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Rice Cake Cravings!

My version of spicy Korean rice cakes! Can an instant noodle compare?

One of my favorite Korean dishes would be tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes)! A Korean street food consisting of chewy cylindrical rice cakes, thin slices of fish cake, Korean soup stock & scallions all smothered in an umami rich infused gochujang sauce. The fermented flavors of the spicy sauce perfectly match the sweet chew of the rice cakes. Which brings us to the latest addition to Samyang's "fire noodle" lineup... Buldak Topokki. Can this instant noodle satisfy my rice cake craving? Let's plate it up...

Inside the package you'll find a round block of thick noodles, packet of sauce and a satchel of dehydrated chives and pollack shaped in the form of narutomaki, the iconic Japanese fish cake slice with a pink swirl. Wasn't expecting the traditional Japanese fishcake in my Korean dish, but it's all about the flavor... right?

I boiled the noodles with the dried ingredients for slightly under 5 minutes, drained the water, saving a few tablespoons to add back in, and squeezed the sauce in the pan... then stir-fried for a minute to thicken it all up.

Thoughts... you can't really go wrong with Samyang. They are consistently releasing new flavors including spicy black bean and elote corn noodles. This time while I enjoyed chomping down on these, I felt a little disappointed... the noodles were definitely chewier and springier than other varieties, but the sauce didn't have that gochujang punch. It was too similar to their fire noodle sauce, but maybe slightly less spicy and lighter in flavor. Also, the rehydrated fish cake didn't have much flavor.

However, I wouldn't call this dish a total loss! Just a few additions would help raise the profile of these noodles... I would suggest adding a tablespoon of gochujang directly from the jar to add a touch of that sweet, smoky fermented flavor, as well as buying a package of eomuk (Korean fish cake), slicing it up and mixing it in, since the sweetness of the rice cakes and the salty umami of the fish cakes is a pairing made in Heaven! You may question, "if I'm going through all the trouble to add ingredients not packaged with these noodles, why don't I just make traditional rice cakes instead?" The answer is simple... time and money. You won't need to soak your rice cakes for 20 minutes prior to stir-frying and your shopping list will be much shorter. Honestly, the texture of these noodles were nice, just don't overcook!

Samyang does offer bowls with traditional rice cakes if you choose, however I would still recommend adding the eomuk, gochujang and scallions.

Coming soon... my review of Samyang Buldak Elote Corn Noodles. Probably the lineup's most outrageous flavor!

-David Lynn

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