Seoul: plastic food or actual cookies?

Now I have a challenge for you – I saw these colorful boxes at the Gwangjang Market. Initially they looked to me like the typical Japanese plastic food that you see at the entrances to restaurants, but after looking closer, I am not convinced. They could be just cookies and other delicacies that are packaged and wrapped beautifully as a gift.

Gwangjang Seoul 2014-5

The only thing that really confuses me is that some of the boxes contained fish – dried fish of course. Would that also be a gift to take to someone’s house? I don’t know much about Korean practices, so any one who’d like to enlighten me, please leave me a comment!

Gwangjang Seoul 2014-4

2 responses to “Seoul: plastic food or actual cookies?

  1. Yip, these are all gift sets that you picture – they are really prominent at times of year like Seollal (Korean New Year) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). You are expected to give them to bosses, colleagues, family members etc – we recall those being extremely expensive times of year! The bottom picture does indeed show cookies, though they don’t taste anything like what we would recognise as delicious cookies! Called ‘hangwa’ (actually translates to something like confectionery rather than cookies) they are made from grain flour with additions of sugars, fruits etc. We found them (generally) a bit bland and greasy.

    • Thanks for the insights – I actually bought a box of hangwa cookies as a gift for my colleagues. I have tried one on Friday and I agree with you, it’s quite greasy – not really what I would consider a cookie!

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