Do you know what foods Koreans eat on special days?
Do you know what foods Koreans eat on special days? Korean cuisines are unique and special. Walking down the street on a humid summer day, you may come upon long lines of Koreans in front of a restaurant. That restaurant is probably 삼계탕 (chicken boiled with ginseng) restaurant.
Ginseng Chicken Soup
When people think of Korean food, mostly they think of very hot food that is red in color. However, not all Korean food is that hot. A typical exception would be Ginseng Chicken Soup (삼계탕). Ginseng Chicken Soup contains ginseng, garlic, dried jujube fruit, and glutinous rice and is cooked for a long time. This is a dish enjoyed in summer for good health. It may seem strange, but Koreans believe that drinking hot soup on a hot day restores one’s energy and vitality. This thinking comes from Chinese medicine. So on the hottest days of the year, most Koreans eat 삼계탕.
Seaweed soup has about 40 kinds of minerals, DHA, vitamins, iodine and other nutrients. It has 200 times more calcium than rice, 25 times more than spinach and 13 times more than milk. On birthdays, whether spent with friends at a party, or quietly in one’s own home, Koreans without exception eat 미역국 (seaweed soup). Traditionally, this soup is eaten by mothers who have just gone through childbirth in order to thank the god of childbirth for a healthy baby. These days, the practice is continued, not to thank the god, but for the sake of the mother. Seaweed has many nutrients which aid in recovery after childbirth, so most women drink this soup several times a day for a month or so. Thus Koreans continue to drink this soup on their birthdays to think of their mothers. View Korean seaweed soup for details and recipes.
Pat Juk commonly eaten during the winter season – on the winter solstice. 팥죽 is a congee made from red beans. In ancient times, people considered this the first day of a new year, and thought that eating 팥죽 would cleanse the body of bad spirits. Koreans also believed that 팥죽 have a mysterious power to drive evil spirits away because the color of this congee was thought to scare the bad spirits away. How do you feel about trying these foods on these days?