Korean winter snacks warm up LA’s Koreatown

December 10, 2014
Boongeoppang being made inside a Koreatown market.

Boongeoppang being made inside a Koreatown market.

By Park Ji-hye

Long-loved winter snacks of South Korea are trending inside Los Angeles’ Koreatown markets.

Although they’re available year-round, items like baked sweet potatoes and hobbang — rice flour with fillings like vegetables, pumpkin paste or chestnuts — are enjoying attention with the arrival of the holiday season.

Following the trend, Galleria Market on Olympic Blvd. brought in an iconic red hoppang machine to promote a sampling event.

“It’s not cold here like it is in Korea, so it looks like sales of winter-season snacks have risen because people are in the end-of-the-year spirit,” said Jung Sang-hoon, market manager. “The hoppang especially sells after people sample it, so these sampling events are driving sales.”

Sales are also on the rise for microwave-ready hoddeok, a Korean pancake with sweet fillings that vary from sugar to corn, black sesame, green tea and pumpkin.

Several Korean markets have set up stands to make boongeoppang, goldfish-shaped bread typically filled with red bean paste. Zion Market on 6th St., which is also offering custard cream or cheese fillings made on the spot, said it is selling 400 to 500 boongeoppang per day.

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