by Emily Giedzinski
Yaksik (aka Yakbap) is a traditional Korean food that can be eaten as a snack or dessert. It’s a sweet alternative to less healthy finger food choices (like cookies and chips). It can also act as a great replacement for granola bars. It’s a great way to bring a little Korean culture to your family.
Yaksik is a ball of sweet glutinous rice embedded with healthy ingredients like nuts and jujubes (Korean dates), infused with delicious honey. It’s often present at weddings and parties in Korean culture, and is traditionally eaten on Jan. 15th's “Full Moon” holiday.”
The tradition of Yaksik dates back 1,500 years. That’s when the legend of King Soji, the 21st king of Silla, reportedly received warning of his impending death via a letter delivered by a crow. By reading the letter, the king was able to narrowly escape his planned murder. To reward the crow’s good deed, the king ordered people to create a treat made of foods crows generally enjoy (rice, jujubes, chestnuts, etc.) and to create a ritual around it. Now it is eaten every year at the Full Moon of January holiday in Korea. It is one of four main traditional Korean celebrations.
The name Yaksik for this food is derived from its ingredients. “Yak” means medicine, and “Sik” means food. Ingredients used in preparation like honey were believed to have medicinal benefits due to their healthy nature.
Share this sweet treat and some of its rich history with the whole family! Whether as a snack, finger food, or dessert, Yaksik is sure to please and entice with its delicious flavors and rich significance.
FYI: There’s a bit of prep time and cooking time that goes into this – so plan ahead, find the ingredients you need (though the nuts and dried fruit are easily replaceable with most types of nut and fruit), and can keep a close eye on them while in the oven.
Comprehensive recipes and information on Yaksik can be found on sites like these: