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The Best Korean Desserts And Where To Find Them

Do you have a sweet tooth for exotic desserts? Look no further than Korean desserts. From traditional rice cakes to modern twists on classic sweets, Korean desserts offer a unique and delicious experience that is sure to satisfy your cravings.

Korean desserts are often characterized by their use of natural ingredients like beans, grains, and fruits. They are not overly sweet but instead focus on the delicate balance of flavors. Whether you’re in Seoul, Busan, Jeju Island or even North America and Europe, there are plenty of places to indulge in these delectable treats. Get ready to discover the best Korean desserts and where to find them!

Traditional Rice Cakes

You’ll drool over the chewy goodness of traditional rice cakes, found at many Korean dessert shops. These delectable treats come in various rice cake variations, from plain to stuffed with sweet fillings like red bean paste or sesame seeds. The cultural significance of rice cakes in Korea dates back centuries as they were used for ceremonial occasions and special events. Today, they are still enjoyed as a favorite snack or dessert.

One popular type of rice cake is called tteokbokki, which is made from cylindrical-shaped white rice cakes served with spicy chili sauce. Another type is songpyeon, which is a half-moon shaped rice cake filled with sweet ingredients like honey or chestnuts. And let’s not forget about injeolmi, a toasted soybean powder-coated sticky rice cake that will satisfy any sweet tooth craving.

These traditional rice cakes offer a unique texture and flavor profile that you won’t find in other desserts. They are not overly sweet but provide just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy your cravings. Plus, their cultural significance adds an extra layer of appreciation when indulging in these tasty treats.

Now onto the next section about sweet pancakes and pastries! You can’t miss out on these mouth-watering delights either!

Sweet Pancakes and Pastries

Indulge in the mouthwatering flavors of Korean sweet pancakes and pastries, available at various locations throughout the city. These delectable desserts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each one more tempting than the last. From hotteok (sweet stuffed pancakes) to hoddeok (cinnamon-flavored pancakes), there are plenty of savory options for those with a sweet tooth.

What sets Korean sweets apart from other desserts is their use of unique ingredients. For example, some recipes call for mung bean flour or glutinous rice powder instead of traditional wheat flour. These ingredients give the pancakes and pastries a distinct texture that is both chewy and crispy at the same time.

One popular pastry is called bungeoppang, which translates to "carp bread."It’s made by filling a fish-shaped cake with red bean paste or custard cream. The exterior is crispy while the interior is soft and gooey. This treat has become so popular that you can now find it sold at street vendors all over Korea.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try some lesser-known varieties like yakgwa or jeonbokjuk (abalone porridge). Yakgwa are small honey cookies shaped like flowers that are coated in sesame seeds. Jeonbokjuk is a dessert porridge made from abalone, which may seem unusual but actually tastes deliciously sweet.

Korean sweet pancakes and pastries offer a wide range of flavors and textures that will satisfy any craving for something sugary. But if you’re looking for something even more unique, stay tuned for our next section on modern twists on classic sweets without missing out on your favorite treats!

Modern Twists on Classic Sweets

If you’re a fan of sweet treats with a modern twist, then you’ll love the latest trend in Korean desserts. Bingsu, Korean-style macarons, and soft serve ice cream are just a few examples of classic sweets that have been given a contemporary makeover. These desserts are not only visually stunning but also offer a unique flavor profile that will tantalize your taste buds. Don’t miss out on the chance to try these innovative creations!


Get ready to taste the most refreshing dessert in Korea – bingsu! This shaved ice dessert has been a staple in Korean culture for years and is loved by locals and tourists alike. Bingsu comes in many variations, but the traditional version consists of shaved ice topped with sweetened condensed milk, red bean paste, and fruit.

To make your bingsu experience even more delicious, try adding some of these best bingsu toppings:

  • Fresh fruit: Whether it’s strawberries, mangoes or kiwis, fresh fruit adds a burst of flavor and natural sweetness to your bingsu.
  • Mochi: Soft and chewy mochi pairs perfectly with the light and fluffy texture of the shaved ice.
  • Cereal: Adding cereal like corn flakes or Fruity Pebbles gives your bingsu an added crunch.
  • Coffee: For coffee lovers, try adding a shot of espresso or drizzle of coffee syrup for a unique twist on this classic dessert.
  • Ice cream: Top off your bingsu with a scoop (or two) of ice cream for an extra creamy treat.

