In Korea, the first meal on the first day of the year is a bowl of ddeok guk/떡국. soup.jpg

There are many reasons why Koreans eat ddeok guk/떡국 on New Year’s Day:

Post-drinking ~ After a long night of drinking, this hot bowl of soup nourishes and rehydrates.

Tradition ~ This has been a Korean tradition for many generations, connecting you to your ancestors.

Age ~ A year is added to your chronological age in Korea, this bowl symbolizes the added year.

Luck ~ Each bowl you eat symbolizes a year you add to your lifespan…so chow down!

Wealth ~ Rice cakes are a special occasion food, this is a bowl of plenty.

White ~ Alludes to truth, innocence and a clean, new start.

Ddeok Mandu Guk Recipe/떡만두국

5 cups water

20 dried anchovies/멸치

1 tablespoon soy sauce/국간장

1-2 cup ddeok/떡 (rice cakes, oval disks)

1 cup mandu/만두 (dumplings, wontons)

1 egg/계란

1 handful scallions/파

1 sheet dried seaweed laver/김

Boil water with dried anchovies/멸치. Simmer and skim off the bubbly stuff that sticks to the side of the pot. Meanwhile, pan fry the egg, stirring beforehand but leaving to cook flat. Cut into pencil thick slices and set aside for garnish, same goes for the dried seaweed laver/김. Also sliver the scallions nice and thin.

Remove the dried anchovies/멸치 from the soup base. Add soy sauce/국간장 to taste. At medium heat, add ddeok/떡. Once that simmers, add mandu/만두. After that simmers, add scallions.

Ladle into bowls. Garnish with egg and dried seaweed laver/김. Enjoy while steaming hot. Serve with kimchi/김치.

Happy New Year! 새해복많이받으세요!