Home Korean Ingredient Glossary Korean Sweet Potato (Goguma)

Korean Sweet Potato (Goguma)

by Emily
An overhead shot of Korean sweet potatoes (goguma) in wire basket. The basket sits on a cream table cloth.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details at the bottom of this page. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases on this Korean sweet potato ingredient article! I hope you enjoy learning about goguma (고구마), otherwise known as Korean sweet potatoes!

What Are Goguma (Korean Sweet Potatoes)?

In the Korean language, people refer to sweet potatoes as ‘goguma’ (고구마). Most commonly, people eat three varieties of sweet potato in South Korea. They are as listed below: 

Bam Goguma (밤고구마): In English, we can translate this to ‘chestnut sweet potatoes.’ This variety famously has a chestnut-like flavor with a golden, yellow flesh when cooked. 

Mul Goguma (물고구마): We can translate this to ‘water sweet potatoes.’ This variety has a moisture content compared to the chestnut sweet potatoes. While they also have reddish, purple skin with golden yellow flesh, they tend to be thin and long compared to the chestnut sweet potato variety.

Hobak Goguma (호박고구마): Finally, in English, we can translate this variety to ‘pumpkin sweet potato.’ This variety has light brown skin. The flesh is orange rather than golden. Once cooked, this variety tastes very sweet and has a creamy texture.

My husband and I enjoy baking these different varieties of Korean sweet potato until they are soft. Then, we eat them while hot with some kimchi. Learn how to bake Korean sweet potatoes in my recipe article

A side shot of Korean sweet potatoes (goguma) in wire basket. The basket sits on a cream table cloth.

Korean Sweet Potatoes in Korean Cuisine:

As stated above, in South Korea, people refer to Korean sweet potatoes as goguma (고구마). In Korean cuisine, people use and eat these potatoes both fresh and dried.

Below, I list a few different ways people use goguma as an ingredient: 

  • Goguma-Mallaengi (고구마 말랭이): In English, we can translate this to ‘dried sweet potatoes.’ People in South Korea eat dried sweet potatoes as a delicious healthy snack. You can use any variety to make this dish. You can also buy this snack pre-made in stores and online!
  • Goguma Twigim (고구마 튀김): This Korean street food is made by deep frying Korean sweet potato slices in batter. I like all varieties of sweet potato when making this fried street dish. 
  • Goguma Pizza (고구마 피자): In Korea, people love sweet potato pizza! Some pizza companies make a creamy sweet potato puree that gets added to the crust while others add sliced potatoes on top of the pizza. Either way, sweet potato pizza is a popular order for people across the country! People tend to use the chestnut sweet potato variety when putting it on pizza. 
  • Goguma Latte (고구마라떼): We can translate this as ‘sweet potato latte.’ To make this drink, people in Korea combine roasted or steamed sweet potatoes with frothed milk, a sweetener, and some spices. They call it a latte though it contains no coffee or caffeine. Learn how to make this drink via my recipe article!

Korean Sweet Potato (Goguma) Frequently Asked Questions:

Now that we learned about goguma in Korean cuisine, I want to answer some questions you may have about this ingredient! If I do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email me at [email protected]

Where Can I Buy This Ingredient?

You can buy different varieties of Korean sweet potatoes at most Korean or Asian grocery stores! Further, many Whole Foods grocery store locations now carry the chestnut sweet potato variety now. 

Note: This ingredient is often labeled as ‘Japanese sweet potatoes,’ ‘Asian sweet potatoes,’ and/or ‘Korean yams’ at grocery stores. 

An overhead shot of Korean sweet potatoes (goguma) in wire basket. The basket sits on a cream table cloth.

How Do I Properly Store a Korean Sweet Potato?

I recommend storing your goguma in a cool, dry place such as your pantry. It is important to note that you should never store sweet potatoes in the same container as onions or garlic. These two vegetables cause potatoes and sweet potatoes to rot faster. 

What Is a Korean Sweet Potato Substitute?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a great substitute for Korean sweet potatoes. As I stated above, while Korean sweet potatoes have a similar texture to russet potatoes, they taste less than other varieties of sweet potatoes (except for the hobak goguma variety). 

An overhead shot of Korean sweet potatoes in wire basket. The basket sits on a cream table cloth.

I Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Korean Sweet Potatoes (Goguma)!

In the end, I hope you enjoyed learning about the uses of sweet potatoes in Korean cuisine. If so, let me know in the comment section! 

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find recipes as well as further Korean ingredient articles on my blog. I listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by my family’s blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Korean Ingredient Articles: 

Further Carving A Journey Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email me at [email protected]. And, finally, I would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow me at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog YouTube channel with my husband! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to the blog by joining the mailing list. Let me know if you try using Korean sweet potatoes (goguma) while cooking! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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