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 12 recipes that are enjoyed on this special day right here.
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 2021, Korean new year’s day / Korean lunar new year / Seollal (설날) falls on February 12th.
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!
12 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! [Get the recipe]
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. [Get the recipe]
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! [Get the recipe]
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. [Get the recipe]
5. Pyogo Beoseot-Jeon (표고버섯전, Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms)
Another popular jeon recipe. This one is packed with delicious and healthy protein! [Get the recipe]
6. Hobak Jeon (호박전, Pan Fried Zucchini)
This pan fried Korean zucchini is a staple Korean side dish served during this festive season. It is very easy to make and has a savory and delicate flavor. [Get the recipe]
7. Bulgogi (불고기, 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]
8. 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! [Get the recipe]
9. 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. [Get the recipe]
10. Yaksik (약식, Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts)
Yaksik is Korean sweet rice made with dried fruit, nuts and honey. It is moderately sweet and has a sticky texture.
Officially it is one of the foods you would eat on the first full moon of the lunar new year. But it is also often served during festive occasions (e.g. new year’s day, weddings and 60th birthday). [Get the recipe]
11. 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. [Get the recipe]
12. 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. [Get the recipe]
(Originally published in February 2007 and republished with updated information in December 2020.)
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