Tteokppoki (떡볶이) is one of the most popular street vendor foods in Korea. These slightly sweet and spicy chewy rice cakes are almost addictive once you are used to its flavor and texture. Here's how you can make them at home! 

There are many different ways of making tteokppoki at home. I have been craving for street vendor style so I came up with this recipe that mimic the flavor. Unlike the most tteokppoki recipe that uses Korean chili paste (gochujang, 고추장), this recipe is calling for very fine Korean chili powder. There are two types of chili powder. One is more coarse that are suitable for most recipes, the other is very fine powder that is suitable for making chili paste. Most street vendors use this chili powder to make the sauce instantly. I also combined a little bit of store-bought Korean beef marinade (불고기 양념). This collaboration of the two ingredients will create very tasty Korean vendor style rice cakes. 

If you can find the fresh rice cakes that are soft, that would be the best option. But if you can't find them, frozen or dry-packed rice cakes can be substituted. You will want to soak the frozen rice cakes in cold water for 10 minutes before adding to the recipe. That will help create the softer texture.

Just a few ingredients you need. Korean chili powder, beef marinade, rice syrup (or corn syrup), onion, rice cake, and fish cake (optional)

Combine all the seasoning ingredients to make paste. I didn't include in the photo, but the onion is pureed in a blender before added to the paste.

Combine rice cakes, fish cakes, and seasoning paste in a skillet.

Add enough water to the skillet.

The water should barely cover the rice cakes.

Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium low to start thicken the sauce. Season with salt. If you prefer sweeter taste, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

It should take about 7-10 minutes to cook and thicken the sauce.

Don't try to thicken the sauce too much. You will need a little moisture and the dish will continue to thicken as it cools.

Enjoy the rice cakes while they are warm. These cakes will bring the nostalgic memory of busy Korean streets and their wonderful street food. Enjoy~!

- Holly

Street Vendor Style Spicy Rice Cakes

serves 4


  • 500 g rice cakes, fresh or frozen
  • 2 sheets fish cakes, diced
  • 4 tablespoons Korean fine chili powder
  • 5 tablespoon rice or corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Korean beef marinade
  • 1/2 onion, pureed
  • salt to taste
  • 1.5 - 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (if needed)


  1. If you rice cakes are frozen, soak them in water for 10 minutes. 
  2. Combine chili powder, syrup, beef marinade, pureed onion, and salt in a small bowl. Mix well.
  3. Drain the rice cakes and combine them with fish cakes in a skillet.  Add the seasoning paste to the skillet and pour  water to barely cover the rice cakes. Bring them to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to med-low and slowly thicken the sauce, about 10 minutes. Taste and add the salt to your liking. Add the brown sugar if you prefer sweeter taste.
  4. When the liquid is thickened and the rice cakes are tender, remove the skillet from the heat and serve warm.

Click the image below for more delicious Korean rice cake dishes.

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