Eating Korean Walnut Cakes in Cheonan, Korea

by Audrey on July 8, 2012


This past weekend we ventured a few subway stops south to the city of Cheonan in the South Chungcheong province. We had two goals in mind: visit the big Buddha and eat walnut cakes. We accomplished both of these!

Cheonan is perhaps best known as the originating place of the walnut cake, or hodugwaja (호두과자). It is a popular snack in Korea which consists of a small bite sized Korean cake with a walnut and red bean paste filling. People like to bring a little bag of these sweet snacks on long trips, and you can find stands selling them at train stations and bus terminals across the country. The warm gooey red bean paste also make them a great snack in the wintertime.

Hodugwaja are one of Sam’s personal favourites and he has been known to devour an entire bag of them when I wasn’t looking. Sometimes our little bag of treats doesn’t even make it onto the the train – he just gobbles them up while we’re waiting on the platform.

You won’t have to look too hard to find walnut cakes in Cheonan. Hodugwaja shops can be found all over the city, sometimes only a few stores away from each other. Most places bake the walnut cakes fresh on site, so you can watch the whole process unfold before your eyes in an assembly line method of production. The whole process starts with a person placing half a walnut in a cast iron mold. The batter is then poured into the mold with a gob of the red bean paste in the middle. The cake bakes slowly as the rest of the line advances, and a few minutes later you have a warm walnut shaped snack ready to be enjoyed. Sam and I have tried hodugwaja on different occasions across Korea, but they have never tasted as good as they did baked fresh in their city of origin!

You can expect to pay 2,000 won (which is just under $2) for a bag with 10 of these bite sized treats. Bon appetit!

Korean Walnut Cakes Hodugwaja


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Doc Wends of Journeys and Travels July 8, 2012 at 3:20 am

OMG, I am dreaming of Korea and when I get there, I will try this. The almond cake is delicious and by the looks of the video, I am hungry already! How much do u think one box costs?


Nomadic Samuel July 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

It’s definitely worth trying when you come! A box of 10 will set you back $2-3 🙂


Michelle July 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Ohh those look so good! I’m always up for trying new desserts 🙂


Nomadic Samuel July 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

They are delicious Michelle! I wonder if you could try some in Toronto in K-town?


Hogga July 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

They look like Korean timbits… which is never a bad thing lol


Nomadic Samuel July 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

Hahahaha, timbits are always a goooooood thing 🙂 One of the first things I always have when I come back to Canada 🙂


Christine July 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Those look really tasty!


Nomadic Samuel July 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thanks Christine! They truly are tasty!


Scarlett July 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

These look so weird but so tasty! x


Nomadic Samuel July 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

I can see why you’d consider them strange. They are tasty though IMO 🙂


Mark Wiens July 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

My girlfriend had read about these in a Thai forum and we sampled a box when we were in Seoul – delicious!


Nomadic Samuel July 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

Glad you got to try them Mark! They’re a staple snack whenever I’m taking a bus or train in Korea.


Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) July 21, 2012 at 4:09 am

All who know me acknowledge that any sort of dessert involving nuts of any sort is one I cannot resist… so these walnut cakes look like they’d do a doozy on me if I ever got near them! Sounds like you had a wonderfully successful day out!


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