4.092 Myeong-Dong-Style Ddeokbokki

-Cycle 4, Item 92-
7 (Sun) April 2013

Myeong-Dong-Style Ddeokbokki


at Gomone Ddeokbokki

-Myeong-Dong, Seoul-

with Wife and Dominic

Whereas ddeokbokki (떡볶기) tends to be pretty much the same dish wherever it's served throughout the country (see generally 1.161 Sundae in Ddeokbokki Sauce), the style found along the streets of Myeong-Dong is a bit different.  First, the cakes consist predominantly/exclusively of actual rice, making them soft/squishy, as opposed to the mixture of mostly/all flour that's the norm for ddeokbokki cakes, which tend to be firm/chewy.  The cakes are also thicker, like fat thumbs rather than slim pinkies.  For both those reasons, each bite provides a much fuller mouthfeel.  Second, more significantly, the sauce is... I don't know what exactly... distinct... in a very subtle way... the only descriptor that comes to mind is "dry," meaning that it's less sweet, less spicy... yet perhaps intenser in flavor.  Technically, as far as I'm aware, "Myeong-Dong-Style Ddeokbokki" isn't a recognized variation of the dish; I've never heard/seen it referred to as such.  Nevertheless, from street carts to alley stalls, every vendor in the neighborhood seems to do it in this manner, while nobody anywhere else does.  When I asked the proprietor of my favorite street cart in Oksu-Dong (see generally 3.164 The Trinity), she theorized that, because the immense sales volume wouldn't allow time for preparing sauce from scratch for each new batch, they all rely on pre-made sauce, probably acquired at the nearby Namdaemun Market from a handful of supply stores who get the same product from the same factory; she didn't have an explanation for the rice-heavy cakes.

As I get older, I'm finding myself drawn to the ddeokbokki in Myeong-Dong.   

Not a mobile street cart but a fixed alley stall with a greater variety of goodies.


  1. Oh goodness, how happy I am that someone on Twitter shared your blog. Seeing this post (particularly the last photo) brought back so many memories of my childhood in Seoul in the 1980s. There were many times my friends and I would run to the street markets after school and head straight to the ddeokbokki huts for a little baggie of ddeokbokki, some yaki mandu, and a couple pieces of kimbap...all for 400 won. Man, those were the days. :) Great memories. Of course there are many Korean restaurants here in the USA, but nothing compares to the real deal in Korea. Thanks for sharing these pictures!

  2. someone shared this blog on twitter??? after 4 years, it's finally taking off!!

    400 won for so much food, that must've been early 80s! by the late 80s, the standard price for any given dish at street carts near schools was 500 won, though some places would allow a "half" order for 300 won.

    anyway, thanks for reading!