I was raised on a steady supply of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, so tteok, the omnipresent Korean dessert made from glutinous rice flour, was a bland disappointment the first time I tried it. I thought that the subtlety might grow on me, but it hasn't. I used to wish there were some sort of element of interest to it until the time I was given pine needle flavored tteok by a co-worker, which made me much more appreciative of the basic, tasteless tteok.
There are some varieties of tteok with sweet fillings that I like, but I feel pretty confident that regular tteok will never please my spoiled palate. However, that doesn't mean I couldn't appreciate the beauty and variety of the tteok on display for a competition last week at Seoul's folk village. Particularly impressive were the entries whose creators had brought their own screens as backgrounds for their displays. I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the taste of any of them, but I enjoyed the spirit in which they were created, and fortunately they were meant to be feasts for the eyes anyway. (By the way, the plates were all covered with saran wrap, so I apologize for the sheen on some of the photos, which I did my best to minimize.)