When I was little, the term rice cake meant fat, round, mostly flavorless disks of puffed rice that I thought people only ate if they were on a diet. At some point this image left my mental food dictionary, and now rice cakes can only mean the soft, squidgy Asian variety made of pounded glutinous rice transformed into sweet and savory dishes.
Growing up in a Chinese family with an affinity for Japanese cuisine, I've tried a variety of Chinese and Japanese rice cakes, but Korean rice cakes—in particular the sweet varieties—have been off my radar until now. In Korea, different kinds of rice cakes, or tteok in Korean, are traditionally eaten through the year on holidays and at festivals—lots of different kinds, if this glossary from Life in Korea is any indication.
If you're as clueless about tteok as I am, or if you're a lover of these pounded rice cakes, attend the 7th Annual Tteok Fair next weekend on May 8 and 9 in Seoul, South Korea, at the aT Center. Don't live in Seoul? I'll be attending the fair to report on all the tteok goodness that occurs. More information after the jump.