This menu will take you through all the courses if you're looking to cook a meal for a traditional Korean birthday celebration. Forget not to make rice!
Have you tried Miyukguk? This Korean seaweed soup is known in Korea as the "birthday soup," so expect to be included at any typical birthday dinner. It is a light and balanced soup, naturally low in calories and fat and high in calcium, iron and protein. Basically, it's a soup of seaweed with beef or fish broth. Even if you don't like the soup, if someone forgets to cook it for you, you'll be disappointed! For most Koreans it has been a long tradition to have the soup on their birthday to celebrate their mother's pregnancy and childbirth, and for the birthday boy or a girl to have good luck throughout the year.
Curious about its flavor? Why not try a ramyun version of Miyukguk in this month's SeoulBox!
Then there's Japchae. Once a royal dish, it is now one of traditional celebration's most popular dishes, mostly served at special occasions such as weddings, birthdays. It is also common at banquets, gatherings, and potlucks for feeding crowds, due to the ease of bulk preparation and versatility in operation.
Because of the noodles Japchae is chewy and starchy and full of flavours. It is normally served garnished with chilli slivers and sesame seeds. Can be served cold or dry. This dish is eaten at special occasions and Korean events, with added seasonal vegetables.
Last but not lest, we can't miss rice cakes! There are numerous rice cakes which can be served on special occasions. One of the rituals is to have glutinous liquor and red bean rice cake until a child is 5 or 6 years old. This symbolizes repelling bad spirits, and maintaining healthy little ones. There are lots of people sharing rice cakes too. If they're shared it's known to bring more luck to a person. These days a number of western-style cakes are favored over the rice cakes. Rice cakes are evolving to match the taste buds of populations while holding alive our culinary traditions.
Seaweed soup, noodle dishes, and rice cakes are your birthday must-have things.
"Have you had Miyeok Guk this morning?" or "Let's have some lunchtime noodle dish, because it's your birthday." These are heart-warming greetings that will make anyone happy on their birthday.