11 Popular Foods on New Year in South Korea
|A traditional meal in South Korea. Photo: Soompi|
For Koreans and other cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year, the holiday season doesn’t end with the stroke of the clock on January 1st. Yes, the party isn’t over yet!! Based on the traditional lunar calendar, this celebration usually takes place around January or February, marking the beginning of a new lunar. In South Korea, the holiday is called Seollal 설날. It’s a time to gather with family members, pay respect to ancestors, and enjoy foods specially made for the occasion.
Now that these basics are covered, let’s have a feast!
We hope you enjoy the recipes and have a happy and prosperous new year!
11 KOREAN NEW YEAR FOODS YOU SHOULD TRY
1. TTEOKGUK (떡국, KOREAN RICE CAKE SOUP)
Tteokguk is “the Korean new year soup”. The shape of the rice cake resembles old-style Korean coins, so the soup has a symbolic meaning of riches and prosperity!
2. MANDUGUK (만둣국, KOREAN DUMPLING SOUP)
Manduguk is a tteokguk alternative in some parts of Korea (e.g. North Korea). Though many families (like mine) make a hybrid version of manduguk (aka tteok manduguk) by adding some rice cakes as well.
3. KIMCHI MANDU (김치만두, KIMCHI DUMPLINGS)
Many families make their own mandu/dumplings to add to the soups mentioned above. My family’s version has always been kimchi pork mandu!
4. HEART MATSAL JEON (하트 맛살전, HEART SHAPED IMITATION CRAB OMELETTES)
Jeon (전) is a type of Korean pancake and it is commonly served during festive Korean holidays. These heart shaped imitation crab omelettes are a trendy jeon.
5. PYOGO BEOSEOT-JEON (표고버섯전, STUFFED SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS)
Another popular jeon recipe. This one is packed with delicious and healthy protein!
6. BULGOGI (불고기, KOREAN BBQ BEEF)
Photo: Food Network
Traditionally, Korean families always served bulgogi at new year’s day breakfast table. Bulgogi is a sweet and savory Korean marinated beef.
7. GALBI JJIM (갈비찜, KOREAN BRAISED SHORT RIBS)
Galbi jjim is supremely tender and delicious Korean braised short ribs. It is coated with sticky, salty, sweet, and nutty sauce. It’s hugely addictive!
8. JAPCHAE (잡채, KOREAN GLASS NOODLE STIR FRY)
Japchae is made with bouncy textured glass noodles and various vegetables. It’s a very popular Korean appetizer and side dish.
9. YAKSIK (약식, KOREAN SWEET RICE WITH DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS)
Yaksik means medicinal food. One of the key ingredients used is honey and honey was considered as a medicine in the old days in Korea.
Yaksik is moderately sweet and has a sticky texture. Nonetheless, it’s a popular Korean dessert often served during festive occasions (e.g. new year’s day, weddings and 60th birthday).
10. SUJEONGGWA (수정과, KOREAN CINNAMON PUNCH)
Sujeonggwa is a popular dessert drink. It’s infused with ginger, cinnamon and some sugar, so it’s sweet and has a mild gingery bitter taste. It’s known to help with digestion.
11. SIKHYE (식혜, KOREAN SWEET RICE DRINK)
Sikhye is another popular Korean traditional drink often enjoyed during the Korean festive holidays. It has a sweet flavor and unique nutty barley smell. Also, known to help with digestion.
Korean new year’s day is probably the biggest national holiday in Korea. Families and relatives get together and they pay respect to their ancestors. Also, they eat lots of food, play some traditional Korean games and give gifts to each other.
So, how do you say "Happy New Year" in Korean?
Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo (새해 복 많이 받으세요)!
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