Brrrr! I am still shivering even after I got home from my daily work out. I came back to Korea about three months ago on December 3rd, 2014 but yesterday and today seemed like the coldest days of this winter season. Ggotsem Chuwee (꽃샘추위: spring colds) is an annual weather phenomenon in Korea that happens normally between end of February to April. During this time, the temperature drops abnormally for about several days and the people who were ready for spring get affected by sudden harsh frost – many end up getting sick and catch a cold.
Today I took out my down jacket from Canada again after almost getting sick walking around in my spring coat yesterday. But even the warm outerwear cannot protect you from freezing gusts of ggotsem chuwee. My sister and I decided to warm ourselves up by grabbing a quick bite at Jaws Tteokpoki – our favorite tteokpoki joint.
Tteokpoki or Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is a classic Korean snack food made by stir-frying the rice cake with spicy gochujang sauce. Typically, flat fish cakes are added with the bite-size rice cakes. At Jaws, you can enjoy a set of four common snack foods that you could find on streets of Korea: tteokpoki, soondae (Korean sausage), twigim (tempura), and eomuk (fish cake).
These are the type of food that Koreans typically considered cheap street food. However, I noticed that within few years street snacks have evolved and many different varieties were invented with some of them being marketed as high-quality snacks. Jaws Tteokpoki was one of the pioneers to revision the concept of classic Korean street foods. They started their little tteokpoki joint near Korea University back in 2007 and attempted to use good ingredients while keeping the price down, hence the success of today’s franchaise brand.