|Place of origin||Korea|
|Associated national cuisine||Korean cuisine|
|Main ingredients||Edible flowers, glutinous rice flour, honey|
Hwajeon (화전; 花煎), or flower cake is a small Korean pan-fried rice cake. It is made out of glutinous rice flour, honey and edible petals from seasonal flowers, such as rhododendron. It is eaten during the festivals of Samjinnal and Buddha's Birthday.
The word hwajeon (화전; 花煎) is a compound noun made of the Sino-Korean word hwa (화; 花), meaning "flower", and the Sino-Korean word jeon (전; 煎), meaning "a pan-fry". The synonyms kkot-bukkumi (꽃부꾸미) and kkot-jijimi (꽃지지미) are also compounds of the native Korean word kkot (꽃), meaning "flower", and bukkumi (부꾸미), meaning a "pan-fried rice cake"; or kkot (꽃) and jijimi (지지미), meaning "pancake".
Hwajeon is made of edible petals from seasonal flowers. Typically, rhododendron, pear flower, goldenbell flower, cherry blossom, and violet are used in spring; rose is used in summer; and chrysanthemum and cockscomb are used in autumn. In winter when flowers are scarce in Korea, alternatives like mugwort leaves, waterdropwort leaves, rock tripe, or jujubes are cut into flower shapes and used instead.
There are two main ways of preparing hwajeon:
Fried flower cakes are soaked in honey to add sweetness and sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
Hwajeon nori, which literally translates to "flower cake play", is a tradition of going on a picnic in the mountains to watch the seasonal flowers during spring and autumn.
In spring, women used to go on a picnic, carrying a glutinous rice flour and griddle near a stream on Samjinnal which falls on every third day of the third lunar month in the Korean calendar. They picked edible spring blossoms and made hwajeon. The variety made with rhododendron is regarded as the most representative hwajeon. It is traditionally eaten with rhododendron punch consisting of the same flower floating in honeyed or magnolia berry water.
Similarly, people enjoyed hwajeon nori in autumn, with hwajeon which is made with chrysanthemum flowers and leaves. It was consumed with chrysanthemum wine or yuja punch. The custom is closely related to the Junggu, the traditional holiday falls on every ninth day of the ninth lunar month in the Korean calendar.
These customs date back to the Three Kingdoms era (57 BCE ‒ 668 AD) and originated in Silla.