‘Haap’ is a teeny-tiny ddeeok shop that is tucked in one of the alleyways of Insadong road. It hasn’t been opened that long, but it’s gaining notoriety, mainly due to the fact that the owner is an accomplished pastry baker & chef who studied in France, but then came back to Korea and ended up opening up this traditional rice cake shop. :)
I got to talk to him a bit and he’s really friendly and open about what’s vegan and what’s not. He said recently he has been trying to use more plant-based ingredients. At the moment, several of the ddeoks contain honey, but I think he’s been experimenting with vegan options. The chef likes to change the menu and tweak the recipes, so if you go, just make sure to ask what is vegan (they know the word).
These ddeoks are definitely upscale. Each piece is a little smaller than the size of a ping pong ball, and it’s 2,000 won each or more. We’re talkin’ gourmet rice cakes, people! They don’t mess around here.
My friend and I got three different types which are all vegan: red bean, olive, and black bean. I have to say, I love the wrapping and plate presentation. So simple and elegant. They would certainly make very special gifts.
Each ddeok is so miniature that you could just pop it in your mouth in one go, but it’s too precious to do that! It’s so small that you really have to savor every bite. Plus, it’s nice to cut it up first to see the filling. The flavor of the rice cake is really clean, and the filling is also very mild so as to not overpower the rice cake. You can also get a hint of the alcohol, but it’s really just all about the texture. Soft, chewy, spongy.
Haap is near Insadong road. From Anguk Station, walk down Insadong Road, passing the Ssamzie building on your left. Turn right into Insadong 5-road (인사동 5-길), where the rice cake shop is on the corner. Pass a few buildings and Haap will be on your right. It is a little hidden, but it is on the first floor of the building behind Il Mare restaurant.
Address: 서울특별시 종로구 관훈동 198-31
Open daily: 08:00~19:00