a typical Korean birthday breakfast

My family celebrated my sister’s birthday a few days ago. On the morning of her birthday, my mum whipped up a delicious birthday breakfast:

White rice and seaweed soup.
Starting from bottom left corner, going anti-clockwise: bulgogi with japchae, kimchi, jinmichae (made of squid) and skewered veggie, ham & egg

We usually have light breakfast of cereal with milk/bagel/nan, but on birthday mornings we all try to make time to have a hearty Korean cuisine breakfast, especially with seaweed soup.

Koreans have enjoyed seaweed as soup and as side dishes from the Goryeo era. Due to its high nutritional value (and tastiness), seaweed soup is eaten by Korean women after giving birth to quicken their recovery. That’s why the soup makes a constant appearance in Korean birthday meals; for us to remember the suffering and pain of birth and give thanks to our mothers. In modern time, though, the meaning behind the seaweed soup is probably forgotten by many; we simply have it on birthdays because it’s a deeply rooted Korean custom.

One fun fact which I only recently learnt about, is that the combination of glutinous purple rice + japchae (“glass noodles”) and seaweed soup is a combination of birthday meals most commonly eaten by Koreans from the Kyungsang Province/Kyungsangdo. (My parents are originally from Pohang, which is in the province. Check out my post on Pohang, which is also the region actress Song Ji Hyo’s from!)

서양인들이 한중일 3국 중 '한국인에게만' 갖고 있는 궁금증 | 오펀 디스커스
Photo Credits. Sticky purple rice
Gyeongsang Province - Wikipedia
Photo Credits. A map of Korea; the red region is the Kyungsang Province

Wow, mind-blowing. My whole existence of 20 years I thought pretty much all Koreans eats like this on their birthdays. (Although we chose to have white rice this time)

If you’re interested in trying a hand at making the seaweed soup, check out this video by Paik’s cuisine!

(Eng subs included)

Cheers, Han Seol 🙂

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