Christmas Dinner: Korea Style

By Nicole Simpkin

With Christmas right around the corner, people have been going crazy preparing for the holidays--buying gifts, putting up decorations, and of course, eating food. Every year, we all sit around one large table with our loved ones to enjoy a delicious meal compiled of a huge turkey that no one knows how to cut, and some vegetables that parents have to sneak onto their kids plates while everyone’s pulling crackers over each other’s meal and drinking all sorts of beverages. In the background, some merry Christmas tunes are playing, and to us, it’s the perfect holiday dinner. However, in Korea, this tradition has some slight differences.

Christmas in Korea is not seen as a major holiday like it is in most western countries, and it’s not unusual to see many families and friends going out to restaurants on this day. One popular thing to do at this time of year is visiting a buffet and eating a variety of different foods--seafood being a very popular option. Many restaurants are fully booked up!

Of course, people still have meals in their homes, but instead of having the classic turkey and other range of meats that we may be used to, they have Korean traditional dishes, such as bulgogi, and instead of serving steamed or roasted vegetables they have many side dishes such as sweet potato noodles, and of course, kimchi. A range of other warm foods, such as porridge, may also be prepared, just to keep the cold away.

For me, and I’m sure many of you agree, Christmas dinner is a highlight of the day! In Korea, it may be just another meal, but one spent with friends and family that still has that nice warm, cheerful atmosphere present at every holiday!

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