What Koreans Eat On Lunar New Year | Korean Food Guide

Minha Kim 김민하
6 months ago

The two biggest Korean holidays are Seollal and Chuseok.

When Seollal (Lunar New Year) comes, families gather together, hold ancestral rites and enjoy food together.

Eating is an important part of the holiday and locals take preparing the food very seriously.

Below you'll find a list of foods enjoyed on Seollal!


When a new year starts, Koreans eat tteokguk, soup made with rice cake. 

It is often said that eating tteokguk truly enables us to age one more year.

The food is prepared by putting plain rice cake into beef broth and boiling it. It is then topped with eggs and beef.

The long rice cake called garae-tteok (가래떡) symbolizes longevity while the pieces of garae-tteok, which are circular, symbolizes coins and money.


A photo of assorted jeon (Korean pancakes) often enjoyed on holidays like Seollal (Lunar New Year) in Korea

Jeon is a dish always present on days of celebration.

It can be made with a variety of ingredients: Seafood including hrimp and pollock, vegetables and many more.

Ingredients are cut into pieces, then covered in eggs and batter. They are then pan fried until they turn a nice golden colour. The outside is crunchy and the inside is packed with flavours from the ingredients.

Jeon is often enjoyed with a bottle of makgeolli (rice wine).


Galbijjim, Korea's braised beef dish

Galbijjim, or braised beef, is also a dish that never misses out on a celebration! You'll find it at birthday parties and holiday celebrations in Korea.

Galbijjim is made by slow cooking ingredients like beef, glass noodles and vegetables in the sauce. The sauce is similar to bulgogi sauce but a little bit sweeter.

The meat on the braised beef naturally falls of the bones and is amazing when enjoyed with a huge spoonful of rice.


Japchae, Korea's glass noodle dish

Japchae is a dish that's already gained quite the international reputation! This soy sauce-based dish, pan fried with glass noodles, spinach, carrot, onion, meat and other ingredients, is sweet and savoury.

The crunchiness of the vegetables and tenderness of the glass noodles are what makes the dish so delectable.

It's also considered a great dish for Korean food beginners, so if you're looking to try Korean food for the first or second time, consider trying japchae!


Hangwa, Korea's traditional snacks

There are many different types of these traditional snacks.

They're all chewy and sweet, the perfect tea time snack.

Hangwa is not only delicious, but it's also beautiful to look at! They come in different colours, shapes and textures, so be sure to pick and choose your favourites!


A bowl of sikhye, Korean traditional drink

Sikhye is a traditional drink that was always served at feasts and celebratory occasions.

This rice punch is made from glutinous rice and the sweetness is added from honey or sugar.

People often enjoy this cold drink after a meal. You'll also find sikhye drinks at convenience stores and jjimjilbang!

If you're especially fond of this drink, there are recipes on YouTube you can definitely try making at home too.

What Do Koreans Have To Say About Seollal?

What did you guys think of Korea's traditional Seollal food?

These dishes are enjoyed in everyday life too, but they also hold important meanings as they're prominently served on Korean holidays too.

No matter what time of the year you come to Korea, we hope you'll try the above listed!

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