In winter, treats are a must to keep personal morale afloat. It’s cold. The mornings are dark and uninviting. The trees are bare. Everyone has gross runny noses. So these wee fish shaped cake-y treats or, ‘bungeobbang,’ (literally ‘carassius’ (a kind of fish) bread), come in very handy.
A favourable leftover from the Japanese occupation, Bungeobbang stalls start appearing on any self respecting Korean street corner in the start of November, and usually sell three or four for 1000 won. They are cake batter filled with ‘pat,’ (sweet red bean paste) or custard which are then cooked in fish shaped moulds. I find the custard filling questionable, but the red bean filling is tremendous and I love the way the cake batter crisps up at the edges. Just be warned that the red beans are like molten when freshly cooked. Who knows why they are in the shape of fish. But it’s more fun than a regular old circle and provides lighthearted internal dialogue facing the dilema of what to bite into first, head or tail?