Whenever we travel to other countries, like South Korea, trying different local cuisines is definitely on our itineraries. But because of the current restrictions, we can only imagine ourselves in the streets of Myeongdong where every corner is filled with Korean food. Good thing we have a lot of online stores now in Manila that offers some of our fave Korean dishes! So far, we've discovered where to buy gimbap, hotteok, and Korean corn dog—now we're adding another item to our list and it's Korean rice cakes.
Before we proceed to your *next* Korean food purchase, here's something you need to know about Korean rice cakes: Also known as tteok, this is a staple food in South Korea and it's part of Korean culture to include them on the dining table when there's something special to celebrate. You would often see this scenario in K-dramas, like in When The Camellia Blooms where Dong Baek gave a plate of Korean rice cakes to her neighbor. Not to be confused with the savory tteokbokki—Korean rice cakes are sticky, sweet, and equally satisfying!
Here in Manila, you can get a taste of authentic tteok from Busan Kitchen, a home kitchen operated by a Filipina named Andi and her partner, the Busan-born and raised Daniel Kim. I swear, these rice cakes are REALLY like the ones sold in SoKor! My heart was so happy when I tried them and it felt like I was back in the Land of the Morning Calm.
In an exclusive interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, the couple shared that they enjoy serving Korean dishes to their Pinoy and Korean chingus (friends) who would often visit them pre-pandemic—Daniel has a passion for cooking while Andi loves welcoming guests. When the lockdown happened, their friends started asking them to send over their specialties to their homes. Soon they received more requests, and to cater to these, they established Busan Kitchen.
Aside from using authentic Korean ingredients and the Busan cooking process, the brand's name has another fun meaning behind it: "Due to the popularity of the movie Train to Busan, our friends would often joke about the possibility that actual zombies are in Busan. The joke simply gave us the idea to choose Busan as the prefix of our home kitchen. Plus, it's Daniel's hometown." Fun fact: Since they're fans of zombies, they sometimes change their brand logo to a ~zombie-fied~ version!
Busan Kitchen offers tteok every weekend and they actually have an ahjumma (Korean aunt) that helps them in making it! They're cooked right before delivery so you're assured that your order is fresh and warm when they arrive. Right now, they have 13 Korean rice cake varieties to choose from: Injeolmi, mochi with red bean filling, kultteok with honey filling, songpyeon, hobak maritteok, suk injeolmi, baramtteok, yaksik, mositteok, kong chaltteok, angkotteok, sirutteok, and baeksulki.
Apart from Korean rice cakes, Busan Kitchen also has other mouthwatering Korean dishes on its menu. This includes japchae, bibimbap, tteokbokki, pajeon, jjajangmyeon, chapssal samgyetang, jaeyouk bokum, odeng, and gimbap. In short, you'll be able to satisfy all your Korean food k-ravings here!
Right now, Busan Kitchen only takes orders online, but they do hope to open a physical restaurant in the future. "We want to thank everyone for supporting Busan Kitchen, know that with your orders we strive to give back and serve our front liners and those in need as part of our responsibility. Neomu kamsahamnida yeurobeun (Thank you, everyone)! Fighting!", Andi shares.
Excited to try Busan Kitchen's Korean dishes? You can reach out to them via their Instagram account for more details on how you can order. Jalmeokgesseumnida!
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