Korean New Year Food that is traditional and authentic! From Rice Cake Soup to Sujeonggwa, you can have the most wonderful Korean Seollal (Lunar New Year) with these foods.
Korean New Year Food for Koreans that will help celebrate the Lunar New Year!
For Koreans and other cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year, the holiday season doesn’t end with the stroke of the clock on January 1st. Yes, the party isn’t over yet!! Based on the traditional lunar calendar, this celebration usually takes place around January or February, marking the beginning of a new lunar. In South Korea, the holiday is called Seollal 설날, and it falls on February 16th this year (2018).
It’s a time to gather with family members, pay respect to ancestors, and enjoy foods specially made for the occasion. Last year, I got together with a few blogger friends to showcase a collection of festive sweet recipes. This year, I’d like to show you the traditional Korean New Year foods prepared for the Lunar New Year. I hope you get to try them all!
Rice Cake Soup with Beef and Dumplings (Tteok Mandoo Guk 떡만두국)
Koreans travel back to their hometown to celebrate Lunar New Year and we make rice cake soup to serve to family and friends who are visiting. Different regions have different recipes for rice cake soup which is the most classic and popular Korean New Year Food. My parents are originally from North Korea so I grew up eating the version with beef and dumplings. It reminds me of home every time I cook it!
Pan-Fried Fish Cake (Saengsun Jeon 생선전) and Shrimp Cake (Saewoo Jeon 새우전)
Seafood lovers will enjoy this. Fish and shrimp cakes are often served in a traditional full-course Korean dinner, especially for festive meals around celebrations like the new year. Fish jeon is usually made with white fish like cod and pollock while whole shrimps are used for shrimp jeon. They can be made ahead and kept warm in the oven until serving time or served at room temperature – making them convenient party foods.
Korean Glass Noodles (Japchae 잡채)
During special holidays, homemade Japchae is always on the Korean table. Load it with various vegetables and make it meatless for a vegetarian option that everyone can enjoy. Korean glass noodles are made with 100% sweet potato starch so this dish is naturally gluten-free too! This is a simplified one-pan recipe that can be made in half the usual time it takes but still retains its authenticity and traditional flavors.
For your most honored guests and family, Galbi Jjim is what you make if you want to go all out. Koreans traditionally make this dish for great holiday occasions such as New Year’s because Galbi (beef short ribs) was and still is very expensive in Korea. This is also a great make ahead kind of recipe. All you need to do is to reheat it before serving. Since this recipe, I have also added an Instant Pot Galbi Jjim version which is actually what this picture is of. Unlike the regular galbi jjim recipe which takes hours to complete, the IP version is ready in less than 1 hr and just as delicious.
Sesame Tea Cookies (Dasik 다식 茶食)
These elegant melt-in-your-mouth sweet treats date back to the 17th century when the Korean royalty enjoyed them with tea as a Korean New Year food. Vegan and gluten-free, these dainty cookies are made of finely ground sesame seeds and sweetened with honey syrup. Different colors can be made using black and white sesame seeds and green tea powder. Unlike normal cookies, they do not require any baking!
Sweet Rice Dessert (Yaksik 약식)
Here’s a dessert that not only satisfies your sweet tooth but is also good for your health! Yaksik is made with ingredients that are traditionally considered medicinal, such as anti-aging jujube and vitamin-rich chestnut. Sweet rice is very easy on the stomach, making this sweet ending not too heavy after a big holiday meal.
Cinnamon Ginger Punch (Sujeonggwa 수정과)
This popular dessert drink is really easy to make and can be served warm or cold. I like to freeze it to create a refreshing slushy texture! The sweet warmth of cinnamon and spiciness of ginger come together nicely to create a soothing drink that is also believed to help with digestion. If you are not a big cinnamon or ginger fan, you may want to make the other very popular dessert Sweet Rice Punch drink called Sikhye.
Honey Pastry (Yakgwa/Yakwa 약과)
This traditional sweet pastry is a deep-fried delicacy coated in a rich honey syrup infused with ginger. The recipe is particularly special to me and my family because it was created by an ancestor of my husband’s over 450 years ago! It makes a great homemade edible gift to spread the holiday cheer.
Well, I so enjoyed sharing these very traditional Korean New Year Foods with you!!
Hope you have the most wonderful Lunar New Year with your loved ones and take some time to cook a few of these recipes.
Saehae Bok Mani Badeusaeyo 새해 복 많이 받으세요!