Now that you’ve indulged in some refreshing bingsu, it’s time to move onto another delicious Korean dessert – korean-style macarons.

Korean-style Macarons

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these unique macarons that take inspiration from Korean flavors and ingredients. Korean-style macarons come in a variety of flavors and colors that will leave you wanting more. These bite-sized desserts are not only delicious but also visually appealing, making them perfect for any social media post.

Flavors and varieties of Korean-style macarons range from traditional green tea, black sesame, and red bean to adventurous flavors such as kimchi, yuzu, and even bibimbap (a mixed rice dish). The use of these distinct Korean ingredients creates a fusion of flavors that is both bold and intriguing. The history and origins of macarons can be traced back to Italy during the Renaissance period. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century when they became popularized in France. Today, Korean-style macarons have become a trendy dessert among foodies around the world.

If you’re looking to cool down after indulging in some delicious macarons, look no further than soft serve ice cream!

Soft Serve Ice Cream

You can’t resist the creamy, velvety goodness of our soft serve ice cream. Korean soft serve is known for its unique flavors and delicious toppings that take this classic dessert to the next level. Whether you’re a fan of fruity or indulgent flavors, there’s something for everyone.

Here are some popular Korean soft serve flavors and toppings you have to try:

Flavors Toppings Recommended Pairing
Green Tea Red Bean Matcha Latte
Black Sesame Mochi Balls Iced Americano
Milk & Honey Cereal Bits Milk Tea

The combination of green tea and red bean is a classic pairing in Korean desserts, while black sesame adds a nutty depth to the creamy base. If you’re looking for something more indulgent, try milk and honey with crunchy cereal bits on top. No matter what flavor or topping you choose, make sure to pair it with a refreshing iced drink like an Americano or milk tea.

Korean Drinks to Pair with Desserts

If you’re looking for the perfect drink to pair with your Korean desserts, look no further than Sikhye. This sweet rice punch is a popular choice in Korea and pairs perfectly with sweet treats like Bingsu or Patbingsu. If you’re not a fan of Sikhye, consider trying traditional Korean teas like green tea or barley tea, which have a slightly bitter taste that can balance out the sweetness of your dessert. And for those who want something stronger, Soju cocktails are a great option that blend traditional Korean flavors with modern mixology techniques.


Don’t miss out on the refreshing sweetness of sikhye, a traditional Korean rice punch that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. Made from malted barley, cooked rice, and water, this Korean rice beverage is sweetened with sugar and garnished with pine nuts. It’s a popular choice to pair with traditional Korean desserts with a modern twist like bingsu or hotteok.

If you’re looking for the best places to try sikhye in Korea, here are some must-visit spots:

  • Gwangjang Market in Seoul: This bustling market offers a variety of street foods including sikhye served in traditional brass bowls.
  • Jeonju Hanok Village: This historic village is known for its preservation of traditional Korean culture and has several restaurants that offer homemade sikhye.
  • Suwon Hwaseong Fortress: Take a break from exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site by enjoying a cup of chilled sikhye sold at various snack stands within the fortress walls.
  • Tongin Market in Seoul: Here you can purchase "dosirak"or lunch boxes filled with different Korean snacks including sikhye.
  • Temple stay programs across Korea: Many Buddhist temples across Korea offer temple stays where participants can experience monastic life and enjoy meals that often include a serving of sikhye.

As you finish up your sip of delicious Sikhye, why not continue your exploration of traditional Korean beverages by trying some authentic Korean tea?

Korean Tea

Now that you’ve tasted Sikhye, it’s time to move on to another important aspect of Korean culture: tea. The Korean tea ceremony is a traditional practice that has been around for centuries, and it involves much more than just brewing and drinking tea. It’s a way to connect with others, relax, and appreciate the beauty of nature.

