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Pop! Pop! Another snack

Snack machine’s “gunfire” adds the puff

Oct 19,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Mr. Travis, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Mr. Travis:
I’ve seen a truckload full of these puffy things in all different shapes. In some residential areas, I saw an elderly man making it using a dark brown steel machine. At some point, the machine generates a loud, explosive sound that startles passers-by. I’ve also seen both schoolchildren and grown-ups carrying a large bag full of thin, light brown disks. I can tell this is a popular snack in Korea, but what exactly is it?

A. IHT-JAD:
What you’re seeing on the streets is a traditional Korean snack, popularly known as ppeongtwigi, a kind of rice puff. A spoonful of roasted rice is pressure-cooked inside a special “grain puffing” machine. There are a variety of ppeongtwigi ingredients, like roasted corn, barley and other basic grains. Korean-style rice puffs have been an all-time favorite among all ages because it is naturally sweet, low in calories and cheap. And people always prefer freshly made puffs to the packaged supermarket variety.


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