Monday, January 11, 2010

Korean Desserts

To the Westerner, desserts signify closure to the meal, that last morsel of utmost sweet satisfaction .... cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream, all to satisfy the "sweet tooth" and finalize on the meal. To Koreans, however, desserts traditionally and for the most part even now are a slice or two of fruit - example, watermelon, pear [aka Asian pear], a mandarin orange - or perhaps a somewhat sweet drink like sujunggwa (persimmon-cinnamon punch - pictured), mesil tea (a sweet tart plum tea) and very frequently now a cup of coffee, but could also be a nibbly-snack like some nurungji (the sheet of crisped unsalted rice from the bottom of the rice cooker). Desserts were not to be heavy or to over-balance the meal. Unlike Western desserts which were for a final heightened experience in taste, Korean desserts were to aid with the digestion of food; they were simple, palate cleansing and soothing to the digestive tract.


  1. Hello! I just tried some Korean fruit tea from the market, my friend Dan recommended it. I've tried quince and citron, it's fruity but not overly sweet. Good stuff! I would love to try sujunggwa sometime.

  2. Sujunggwa is one of my favorites b/c you can make it as sweet or not to suit your taste .... but then if you like woodsy flavors, try chikcha (arrowroot tea). I absolutely love it, and it's definitely not too sweet!