Korean Language Blog

Korean Desserts for the Holidays Posted by on Dec 19, 2008 in Uncategorized

I should preface this blog post by mentioning that not all Koreans celebrate Christmas.  Some Koreans happen to be Buddhists and so Christmas isn’t really a holiday that they can identify with.  Some Koreans are Christians, but they tend to observe Christmas in a low key fashion.  For example, on Christmas Eve some Christian Koreans may start a prayer marathon that lasts until midnight.  Some exchange presents and decorate their house with a tree and some don’t, it really depends upon the person.  In regards to gift giving, that also depends upon the person.  Sometimes Koreans may give money as a present, instead of an actual gift.  If you feel uncomfortable about giving money, you can also give a gift certificate as well.  To be honest, sometimes I prefer getting money as a present, because I haven’t always liked the gifts I’ve gotten.  I guess it’s the thought that counts…

Well if you don’t want to give money you can always make gifts that come from the heart that everyone will enjoy.  Hankwa (한과) is a general term for Korean sweets.  Here are some dessert ideas that will please your Korean friends:

1) Yakgwa (약과) is made by kneading some wheat flour and frying it in honey and seasame oil.  Sometimes instead of wheat flour rice flour is used.  Also, in place of honey, rice wine can also be used as well.  Yakgwa (약과) is brown in color and is made in the mold of a flower.  These cookie like sweets can get stale very quickly, so make sure they’re refrigerated properly.  As for taste, I would say they taste close to what I feel ginger snap cookies taste like.

2) Sukshilkwa (숙실과) is made by boiling some fruits, ginger, and pine nuts in water mixed with honey.  You can add chestnuts as well.  Sukshilkwa (숙실과) come in a variety of colors.  Some are tannish, some are blackish, some are white, etc.  As for taste, it really depends on the ingreedients.  If you add in lots of sugar and honey, it has a tendency to be sweeter.

3) Jungkwa (정과) is made by boiling either fruits or plant roots in honey and some mulyot (물엿) or Korean liquid candy.  It’s soft like jello.  You can pretty much put anything in jungkwa (정과) including carrots, ginseng, melons, sweet potatoes, etc.  Food coloring is optional.  It tastes like American jello, but less sweeter.

By the way, you don’t have to make these by hand.  You can find these goodies at your local Korean grocery store.  It’s a good time to start trying something new.  Who knows, you might actually grow to like Korean sweets!

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  1. sim peng sin:

    i wish to keep up and improve my Korean language after coming back to Singapore!
    i am looking for Korean language exchange in Singapore…

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    I did like your website and as a Korean culture lover, I like to keep continue to check your website with some useful knowledges.

  3. geon heo:

    Very good information. Keep up the good work.

  4. muhammad saleem:

    i really desirous to learn korean language…

  5. Addy:

    Indian food in Korean style..with Beer and Wine….
    Anyhow i am interesting in learning korean but i dont have enough time.. If somebody want to arrange any party or meeting on my restaurant i can speak english well not very well but not bad…… I can understand you …


    I will visit my church at Jeju in the easter holidays but i will like to study the korean leguggies kindly help me to find any collage that offer korea lenguger.

  7. Fitri MS:

    Rain bi is my inspiration. And So on with korea.
    I really want to come there….

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  8. jessie:

    I love everything about Korea. Food, language, country, people, movies,
    you name it I love everything abt. Korea. Was taking Korean language lessons,
    but had to stop after Elementary 2 because of work committment . you see if
    you miss 5 lessons, you can sit for the test but without getting a certificate and
    the course is not cheap also.. cost abt S$500 per stage. Now I am learning on
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    so that i can converse fluently and be understood.