, they’ve started an overseas food delivery service as well. As a place where anyone can go to sample and buy everyday Korean side dishes like myeolchi bokkeum (stir-fried baby anchovies), shrimp paste, and gejang (marinated crab) at affordable prices, Sunhuine Banchan continues to hold a special place in the heart of many foreign visitors.
7 Dongho-ro 24-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Countless bakeries and franchises have come and gone over the last 70 years, but Taegeukdang has been the only store to have withstood the test of time. The key to its success lies in the fact that this bakery was able to pass on and preserve the flavors of the past. Its displays are filled with an assortment of bread which most young customers are not familiar with. Taegeukdang’s specialty is its “Monaka”. A scoop of ice cream encased in a shell of crisp wafers, Monaka was a very popular childhood snack in the past. Every time they come to this bakery, older customers say they feel as if they went back in time to their childhood. A phrase written on one side of the stairway clearly explains the reason why people keep coming back to this place. “Many things have changed, but we haven’t changed anything.”