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Korean food brings me back to my two week trip to South Korea; I traveled with a friend while I was working in Japan. Tickets either by plane or boat are rather cheap so it was the perfect trip for a foreigner living in Japan. If I’m remembering correctly I think I paid around $200 for a round-trip, so cheap! We traveled all around Seoul and got to see some sites just outside the city too – there is so much to see and try out that two weeks really was not enough. If someone offered me a job right now, I would have a large garage sale and rid my American collection of stuff for a chance to explore the country once again. Not only are there millions of tourist sites to explore but ethnic foods to try out too – such as dukboki.

Dukboki is a kiosk-style of food that is commonly sold at bars and alongside South Korean streets. It is considered by many to be a noodle dish since it usually is seen having 2-inch long tubular noodles but I hate to break it to you, it’s made from rice. Noodles from Italy are traditionally made from wheat or some form of it such as semolina. These noodles are extremely chewy, almost like taffy minus the sweetness. Alone it does not have much taste but along with the red pepper paste sauce, it makes a perfect creamy, spicy red sauce that is irresistible.

If you have tried dukboki or not, you will love this veganized recipe. It is perfect for cold nights and/or drinking a nice glass of soju or bottle of beer. It’s an everyday food that isn’t biased on someone’s social class. The ingredients are hard to come by in smaller towns however if you can find the ingredients in your local Asian food market or online, I highly suggest you trying this recipe. I have veganized this recipe from Maangchi. We used to eat the original recipe before going vegan but now we have modernized it for our lifestyle change and couldn’t be happier.

½ pkg Tube shaped rice cake called dukboki (about 300 grams)
4-6 tbsp Hot Pepper Paste
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Hot Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
3c Water
1c Vegetable Broth
7 Green onions

1. Separate the tubes of rice cake into individual pieces.
2. In a pan, add the water and the rice cakes, hot pepper paste, sugar, and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Constantly stir, otherwise it will burn on the bottom of the pan. Once it hits a hard boil, turn down to a simmer and keep it that way for about 10-15 minutes.
4. Cut the green onions into 2 inch pieces and add to the pan.
5. Keep stirring until the sauce is nice and thick. The red sauce will slowly roll off the spoon like a thick pudding. It will thicken slightly as it cools down a llittle.
6. If you are like me, you can eat it right out of the pan like my husband and me or transfer to a bowl to serve. Enjoy!

Here is the Korean Rice Noodle/Cake:

Here is the Korean Red Pepper Paste:

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