What comes to mind when we think of a Thanksgiving dinner? Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and lots of cornbread. Yet, this is not so in other parts of the world. For Korea, Chuseok is a time when families get together in their ancestral cities or towns and celebrate by eating many different foods. Together they prepare many traditional dishes which include songpyeong, galbi jjim, jeon, and much more.
Chuseok means Autumn Eve, which is indicative of the time of year it is celebrated: the very end of summer and beginning of fall. The interesting thing to know about Chuseok is that most people try to prepare foods using the new year’s crops. Thus, the large array of multi-coloured foods and ingredients.
1. Songpyeon (송편) – sweet and nutty rice cakes
These glutinous rice cakes are made from the new year’s rice crop. They are the staple in celebrating Chuseok and are very colourful. To find out more about songpyeon, check out our other article here!
2. Galbi Jjim (갈비찜) – Braised short ribs
The sticky consistency of the braised short ribs pair perfectly with a fresh bowl of rice.
3. Jeon (전) – Fried pancake
The name for this jeon can be translated as tri-coloured jeon. It primary consists of ham, green onion and crab sticks. But, people mix and match ingredients, resulting in these beautifully multi-coloured skewers.
The type of jeon shown below is one of the many prepared during Chuseok (and any other large holiday). The perilla leaf (sesame leaf) is stuffed with beef and fried in egg and flour. It is both delicious and unique.
4. Saengseontwigim (생선튀김) - fried fish
Another typical dish that can be found during Chuseok is fried fish. Any type of fish can be used but most often you will find is the croaker fish, or jogi (조기) in Korea.
- Sikhye (식혜) – sweet rice drinks
Not only is this a super popular drink at the Korean saunas, but it is also a traditional drink during Chuseok. Sikhye is made by adding malt water to cooked rice and cooking it until its sweet.
2. Dongdongju (동동주) – fermented rice beverage
Many mysteries surround the difference between makgeolli and dongdongju. Simply put, dongdongju goes through a much quicker fermentation process and is the unfiltered version of makgeolli.