My Super Food – Nian Gao – 年糕 – Rice cakes – Teokk – 떡

niangao 2 kinds
Seriously. Nian gao is amazing. Made from glutinous rice flour and formed into shapes which you can boil, fry, flavour with pretty much anything. I LOVE them. Chewy and sticky and lovely with so many possible flavours.

If you’re bored of rice or noodles, I urge you, try these. They are SO versatile. If you’re a fan of Korean cuisine, you’ll probably already know about niangao, or in Korean, teokk, or dukk. All translates as rice cakes. Asking for this in an Asian supermarket can be tricky though, as I found. As rice cakes, or even rice sticks, doesn’t work. Even using the actual language didn’t work for me… I had to spot it myself…

korean food dukbokki

On the left, dukbokki/teokbokki(spicy Korean rice cakes, very popular street food), on the right premixed bibimbap(I’ll go into more detail later on sometime) from the Korean place across the road from where I lived in Dinghai, Both delicious, and cheap, coming to around £2 for both.

So Niangao, could in theory replace your starchy food, like potato with a main meal, or rice, noodles, whatever you’re eating or cooking with. My favourite kinds of niangao were mostly stir fried in a simple soy sauce mixture I’m guessing, which I got at various local establishments while living in China. Never did I have chao niangao I didn’t like. Usually cooked with some veggies; like Chinese white cabbage, maybe a little spring onion, carrot and whatever they have I bet, you can have it with ground meat or thinly sliced meat too. I think pork was most common probably, if you ask for a dish with meat in without specifying the kind of meat, it’ll probably end up being pork, since it’s cheapest. That or something you might not wanna think about ^_^ if you believe the masses.

chao nian gao

This is more or less an accurate representation of how chao niangao(fried ricecakes) looked when I ordered it, rice cakes mixed with stuff! And it tasted yummeh. Even when I did it myself, which is something i should be proud of.

Usually niangao comes in two shapes, the chubby stick shape, or the flat disks, pictured above in the first image. I prefer the stick kind by far, it’s chewier, compared to the disks, which can end up being a little slimy if you cook them wrong, but you might like that, hell, I don’t mind it, you can crisp them up round the edges and stuff, also good. Niangao in general=good.


This looks like it’s just fried in some light soy sauce mix of sorts. Looks yummy though….

So I wholeheartedly implore you to go to your nearest Asian supermarket and look for some. It may come in a thicker stick form too which you have to cut up yourself. And you can get it vacuum packed, dried, or fresh. One time one of my students mothers bought be a bunch of fresh handmade niangao as a gift because she knew I liked it so much. I couldn’t eat it fast enough, even kept in the fridge, shoulda frozen some of it….


Vacuum packed for freshness :333 I usually got the kind in the red packs in the chilled cabinet in China, and basically bought what I can get in the UK, also in a red packet, but different kind. Still good though.

dried rice cakes

Dried disk rice cakes, I bought a pack similar to this YEARS ago, before I knew what the hell it was. They sat in my drawer for ages, never knew what to do with them….

And this is more how dukbokki/teokbokki should look tbh, with a bit more sauce and maybe some veggies and fishcake with it. I’m good with just the ricecakes thought ❤ More filling too. Chinese dukbokki will never be as authentic lol. Like Chinese bibimbap. But still, both were delicious :3



All the pics I found were on google images unless otherwise specified, the last one comes from a great site which has alot of delicious Korean recipes, all of which I can’t eat or try for at least 2 weeks…. more like 4…. more like 6…. goddamn Modulin…


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