Rabokki is a type of Korean street food made from instant noodles and spicy stir-fried rice cakes. The name comes from adding Ramyeon (instant noodles) and Ddukbokki (spicy rice cake). Along with these two main ingredients, fishcake is a staple ingredient that completes the dish.
As everyone knows, Rabokki (라볶이) is a spicy dish that you may have tried by now especially if you love Korean food.
There are three reasons why this dish is loved among many; it’s cheap, has a familiar taste to other countries’ cuisines and it’s easy to make at home.
A Cheap and Cheerful Korean Dish
You’re most likely to first try it like me in your hometown’s local Korean restaurant. The price usually ranges from around £6.50 to £8.50 depending on the restaurant. In a city like London back in the early 2010s, only two restaurants were serving Rabokki – Assa in Soho and Haru in New Malden.
Now with the growing interest in Korean culture, the dish can be found in a number of Korean restaurants in London due to high demand. My first taste was in Assa and to this day, it is one of the best places I would recommend any Londoners to go eat at.
Texture and Taste of Rabokki
The texture and taste would be familiar to most Caribbean and Africans especially with the rice cake as it will have a similar taste to boiled dumplings. The reason why I would say this is because the texture is quite soft and chewy as well as the fishcake together.
As a spicy food lover, the level of spice was unknown to me at first but once you get used to it, it’s not too bad. In a way, it was a mix of more sweet than spicy compared to other spices I have tasted.
How to make Rabokki?
You can buy this spicy ready-made ramen dish online or easily make it in 30 minutes at home. Along with the three main ingredients, you need to add the sauce gochujang, scallions, sesame seeds and anchovy broth.
Additionally, I would recommend using egg, roasted seaweed and cheese to make this even more delicious. In my opinion, cheese makes a lot of difference to the dish. There’s something about the sauce mixed with cheese that goes really well!
If you want more spice to your Rabokki I would recommend adding the spicy flavouring package that comes with any instant Ramyeon noodles.
- 3 cups water
- 5 g dried kelp
- 15 g dried anchovies
- scallions thinly chopped
- cheese highly recommended!
- roasted sesame seeds
This can be prepared ahead of time. Boil for 10 mins uncovered on medium heat.
Remove the kelp and continue boiling for a further 10 mins. For those with less time, replace the broth with premade fish stock or water mixed with spicy instant noodle flavourings.
Add or reduce the amount of Korean chili flakes to adjust the level of spice.This can be prepared ahead of time.
Thaw the frozen rice cakes and fish cakes in water.
Stir-fry the onions with oil for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-high heat in a large pot.
Add the rice cakes and fish cakes and anchovy broth and turn the heat up to high.
When it begins to boil, bring down the heat and leave this to simmer. Add the sauce mixture of gochujang, sugar, minced garlic and Korean chilli flakes.
When the sauce thickens, add your preferred dry instant ramen noodles.
Stir until the noodles have cooked. If necessary, add a small amount of water.
When noodles are cooked through, add cheese and scallions. Turn off the heat. If desired, top with hard-boiled egg and garnish with sesame seeds and seaweed.
If you’re lucky to travel, you should have it in the heart of Korea. I would highly recommend Singdandong in Seoul also known as Ddukboki Town. There is also a famous chain for ddukbokki buffet, Dukki. Both restaurants offer the spicy rice cake dish which you are free to create with as many ingredients as you want.
I personally think that the taste in Korea is a little more spicier than in the UK or Japan. Without a question, save your coins and get the authentic taste when you go to Korea.
Whether you can make it to the motherland or have it at home, I hope this will intrigue you to try one of my favourite Korean foods of all time. Rabokki is your perfect introduction to Korean cuisine.
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Nyasha is a British-Caribbean who runs the spicy food website Nyam with Ny, for other enthusiasts like herself to discover more spicy cravings. She can be found either travelling and trying new tasty dishes or recreating favourites in the kitchen. When Nyasha is not obsessed with food, she enjoys writing, dining out and playing video games.