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Just about anywhere you go across Cheonan, you’ll find stores selling Hodu-gwaja, or 호두과자 – which translates to walnut cookies or walnut cakes. What is the history behind these treats, what are they made of, and where are some good spots to purchase them from? Read on to find out.

Cheonan’s Connection to Hodu-gwaja

If you’ve ever tried hodu-gwaja, it might be news to you that they were actually first made right here in Cheonan – all the way back in 1934, in fact! Their popularity spread across Korea around the 1970’s, and nowadays you can find them in all corners of the country. I’ve tried them in numerous places across Korea, and I still think the ones I’ve enjoyed in Cheonan take top spot.

What are they made of?

Hodu-gwaja are a pastry-like sweet which is shaped like a walnut. The outer dough is made of pounded walnuts mixed with flour, and inside you’ll find smooth red bean paste and a piece of walnut itself. They have just the right amount of sweetness, but not overpoweringly so – they’re a great pick-me-up with a cup of coffee.

Where are some places to find Hodu-gwaja?

Naturally, given the popularity of hodu-gwaja, there are a large number of places to find them. If you’re heading through Cheonan Station, head out of Exit 1 (past the tourist information center) and you’ll find a number of bakeries selling them right there. Hodoonara is one of the first you’ll walk past, and you can take a look at their menu online here to plan out what you want to purchase before your visit. Just around the corner from there, you’ll find a place called Hakhwa Grandma’s Walnut Confectionery, said to be one of the most famous places to buy hodu-gwaja from. This is what the front of the building looks like.

The prices for hodu gwaja are also very reasonable. At this place, you can get 20 pieces for only 5000 won. You’ll also find hodu-gwaja when you’re on the road, as they are sold at just about every rest stop – including Cheonan’s Manghyang Rest Area.

Have you tried hodu-gwaja in Cheonan? Where are your favorite places to buy them from? Let me know in the comments below!

How to get there?