Hangwa (한과; 韓菓) is a general term for traditional Korean confections.[1] With tteok (rice cakes), hangwa forms the sweet food category in Korean cuisine.[2] Various hangwa have been used in traditional ceremonies such as jerye (ancestral rite) and hollye (wedding). In modern South Korea, hangwa is also available at coffee shops and tea houses.[3]

Various hangwa
Place of originKorea
Associated national cuisineKorean cuisine
Korean name
Revised Romanizationhangwa
Revised Romanizationjogwa
Revised Romanizationgwajeong-ryu

Common ingredients of hangwa include grain flour, fruits and roots, sweet ingredients such as honey and yeot, and spices such as cinnamon and ginger.[4]


Hangwa (한과; 韓菓) as meaning "Korean confectionery" is a name given to traditional confections in contrast to yanggwa (양과; 洋菓), meaning "Western confectionery".[5] In the past hangwa was called jogwa (조과; 造果) as meaning "crafted fruit" or gwajeongnyu (과정류; 果飣類) as meaning "fruit food category".[4]


The history of hangwa goes back to the era of the three kingdoms (57 BCE ‒ 668 CE), when various types of confections were consumed by royals, according to the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms.[3][6]

Passing the two Buddhist dynasties, Unified Silla in the era of two kingdoms (698–926) and Goryeo (936‒1392), the cultivation of crops and consumption of confections increased drastically as the Buddhist diets forbade meat.[3] Confections were offered in Goryeo's national feasts, rites, ceremonies, and banquets, including the two Buddhist festivals, the Lotus Lantern Festival and the Festival of the Eight Vows. Prevailing tea ceremonies also required more types of confections.

Concerns regarding the increasingly excessive use of confections that have large amounts of oil, grain, and honey have consequently lead to several regulations throughout the course of its history.[3] In 1117, King Sukjong issued a restriction on the extravagant usage of deep-fried grain confections. In 1192, it was commanded to replace deep-fried grain confections with fruits. In 1353, a total ban was placed on deep-fried grain confections.

Restrictions continued in the Joseon (1392‒1897), according to Comprehensive Collection of the National Codes that recorded that the use of deep-fried grain confections was restricted solely for rites, weddings, and toasts to longevity.[3] Commoners caught eating them on occasions other than that were subjected to monetary fines or corporal punishment.[3]


Hangwa can be classified into eight main categories, namely dasik (tea food), gwapyeon (fruit jelly), jeonggwa (fruit jerky), suksil-gwa, yeot-gangjeong, yugwa, yumil-gwa, and candies.[7]

Other hangwa varieties include:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Doo, Rumy (7 July 2017). "[Weekender] Extravagant desserts, once banned, return to spotlight". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  2. ^ Koehler, Robert (February 2017). "Korea's Sweet Tooth: People love their desserts, both traditional and exotic". KOREA, issuu.com. Korean Culture and Information Service. p. 6. Retrieved 5 August 2017 – via issuu.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Noh, Hyun-gi (19 January 2012). "Art and history of 'hangwa'". The Korea Times. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Hangwa". Hangaone. Hangwa Culture Museum. Retrieved 11 January 2017.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Hangwa-ryu" 한과류. Doopedia (in Korean). Doosan Corporation. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  6. ^ Iryeon (1281). Samguk yusa 삼국유사(三國遺事) [Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms] (in Literary Chinese). Goryeo Korea.
  7. ^ Kwon, Yong-Seok; Kim, Young; Kim, Yang-Suk; Choe, Jeong-Sook; Lee, Jin-Young (2012). "An Exploratory Study on Kwa-Jung-ryu of Head Families". Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture (in Korean). 27 (6): 588–597. doi:10.7318/kjfc/2012.27.6.588.
  8. ^ "Suksil-gwa" 숙실과. Doopedia (in Korean). Doosan Corporation. Retrieved 26 July 2017.