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hodo kwaja

hodo kwaja

Hodo kwaja is a Korean filled sweet that is shaped like a walnut. In the mid- 1930s, a Korean baker (one Mr. Cho Kwigum) was apparently contemplating a madeleine and said to himself “You know what would be great? It would be great if there was stuff inside of this thing.” He gave it a distinctive walnut shaped mold, chose a popular filling, and named it, and Korea has loved them ever since. We found a coffee shop (descriptively named “Hodo Kwaja”) in Little Korea in Toronto that sold hodo kwaja, madeleines, hot coffee, and nothing else.

But I don’t just want to tell you about Hodo Kwaja, I want to show them to you. So I made a short film about them. You can view it in low (1 Mb), medium (3 Mb), or high (7.5 Mb) resolution versions. If you’ve the bandwidth to spare, get the high res version. (Since all video plugins for every browser are stupid and don’t allow resizing, best results will be obtained by right- clicking the link and choosing “save”, then watching in a standalone video program where you can make it full screen. But just clicking should work too. The movies are in Quicktime format; if you click on the links and don’t get a movie you can install the free Quicktime player and try again.) The walnuts are filled with either a red bean paste or a mixture of mashed potatoes and walnuts or almonds. The dough is a basic madeleine dough like you or I would make at home. The mashed potato hodo have a cloying maple flavor that makes them taste a little too breakfasty for me. I preferred the red bean versions, but the rule here is “get whichever ones are still hot.” Their coffee is great.

walnut-machine

The Machine

The most impressive part of the experience, for me, was the robotic hodo kwaja assembler, which inspired me to come back the next day with the video camera and make this short film. I want one of those machines for my living room. Oh yes. Oh yes, I do.

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about the process of making this video and some neat things I learned about Final Cut Pro, but for now, just enjoy the video. And, if you’re hungry, make yourself some madeleines.

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