Rice Cake Soup (tteokguk)

by MJ

Eating Rice Cake Soup (tteokguk) for New Years Day is a Korean tradition to bring good luck for the year ahead.  The white rice cake (tteok) signifies a clean fresh start for the new year and the round shape that looks like coins symbolize prosperity. 

Use pre sliced rice cakes available in the refrigerated section or fresh rice cakes, which you can slice. To learn how to make homemade rice cakes, see my post for  Garaetteok.

Beef brisket or flank is traditionally added to the soup. I usually cut the beef into strips so that it takes less time to cook but that’s optional. If cooking whole beef, cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Remove from the pot, shred the beef into thin strips and add back to the pot.

As the soup has a light color broth, soup soy sauce is added as it’s lighter in color than regular soy sauce but saltier in taste so you use less than regular soy sauce. If you can’t find soup soy sauce, you can substitute with fish sauce. 

Rice Cake Tips:  

Leftover cooked rice cake turns mushy so only add enough rice cakes for one sitting. If you want to have some more soup the next day, reserve some of the broth. When ready to eat,  boil the broth, add the uncooked rice cakes until tender. 

Store any leftover uncooked rice cakes in the freezer. 

Rice Cake Soup (tteokguk)

Serves: 3-4
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 8 cups water
  • ½ pound beef brisket or flank, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 onion, cut in half 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb rice cakes, sliced 
  • 1 Tablespoon soup soy sauce or fish sauce ( more to taste) 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil ( more to taste) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1-2 eggs, separated and seasoned with salt and pepper  
  • 2 green onions, sliced (reserve some of the green parts for garnish) 
  • Optional garnish: egg yolk, toasted seaweed, and green onions 


Bring water to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat to medium low,  add beef, onion and garlic. Cook covered for 30-35 minutes or until the beef is tender. Discard the onion. 

While the beef is simmering, soak rice cakes in water to soften if frozen. 

Pan fry the egg yolk: separate the egg yolk and egg white and season with pinch of salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a pan and cook the egg yolk on both sides until 

Once cool enough to handle, slice into thin strips and reserve for garnish. 

Once the beef is tender, add soup soy sauce (or fish sauce), sesame oil and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add  the rice cakes and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the rice cakes are soft.   Stir in the reserved egg white. 

Turn off the heat and add green onions. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with sliced egg yolk,  crushed seaweed and green onions. 

Did You Make This Recipe?
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