Korean tea comes in many different flavors, but some of the most popular ones include green tea, jujube tea, barley tea, and Korean plum tea. Each flavor has its own unique taste and benefits. Green tea is known for its antioxidant properties and ability to improve brain function. Jujube tea is often consumed in the winter months because it warms up the body and soothes sore throats. Barley tea is caffeine-free and has a nutty flavor that pairs well with meals. And Korean plum tea aids digestion and helps detoxify the liver.

After savoring some delicious Korean teas at your next gathering or meal, why not try something a little stronger? Up next we have soju cocktails – a modern twist on Korea’s national drink!

Soju Cocktails

For those looking to add a modern twist to Korea’s national drink, soju cocktails are a perfect choice. Korean soju mixology has become increasingly popular in recent years, with bartenders across the country experimenting with unique flavor combinations that showcase the versatility of this traditional spirit. From fruity and refreshing to rich and complex, there is a soju cocktail out there for everyone.

If you’re new to the world of Korean soju mixology, start by trying some classics like the Sojurita (a play on a margarita) or the Grapefruit Soju Collins. For something more adventurous, try the Honey Ginger Soju Sour or the Blueberry Lavender Sparkler. Whatever your preference may be, you’re sure to find something that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

Moving on from delicious drinks, let’s talk about where to find Korean desserts in Seoul.

Where to Find Korean Desserts in Seoul

If you’re looking for the best Korean desserts in Seoul, you can easily satisfy your sweet tooth at one of the many traditional bakeries or trendy cafes scattered throughout the city. Korean dessert trends have been on the rise lately, with unique flavors and ingredients that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. One popular dessert is bingsu, a shaved ice treat topped with various toppings such as fruit, condensed milk, and sweet red bean paste.

For those who prefer more traditional sweets, head to a local bakery where you can find pastries like hotteok (sweet pancakes filled with brown sugar and cinnamon) or chocopie (a chocolate-covered marshmallow sandwich). Some bakeries even offer fusion desserts like green tea tiramisu or black sesame cheesecake. If you prefer something savory but still want to indulge in a sweet treat, try hoddeok (deep-fried dough filled with sugar syrup and nuts).

If you’re looking for a trendy cafe with Instagram-worthy desserts, there are plenty of options in Seoul as well. Try Dore Dore Cafe for their beautiful flower-shaped soft serve ice cream or Sulbing for their signature bingsu topped with fresh strawberries and mangoes. For an upscale experience, visit C27 at Conrad Hotel for their stunning patisserie display featuring both classic French pastries and Korean-inspired creations.

Now that you’ve explored some of the best places to find Korean desserts in Seoul, it’s time to venture down south to Busan where there are even more delicious treats waiting for you.

Where to Find Korean Desserts in Busan

You’ll be delighted to know that Busan has a vibrant dessert scene with plenty of options to satisfy your sweet cravings. Korean dessert culture is very diverse, and you can find everything from traditional rice cakes to modern and trendy desserts. One popular trend in Busan is the use of local ingredients such as tangerines, green tea, and honey from the nearby Jirisan mountains.

If you’re looking for something unique, try bingsu at Sulbing. This chain restaurant serves shaved ice topped with various fruits, nuts, syrups, and condensed milk. Their signature dish is the Injeolmi Bingsu made with roasted soybean powder and glutinous rice cake. Another must-try dessert is hotteok at Gukje Market. These small pancakes are filled with brown sugar syrup, cinnamon, peanuts or sesame seeds.

For those who prefer savory desserts or snacks, Odari Sikdang offers hotteok filled with cheese or corned beef instead of sweet filling. They also have other street food favorites like fish cakes soup (eomuk tang) and stir-fried noodles (jajangmyeon). If you want to sit down in a cozy café setting while enjoying your sweets, visit Café Blossom located near Haeundae Beach. Their matcha latte and black sesame cake are highly recommended.

Now that you’ve explored the dessert scene in Busan, it’s time to head over to Jeju Island where even more delicious treats await!

Where to Find Korean Desserts in Jeju Island

Get ready to indulge in the sweet treats of Jeju Island, where local ingredients like Jeju black pork and citrus fruits take center stage in desserts like tangerine cakes and hallabong sherbet. Jeju Island’s unique dessert offerings are a must-try for any foodie looking to explore Korean cuisine. Here are some of the best places to try Korean inspired sweets in Jeju Island:

  • Osulloc Tea Museum: This museum not only offers a glimpse into Korea’s tea culture but also serves up delicious green tea desserts such as green tea ice cream and green tea tiramisu.
  • Bangju Church Cafe: Located in a charming old church, this cafe serves up delightful homemade pastries made with locally sourced ingredients. Their signature item is the hallabong tart, made with the island’s famous citrus fruit.
  • Sanbanggulsa Temple: This temple is known for its beautiful views and natural hot springs, but it also houses a small cafe that sells traditional Korean snacks and drinks. Try their bingsu (shaved ice dessert) topped with sweet red bean paste.

Jeju Island offers a unique twist on traditional Korean desserts by incorporating local flavors and ingredients. These three spots will provide you with unforgettable culinary experiences that will leave your taste buds wanting more. Now, let’s move on to exploring where to find Korean desserts in North America and Europe!

Where to Find Korean Desserts in North America and Europe

Discover the delectable world of Korean-inspired sweets in North America and Europe, where unique flavors and cultural influences come together to create unforgettable desserts. Korean dessert trends are on the rise across these regions, with more and more people seeking out new and exciting treats that showcase the best of this vibrant cuisine.

One popular ingredient found in many Korean desserts is red bean paste, which is made from boiled adzuki beans that have been sweetened with sugar. This rich, creamy filling can be enjoyed in a variety of forms such as dumplings, cakes, or even ice cream. You can find it at specialty bakeries or cafes that specialize in Asian-inspired sweets.

Another must-try ingredient is matcha green tea powder, which adds a distinctive earthy flavor to many Korean desserts like mochi or shaved ice. Matcha-infused products are popping up everywhere nowadays especially in North America and Europe’s large cities like New York, London or Paris. The vibrant green hue makes them appealing to Instagrammers who love to share their food experiences online.

If you’re looking for something truly unique, try bingsu – a shaved ice dessert topped with various toppings like fruit slices or condensed milk. It originated from Korea but became widespread across the globe due to its refreshing taste perfect for hot summers days! With so many variations available including coffee flavored ones or even cheese infused ones you’ll never get bored of trying different types wherever you go.

Overall, there’s no shortage of delicious Korean-inspired desserts waiting for you to discover them in North America and Europe. Whether you’re looking for something traditional like red bean paste-filled cakes or something trendy like matcha-flavored treats – there’s something out there for everyone! So why not take a trip around your local city today and explore all the wonderful dessert options available?


Now that you know where to find the best Korean desserts, it’s time to indulge in these sweet treats. From traditional rice cakes to modern twists on classic sweets, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to pair your dessert with a refreshing Korean drink like sikhye or bori cha.

If you’re in Seoul, head over to Gwangjang Market or Insadong for a wide variety of dessert options. Busan offers its own unique desserts at places like BIFF Square and Jagalchi Market. And if you’re lucky enough to visit Jeju Island, be sure to try their famous tangerine flavored ice cream.

Even if you can’t make it all the way to Korea, many North American and European cities have Korean dessert shops popping up. So go ahead and satisfy your sweet tooth with some delicious Korean desserts – you won’t regret it!

James Yeong
James Yeong

Once a quaint dweller of the English countryside, James is now a vibrant voice narrating his adventures in the bustling heart of South Korea. Since relocating to Seoul in 2019, James has immersed himself in the dynamic tapestry of Korean culture, from the serene temples tucked away in mountainous terrains to the neon-lit streets of modern cities.

This blog has become a haven for those seeking an outsider's yet intimate perspective on South Korea, often shedding light on hidden gems and local favourites rather than just the typical tourist hotspots. With a keen eye for detail and a writing style dripping with wit and warmth, James has managed to amass a devoted readership from all corners of the globe.

Whether you're planning a trip to the Seoul, the surrounding cities or just vicariously traveling from the comfort of your couch, Jame's tales of exploration and discovery are sure to ignite a passion for the Land of the Morning Calm.

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