At first blush, the Jilsiru Tteok Cafe may strike more adventurous explorers as a bit of a snoozefest. It’s a cafe attached to an actual Tteok museum (koreans take their rice cakes seriously) inside the old, traditional Insadong neighborhood. Nothing new or trendy but it’s actually one of those places that you may find yourself wandering back into after your initial bad attitude.
The first floor houses the Tteok Cafe where one can essentially purchase and eat every variety of Tteok known to mankind pretty much. The textures and fillings are as varied as the many colors that are on display and it’s easy to mindlessly go into a tteok-frenzy but it pays to be selective because there’s only so much glutinous rice hunks one can eat in one sitting and tteok is known to go stale quickly.
When you’ve had your fill of colorful starch, head up to the 2nd floor where you can find the museum part of the experience and learn about the thousands of years of tteok history. And if you’re wanting a little more action after, head on over to the traditional Korean Liquor Museum which is in the same building.
In total, this place really is a hub for Korea’s days of yore, including spreads on North Korean cuisine and what emperors have been served. Just make sure you come brave enough to try the dried manta ray.