Lunar New Year is celebrated typically in East and Southeast Asia based on the lunar calendar. It celebrates the beginning of the moon calendar which falls between late January to mid-February. Some may be familiar with the term Chinese New Year. Other countries like Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and more celebrate on the same date. In Korea, Seollal (설날) is celebrated for three days with extended families returning to their hometown, often with a handful of gifts, like hanwoo, fresh fruit baskets, ginseng, and other precious items.
Traditionally, the morning starts with charye (차례), ancestral rites to give thanks and remember the ancestors. As an offering to the ancestors, a big tableful of foods are prepared. All the food items and placement follow specific rules written in the age-old traditional guidebook on charye. Though specific foods may differ by region and the family tradition, common foods are tteokguk (rice cake soup), meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and liquor.
After charye is done, the family gathers around to enjoy the food prepared. As Seollal is one of the biggest holidays in Korea, the feast starts in the morning.
Tteokguk 떡국 Tteokguk Recipe
Tteokguk (rice cake soup) is the most iconic dish of Seollal. Eating a bowl of tteokguk symbolizes aging one more year, as it is the first meal eaten on the new year. Tteokguk is usually made with beef broth or anchovy broth, sliced glutinous rice cake, and egg, seaweed, and chopped scallion as garnish. This simple, yet delicious soup is everyone’s favorite. Add mandu (dumplings) to the soup and you have tteok mandu guk (dumpling rice cake soup).
Jeon 전 Try our pajeon recipe
Jeon is Korean savory pancake. Depending on what ingredients you add to the batter, the type of jeon is endless. Potato jeon, pajeon (scallion), seafood jeon, beef jeon… And, the right dipping sauce enhances the flavor of jeon.
Korean favorite for special occasions and traditional holidays. Japchae (잡채) literally means “mixed vegetables.” But the main ingredient of this classic dish is Korean sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon), also known as glass noodles.
Serve it as a first course or side dish or over a bed of rice to make it a main dish
Yakgwa, honey cookie
Yakgwa, honey cookie, is one of the most beloved Korean traditional desserts. It is typically enjoyed during the holidays or special occasions with family and friends gathering. Try our persimmon honey cookie.