Excellent Qualities of Korean Dishes

  • Taste and Fragrance
  • Beautiful Colours
  • Diversity
  • Health Foods

   Since the dawn of human civilization the Korean nation has lived on the same territory as a homogenous nation, and they have created and developed a peculiar dietary culture.
   Korean dishes that are prepared with diverse materials rich in mountains, fields, rivers and seas constitute one of valuable cultural heritage.
   Kimchi, sinsollo, Pyongyang cold noodles, pulgogi, mung bean pancake and other traditional dishes conform to physical constitutions and tastes of the Korean people, so they are popular not only at home but also abroad.
   Numbering several thousand items in kind, they are palatable, aromatic, and beautiful in colour and appearance. Methods of preparing them are also diverse and yet unique. Scores of dishes are prepared with one material.
   Many experts say that Korean dishes fully reflect aspiration and wish of the people for long life in good health, and that they are the world models in terms of nutritive and hygienic values.
   Korean dishes whose excellence is proved scientifically attract a growing number of people and show a steady improvement.

Folk Holiday Dishes

   From ancient times the Korean people celebrated the New Year’s Day by the lunar calendar in a grand style.
   Early in the morning of the New Year’s Day, all the families would hold memorial services for their ancestors, make New Year greetings and enjoy holiday dishes.
   It was a custom in Korea to put ttokguk (rice cake soup) on the table set for memorial services on New Year’s Day with several other dishes.
   Dishes for this day include chalttok (glutinous rice cake), solgittok (steamed rice cake), jolphyon (fancy rice cake), pancakes, desserts, sujonggwa (fruit punch), sikhye (sweet rice drink), roast meats, fruits and others.
   And ttokguk is a must dish for the day. So, Koreans called it chomsebyong, age-adding rice cake.
   The soup was originally prepared with pheasant broth, and when the pheasant was not available, chicken broth was used instead. Hence the Korean proverb, Chi...For More Information
   Jongwoldaeborum, the 15th day of the first lunar month, is one of folk holidays celebrated by the Korean people from ancient times.
   Festive dishes for the day include ogokpap, yakpap, pokssam, noodles, dried herb dishes, and ear-quickening liquor.
   Ogokpap is the boiled rice mixed with four other cereals, typically foxtail millet, sorghum, bean and adzuki bean.
   Yakpap, medicinal rice, is prepared with glutinous rice and honey as major ingredients, and also jujube, dried persimmon, chestnut, pine nuts, sesame oil and others.
   Nine kinds of cooked dried herbs are good for not getting ill from the summer heat.
   Koreans of old times favoured these dishes, because such balanced diet would help the intake of various nutrients for health promotion.
   They ate noodles at lunch the day before, wishing that they would live as long as the noodle strips.
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   In the old times Korean people regarded February by the lunar calendar as the beginning of the year’s farming.
   So they celebrated grandly the first day of the lunar February, calling it Ilgunnal, day of farm workers.
   They prepared and ate songphyon (half-moon-shaped rice cake) on the day, and those in the Phyongan provincial areas (at present North and South Phyongan, and Jagang provinces) favoured solgittok (steamed rice cake).For More Information
   Koreans who regard 3 as a lucky number celebrate the third day of the third lunar month as a holiday.
   They ate hwajon (glutinous rice cake fried with azalea and chrysanthemum flowers), hwamyon (mung bean jelly slices in honeyed water served with pine nuts), and sumyon (mung bean noodles coloured in red and served in honeyed water).
   And they drank liquors named Sogukju, Tugyonju, Tohwaju and Samhaeju.For More Information
   The 15th day of the sixth lunar month is a folk holiday of Korean people, who enjoyed a hot summer day washing hair and having a bath in a stream east of the village.
   Old documents read that the people in the period of Koguryo (277 BC-AD 668), the first feudal state of Korea, had a bath in a stream east of the village and enjoyed a feast of dishes.
   Typical dishes on the day include congee with fish, noodles, rice cake dumplings, fermented rice cake and pancake.For More Information
   The hottest period of summer is called sambok in Korean.
   From olden times people went to summer resorts and prepared seasonable dishes.
   As a proverb says, Like cures like, they ate hot tangogi soup, samgyethang, spicy beef soup, aduzuki bean congee, boiled barley rice and leek soup.
   Tangogi soup is prepared with slices of well-cooked tangogi garnished with minced skin, oil, seasoning herbs, garlic, and powders of red and black peppers and served in boiling hot tangogi broth.
   Samgyethang is a dish of jugged young chicken with insam, jujube, glutinous rice and other ingredients.
   Spicy beef soup is prepared specially for those who find tangogi soup disagreeable.
   Beef soup is usually served without hot pepper, but during the midsummer days it is served hot.For More Information
   On the seventh day of the seventh lunar month people ate sudan, or rice cake dumpling served in honeyed water, while enjoying bright Altair and Vega in the night sky.
   Sudan is also recommended for avoiding summer heat of the year.
   An old Korean proverb says, Take sudan on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month and songphyon on chusok.For More Information
   Chusok, or harvest moon festival, is a popular folk holiday falling on the 15th of the eighth month by the lunar calendar.
   From old days the Korean people celebrated the day to commemorate the bumper harvest and to honour their ancestors.
   That day people offered to their ancestors foods prepared with early rice and other grains such as mung bean, adzuki bean and soy bean.
   And on the eve of the holiday, they prepared holiday dishes, typically rice cakes made of newly harvested crops, soups, wine and sweets.
   They made a variety of rice cakes including glutinuous rice cake, and the one most associated with the holiday is songphyon, half-moon-shaped rice cake stuffed with beans and cooked on a layer of pine needles.For More Information
   Koreans celebrated the ninth day of the ninth lunar calendar, when chrymsanthemums are in full bloom, as a folk holiday since the period of Three Kingdoms.
   They prepared pancake, punch and liquor with chrysanthemum flowers and enjoyed the autumn-tinted scenery.For More Information
   Korean people called November by the lunar calendar tongjidal in Korean, and the winter solstice tongjinal.
   When the winter solstice occurs in the first ten days of lunar November, it is called aedongji, and when it falls afterwards, rodongji.
   People said the early winter solstice was good for children while late winter solstice for old people.
   It reflected the wish of children to grow up early and that of the elderly to live long, as they regarded the winter solstice as the New Year’s eve.
   It was also said that the winter with early winter solstice had more biting cold.
   Tongji porridge is a must on the day.For More Information
   It was a custom in Korea that the third Sheep’s day after the winter solstice was celebrated in the royal palace.
   Typical dish of the day was the casserole of wild boar, hare and other game hunted on the day.
   Rapil was also called rapphyong.
   Ordinary people did not celebrate the day as grandly as in the royal palace, but they ate roasted sparrow and made yot (taffy).
   In the Pyongyang area people ate noodles on the day.For More Information

Dietary Custom

  • Major staple and nonstaple foods
  • The custom of managing dietary life assidu...
  • Habit of eating three meals a day
  • Traditional Drinks and Their Excellence
  • Custom of having meals on a table in an un...
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History & Episodes

  • Pancake
  • Porridge
  • Jelly
  • Cereal Cakes
  • Boiled cereals
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Idioms & Proverbs

  • Boiled cereals-related proverbs
  • Rice cake-related proverbs
  • Noodles-related Proverbs
  • Bean-related proverbs
  • Meat-related proverbs
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