The Korean New Year, also known as Seollal (설날), is fast approaching and Koreans everywhere are getting ready to welcome it with their families and relatives. Filled with rituals, gift-giving, and games, Seollal is a three-day celebration brimming with joy and fun. Another highlight of the holiday is Seollal food! To give you a glimpse of the mouthwatering dishes, here are six traditional Korean New Year foods!
Tteokguk, or also known as Korean rice cake soup, is rice cakes sliced into thin oval shapes in beef broth. The oval shape of the rice cake symbolizes old-style Korean coins, which is why the soup is meant to bring riches and prosperity for the new year! Eating a bowl of tteokguk also symbolizes good health and a long life.
Manduguk is a Korean dumpling soup, which is an alternative to tteokguk. In some regions of Korea, it’s preferred to have the dumplings (mandu) in the soup as opposed to tteok (rice cake). The mandu are filled with juicy pork and leeks, and can be easily found in grocery stores. Just like tteokguk, this dish symbolizes good health.
Fried pancakes, known as jeon, are a Seollal staple. They are made of fish, meat, vegetables, or seafood then coated with wheat flour and egg before being deep-fried. Usually served as an appetizer or banchan, these pancakes are loved by many for their savory taste!
- Galbi Jjim
Another Seollal staple would be galbi-jjim or braised beef short ribs. Traditionally, it was only eaten during special occasions like Seollal or birthdays. The dish is garnished with chestnuts, gingko nuts, and dates; giving it a sweet and savory taste. Imagine the tender marinated short-ribs juice oozing out in every bite!
This popular dish is loved not only in Korea but in the entire world! Japchae is made up of sweet potato noodles and vegetables stir-fried in sesame oil. The noodles are said to symbolize a long life. A definite Seollal tradition enjoyed as either a side or main dish.
Lastly, we have a sweet drink to top it all off. Often served as dessert, sikhye is a malt poured onto cooked rice. Not only has a pleasant malt aftertaste but it is also known to help with digestion. The perfect end to a delicious meal!
Now that you’ve got a glimpse of the delicious meals prepared during this special celebration, we hope you feast your heart out with your loved ones!
Have you tried any of these dishes before? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Frances Eusebio