Beauty in a Rice Cake


What started out as a street food vendor specializing in Korean snacks has gathered a strong enough fan-base to evolve into a full size store front. For those of you that have lived in Dongguan for a while, you will probably have some vague memory of the wooden shack located on the street behind Yong Hua Ting. On cold winter nights as you walked by the owner would wave you in and hand you a free cup of hot broth and even let you sample their signature rice cake, all free of charge.

Fast forward a couple years, it has its own store front, but the tradition remains. The owner (also the store mascot) stands by the door and greets each of the customers as they come in. It has a friendly vibe. A cup of hot broth is served as soon as you sit down, and the atmosphere warm and inviting. An open kitchen sits at the entrance and throughout the store the wooden walls and tables are all covered with friendly scribbles from patrons past. Towards the back of the restaurant, a large chalk wall has the wifi code written on it: ‘58 58 58 58’ (answers on a postcard if you get this very Korean joke).

Looking at what others were having, we decided to order a number of dishes. First came their signature one: the spicy rice cake (tteogbokk-i). Not exactly visually appealing, they looked like more like white tubes smothered with red chili paste, but they tasted pretty damn good, a suitably spicy kick for sure. Next came their fish cake skewers (kkochioden), which were chewy but somehow not as good as the broth they were soaked in–the very same type of broth you are served as you enter the store.

Other dishes that followed were fried seaweed wrapped with vermicelli, assorted tempura, beef kebabs, and cheese fried chicken. Overall it tasted good, but there was something lacking, nothing spectacular that wowed our taste buds.

This is more of a place to hang out and have a cheeky nibble, most definitely not for a romantic or formal dinner. But sometimes a quick bite is all you want; this is definitely a place to come if you want a small taste of Korea without overstretching your wallet or your belly.