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Since we moved from South Korea in 1992, my parents work six days a week at their dry cleaning store and Sunday is their only day off. Knowing that ddukbokki has been my favorite food since childhood, my mom would make me this dish every Sunday morning. Even now as an adult living away from my parents, I make this dish on Sunday mornings so that I can continue this tradition with my own child.

This is an overhead view of a bowl filled with ddukbokki that is precisely drawn using contour lines and washes of color with special attention to texture and shading. The shadows of the deep rounded soup bowl are rendered in purple washes and the background of the composition is the white of the paper. A hardboiled egg sits on the left side of the bowl as ramen noodles intermix with the thick cylinder-shaped dduk (Korean rice cake) coated in a red sauce. Slices of SPAM and onion pop through. The dish is garnished with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
Jave Yoshimoto, Aram Han Sifuentes’ Ddukbokki, 2021, ink, watercolor and gouache on paper, 9″ x 12″.

떡볶이 ddukbokki*


    • dduk (fresh or frozen)
    • 1 can of Spam
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (I use premium perilla oil)
    • 1 medium sized onion
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 carrot
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1-2 tablespoon gochujang
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 package of ramen
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
    • 2 green onions

Optional: Make soft boiled eggs


    1. I usually use half the package of fresh dduk or about 1/3 of the frozen package. If it is frozen, defrost in cold water and leave it for 10 minutes. Fresh or frozen, you’ll need to separate each of the dduk pieces from each other.
    2. Mince 3 garlic cloves, slice the onion and carrot, and cut half the can of Spam. I like to cut the spam into small rectangles.
    3. Throw garlic, onion, carrot, and spam into a deep sauté pan with 1 teaspoon of sesame or perilla oil. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
    4. Then add the dduk and put in enough water to submerge the dduk. I use the water used to defrost the frozen dduk because it has starch in it to thicken. This isn’t necessary.
    5. Add 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and depending on how spicy you want it, add 1-2 tablespoon gochujang. Make sure you dissolve and mix the honey and gochujang well. Cook until the liquid boils and bubbles.
    6. Once the liquid is boiling, add your dry ramen noodles. Make sure you can submerge this in the liquid. If there isn’t enough, feel free to add more. Let it cook for another couple of minutes until the ramen is cooked then turn off the heat.
    7. Add green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
    8. Spoon onto your plate and you can add your soft-boiled eggs at this point. You can also add some shredded cheese on top.

*(technically this is Rabokki because it includes Ramen)

Aram Han Sifuentes is pictured standing on the rooftop of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri. With an exuberant smile on her face, she has her feet spread far apart and her arms are outstretched holding a banner with bold white block letters against a busy abstract pattern that reads “Trust Black Womxn.” The banner is from her Protest Banner Lending Library and covers most of her body. Aram, a Korean American woman in her mid-thirties, has wavy long black hair and is dressed in black and wears white polygon-shaped wire-rim glasses.
Photo credit: Virginia Harold/Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Aram Han Sifuentes is a fiber and social practice artist, writer, and educator who works to center immigrant and disenfranchised communities. Her work often revolves around skill sharing, specifically sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, subversion, and protest.

Han Sifuentes earned her B.A. in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been a recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Map Fund, Asian Cultural Council’s Individual Fellowship, 3Arts Award, and 3Arts Next Level/Spare Room Award. Her project Protest Banner Lending Library was a finalist for the Beazley Design Awards at the Design Museum in London in 2016.

Solo exhibitions of her work have been shown at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Chicago Cultural Center, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Hyde Park Art Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and Skirball Cultural Center.

A sunlit billboard in Philadelphia is the main focus of this horizontally oriented photograph. Written in large white block letters against a busy abstract patterned background, the sign reads “Tired of Waiting for Permission to Call America Home.” According to Mural Arts Philidelphia’s Instagram, this was billboard is part of their “Messages to Our Neighbors” project in which artist Aram Han Sifuentes “worked with high school students to explore the intersection of citizenship, immigration, and belonging.” The billboard hangs between powerlines and there are trees in the background of this Northeast Philadelphia street scene. The Castor Avenue street below is a quiet multicultural urban street with a flooring business with Chinese lettering, a hair salon, and a coffee shop. Work trucks and vans are parked in front.
Messages to Our Neighbors: Tired of Waiting For Permission to Call America Home © 2021 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Aram Han Sifuentes & Art Education Students, Castor & Tyson Avenues. Photo by Steve Weinik.

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