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11 Korean New Year Food You Should Try

Let’s celebrate! What to cook and eat on Korean New Year’s day – Korean New Year’s Day Food round-up!

Do you want to celebrate New Year’s day the Korean way? Then you are in the right place. I have collated 11 recipes that are enjoyed on this special day right here.

Korean New Year's Day Food Recipe Round Up |

But first of all. Let’s cover some basics.

When Is Korean New Year (Seollal, 설날)?

While most westerners celebrate New Year on January 1st, many Koreans celebrate it on lunar new year’s day (also known as Chinese new year’s day).

FYI, In 2020, Korean new year’s day / Korean lunar new year / Seollal (설날) falls on January 25th.

What Do Koreans Do On Korean New Year’s Day?

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 we eat lots of food (see the collection below), play some traditional Korean games and give gifts to each other.

As a child, my favorite thing about new year’s day was getting some gift money. 🙂

If you want to find out more about Korean new year traditions, read this article.

How Do You Say ‘Happy New Year’ in Korean?

Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo (새해 복 많이 받으세요)!

Now that these basics are covered, let’s have a feast!

I hope you enjoy my 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 (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! [Get the recipe]

2. Manduguk (만둣국, Korean Dumpling Soup)

Manduguk (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. [Get the recipe]

3. Kimchi Mandu (김치만두, Kimchi Dumplings)

Steamed Kimchi Mandu (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! [Get the recipe]

4. Heart Matsal Jeon (하트 맛살전, Heart Shaped Imitation Crab Omelettes)

Heart Shaped Imitation Crab Omelette Recipe |

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. [Get the recipe]

5. Pyogo Beoseot-Jeon (표고버섯전, Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms)

How to make Korean style stuffed shiitake mushrooms. It's filled with delicious and healthy protein! |

Another popular jeon recipe. This one is packed with delicious and healthy protein! [Get the recipe]

6. Bulgogi (불고기, Korean BBQ Beef)

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef) |

I don’t know about other Korean families, but growing up we always served bulgogi at our new year’s day breakfast table. Bulgogi is a sweet and savory Korean marinated beef. [Get the recipe]

7. Galbi Jjim (갈비찜, Korean Braised Short Ribs)

Kalbi Jjim (Korean Braised Beef 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! [Get the recipe]

8. Japchae (잡채, Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry)

Korean glass noodle stir fry (Japchae) recipe |

Japchae is made with bouncy textured glass noodles and various vegetables. It’s a very popular Korean appetizer and side dish. [Get the recipe]

9. Yaksik (약식, Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts)

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts (Yaksik) |

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). [Get the recipe]

10. SuJeongGwa (수정과, Korean Cinnamon Punch)

SuJeongGwa (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. [Get the recipe]

11. Sikhye (식혜, Korean Sweet Rice Drink)

Sikhye recipe |

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. [Get the recipe]

(Originally published in February 2007 and republished with updated information in December 2019.)

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: December 18, 2019
Sue and My Korean Kitchen Profile

Welcome to my Korean kitchen! I’m so happy that you're here. I am Sue, the creator behind My Korean Kitchen (since 2006). I love good food and simplifying recipes. Here you will find my best and family approved recipes. Thanks for stopping by!

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22 thoughts on “11 Korean New Year Food You Should Try”

  1. Hi Sue,
    Thanx a lot for sending us all the recipes these past year…all success to you!I really appreciate the time it.A Blessed Christmas to you too and a Happy New Year !All the best in all you do…enjoy the holiday season!
    Yours gratefully,

  2. I was in Busan a couple of weeks ago and bought a desert at a street cart. It
    Round and was filled with brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped nuts and pan fried in butter it was the size of a small burger. I’m not sure if the outside was rice flour because it had the texture of mochi and it was a little chewy. Can you tell what this is and if they have recipes for this.

  3. Happy New Year! Very interesting to read about the new years food tradition in Korea as I am only used to the Japanese style of celebrating! The soups look especially delicious!

  4. Hi Sue,
    I have enjoyed preparing the dishes that you have shared with us…the simple ones.You have sent us week after week after week and I am really grateful.
    Here is wishing you and your family all the best this coming 2018 and always.Thank you!

  5. These all look so good. I don’t have a lot of experience cooking Korean food, but sure do love to eat it. I’m looking forward to start learning some of the basics cooking techniques and flavors. What is your favorite off this list?

  6. A couple of years ago I had a Korean Foreign Exchange student living at my house. For New Years Day we decided to make all the Traditional New Years Food- Black-eyed Peas, which is what we ate in Missouri, Pork and Sauerkraut, what they eat here in Central Pennsylvania, and Tok Guk, what EunJee told me was the traditional New Years food for Korea. I followed the recipe to the letter, I thought, but when I served it, she started to laugh, and IMMEDIATELY called her mother (despite the 13 hour time difference!) to tell her that my Tok Guk was brown. We had to take a picture and send it to her. I finally said “Hey, this is Tok Guk Willa Style!” which became the watchword for all the Korean dishes I made strangely.

    I miss having a refrigerator full of Kimchee, but since Kimchee Willa never did turn out right, and our good Korean grocery went out of business we have been kimcheeless.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Hi Sue, its good to the Koreans NY falls on the same day as the chinese, I did not know that, anyways, wishing you a prosperous, fruitful year !! Keep all the good food coming ya ? *grins* Ohh..sticky rice cake, what a great opening dish for the NY, sticky cake that have ancient history to keeps the beast away from the evil haha, that dumpling post, another significant dish in the NY celebration, dumplings are also widely served during the NY in China, thanks for sharing such great recipes, cheers ! 🙂

  8. Thank you all. Happy New Year to you.
    I just came back from my mom’s home, I overate and felt sick for a while, yet it happens on every Thanks giving day and New Year’s day. 🙂
    I hope it doesn’t happen to you.

  9. oh… the chinese new year is on sunday too! It’s the year of pig this year. And we are celebrating it….

    I did not know that the KOrean new Year is the same as the chinese new year…

    • Wow! I should try one of your recipes Bulgogi Rice Burger in Gastown Vancouver City. No wonder it was solve out because it was a Korean New Year here.


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