Rosé Tteokbokki with Crab

A creamy pink gochujang sauce smothers bouncy rice cakes in this Korean street food favorite.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    30 minutes


By Jia H. Jung

Published on February 9, 2024

Hybridized Korean Italian fare first began spreading through the street food alleys and bunsikjeom (snack restaurants) of Korea in the early 2000s, in response to growing demand for Italian flavors. One of the most enduringly popular dishes from the canon of Korean Italian eats has been rosé tteokbokki. Traditionally, tteokbokki calls for simmering tteok, chewy Korean rice cakes, in a spicy-sweet gochujang sauce. But around 2006, after Korea loosened trade restrictions on Italian products, street food vendors—drawing inspiration from vodka sauce—began adding heavy cream to classic tteokbokki. They named the concoction “rosé” for its pinkish-orange hue. In food writer Jia H. Jung’s crab rosé tteokbokki recipe, she uses crème fraîche for its thick, creamy texture and subtle tang, and adds crab for a fancy flourish.

Look for tube- or oval-shaped tteok at your local Korean grocer, or online. Pair this one-pot meal with chilled soju or a bowl of makgeolli, unrefined rice wine. 


  • 1½ lb. tteok (tube- or oval-shaped)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbsp. gochujang
  • One 6-oz. can lump crab meat
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk, from a can
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Finely chopped parsley leaves, for garnish


Step 1

In a large bowl, rinse the tteok under cold running water, separating any pieces that are stuck together, and drain.

Step 2

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crème fraîche and gochujang and stir well to combine. Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir in the crab and tteok. Add the coconut milk and salt and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened and the tteok are soft, about 10 minutes. (If the sauce looks dry, or if the tteok stick to the bottom of the pan, loosen the mixture with 1–2 tablespoons of water, adding more as needed.) Season to taste with more salt and black pepper, divide among serving bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve warm.

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