When I first visited Korea as a child, one of my earliest memories was stopping at the large rest stops along the road and smelling the wonderful walnut cakes. The aroma of caramelized batter and red bean was intoxicating, something that I will always associate with the windy, chilly autumns in Korea.
These snacks, called hodu-gwaja, often come in white paper bags to keep them warm, and even as an adult I can’t help but flop all of them into my mouth. It’s pretty rare to find good hodu-gwaja in North America, but here in Toronto, a shop called Hodo Kwaja has been specializing in them for over 26 years ago. There’s the forever class red bean filling, but Hodo Kwaja also stuffs these little pastries with mashed potatoes, which are fantastically sweet and just as good as I remember — no matter the filling.