ROKing Korea is a feature column by ROKing Magazine that explores Korean culture and expat life in South Korea. With the growing number of Korean-American expats in Korea, we’ve teamed up with ROKing, a bi-monthly, bi-lingual, Korea-centric magazine, to give you a glimpse of life in South Korea.
“What’s good for the body is not so good on your taste buds” may be an old Korean saying, but we found three dessert spots in Seoul that would disagree with that statement. Meet various Korean well-being desserts made with traditional Korean ingredients that prove that dessert is no longer a mere omissible sweet food!
Tea Loft – Reinterpretation of Korean dessert
When you walk in, you’ll notice that its high glass ceiling is harmonized with grass and trees. The modern and natural interior of Tea Loft is open and inviting. Here you can enjoy sweet ddeok (rice cake) cakes with blended lattes. Tea Loft invokes curiosity with their interesting menu. They have developed charming little desserts and various health drinks which are made with traditional ingredients. Tea Loft has risen as the leading health conscious café with their rice cakes, blended lattes and fresh smoothies that are made on spot. Also, each season they launch new menus which are another reason for their immense popularity. Visit Tea Loft and try their delicious summer menu: Ripe persimmon sherbet, sweet rice drink, and citron ice cream.
Location: 1 Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul (Lotte Department Store). The café is located on the 14th floor.
Tea Therapy – Blurring the boundary between health center and café
If you can think of a tea that is good for your health, you’d probably think of bitter, yucky tasting tea served at dabang or the retro-style tea house for elderly. “Trot music” is played on the radio as you sip date-tea or herbal medicine-tea, and you think it’s boring and not so cool. Well, now you can enjoy your cup of tea at a hip and modern hot spot in the city! The place is none other then Tea Therapy in Apgujeong. Here the interior is modern and eco-friendly. You can also browse on the internet while checking out various brunch menus are available. Among the trendsetters of Korea this place has risen as the hottest place! You can figure out just the right tea for yourself by using their “Body color chart.” Also, with an additional 2,000 won the owner Sangjae Lee who’s a Korean medicine doctor will blend a traditional tea just for you.
Location: 1st Fl. of Ago building, Shinsa-dong 616-6, Gangnam-gu (parking available)
ROKing’s Tip: When you order a Korean traditional tea, the server will bring out a glass teacup, a glass tea pot, filter and an hourglass. If you are a first timer and don’t know how long to brew, you can simply use the hourglass. It normally takes 3 minutes for one bulb to empty, and that is the perfect brewing time.
W.E. – Where West meets East
At Café W.E. (West and East) you can introduce yourself to new desserts. Hoddeok (Korean sweet pancake) is reborn as a western-style pancake. Grilled sweet potatoes are blended with milk and become “sweet potato latte.” The unique menu breaks the rule of the usual Korean food combination formula. Forget about your routine Korean food, such as grilled sweet potato with kimchi and honey with ddeok (rice cake). Here at W.E., you get to enjoy grilled potato with butter and coleslaw, Häagen-Dazs icecream with rice cake. W.E.’s very popular drinks are not only limited to coffee. You get to choose from a variety of drinks made from Korea’s traditional ingredient. Make sure to pay a visit to W.E.!
Location: Gangnam Building #102, Shinsa-dong 518-8, Gangnam-gu
Hours: Mon-Sat (11am-11pm) Sun (2pm-10pm)
If you can’t visit these lovely (and healthy) dessert spots, learn how to make an easy well-being snack right in your own kitchen!
Recipe: Korean-style Bokboonja (Black Raspberry) Mousse
Ingredients: Bokboonja a.k.a black raspberries (100g), sugar (40g), gelatin (4g), squeezed lemon (1Ts), whipped cream (150g), castella (sponge cake)
1. Combine Bokboonja and sugar (10g) and then boil the mixture over medium heat until it turns to liquid.
2. Place 1 in blender container and blend until smooth or strain it out through a strainer.
3. Place 2 into a pot and boil them with sugar (30g) and squeezed lemon juice.
4. Squeeze gelatin dry and then combine it with Bokboonja mixture. Allow to cool.
5. Make whipping cream smoother using handy mixer.
6. Fold in whipping cream and mix it well.
7. Cut castella (sponge cake) and put it into a cup.
8. Place 6 in the cup, refrigerate for minimum of 4 hours and enjoy!
Written by Sang-aa Park. Cross-published from ROKing Magazine with permission. BokboonjaMousse recipe and photos provided by “Yaongyang.” ———————————————————————————————————————————————–
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