|Place of origin||Korea|
|Associated cuisine||Korean cuisine|
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Hangwa (Korean: 한과; Hanja: 韓菓) is a general term for traditional Korean confections. With tteok (rice cakes), hangwa forms the sweet food category in Korean cuisine. Common ingredients of hangwa include grain flour, fruits and roots, sweet ingredients such as honey and yeot, and spices such as cinnamon and ginger.
Hangwa (한과; 韓菓) translates to "Korean confectionery" referring to traditional confections contrasting with yanggwa (양과; 洋菓), which identifies "Western confectionery". In the past hangwa was called jogwa (조과; 造果) which means "artificial fruit" or gwajeongnyu (과정류; 果飣類) as meaning "fruit food category".
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 during festivities, national holidays or in court, according to the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms.
Following 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. 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 consumption of confections that have large amounts of oil, grain, and honey have consequently lead to several regulations throughout the course of its history. In 1117, King Sukjong restricted the extravagant usage of deep-fried grain confections. In 1192, deep-fried grain confections were mandated to be replaced with fruits and in 1353, a total ban on deep-fried grain confections was issued.
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. Commoners caught eating them on occasions other than that were subjected to monetary fines or corporal punishment.
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.
Other hangwa varieties include:
Traditionally, hangwa was offered during jesa (ancestrial rites), chuseok (harvest festival), geolhonshik (weddings) or hwanggap (sixtieth-birthday) celebrations. Today hangwa can be purchased online, in markets, coffee shops or at tea houses.
In the 1900s, hangwa began to fall out of favor with the introduction of sugar and western confection. In recent years, it has seen a revitalization and is associated with holiday food. With the rising demand for hangwa, this market has seen increased support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery. Today, it is offered as ceremonial food and is often gifted especially during seollal (Korean New Years). As society has sought healthier alternatives in consumable goods, efforts to produce confections to stimulate wellness began. Healthier hangwa was created by adding ginseng, green tea, and laver.
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