Tteokguk is “the Korean new year soup”. The shape of the rice cake resembles old style Korean coins, so the soup has a symbolic meaning of riches and prosperity! Eating a bowl of tteokguk symbolizes growing a year older, along with good health and a long life. A common question heard on New Years is “how many bowls of tteokguk have you eaten?” It’s a fun way to guess someone’s age and joke about how many more bowls they will eat.
Japchae is present on most special occasions. Preparing for Japchae is a lot like making bibimbap. Well made Japchae should have a balanced sweet and savory flavor, crunchy vegetable texture and bouncy noodle texture.
It is typically served during the festive holidays like Korean lunar new years’ day and harvest festival days or at someone’s birthday or at a wedding reception. It is definitely one of the highlight dishes during these times.
Yaksik is a nutritious sweet rice bar with nuts and Korean dates. It belongs in a category of Korean “medicinal” foods which features healthful and flavorful ingredients. Officially Yaksik is one of the foods you would eat on the first full moon of the new year.
However, it is also typically served on other festive occasions such as Korean new year’s day (Seollal), Korean harvest festival (Chuseok), at a wedding receptions
Sikhye is a Korean traditional tea / drink often consumed during the Korean festive holidays (e.g. New Year’s Day and Korean Harvest Festival).