Rice Cake Soup(年糕片汤)

Rice Cake Soup

Headword

떡국 ( 年糕片汤 , Tteokguk )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JooYoungha(周永河)

Made by boiling slices of long, cylindrical rice cakes in a clean meat stock, tteokguk (Kor. 떡국), or rice cake soup, is served to all family members as a special festival meal for the Lunar New Year’s Day. In a 19th-century book on Korean festivities, “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea), the soup appears under the names of baektang (Kor. 백탕, Chin. 白湯, lit. white soup, as the color of the rice cake flakes is white) and byeongtang (Kor. 병탕, Chin. 餠湯, lit. rice cake soup). Another name for this soup is cheomsebyeong (Kor. 첨세병, Chin. 添歲餠), which literally means “aging rice flakes” because Koreans believe that people grow one year older only after they have consumed a bowl of rice cake soup on New Year’s. Thus, the question “How many bowls of rice cake soup have you eaten?” to a Korean means “How old are you?”

On New Year’s Day tteokguk replaces cooked rice as a main dish both at the meals and during the ancestral memorial ceremony. Records in the “Dongguk Sesigi” and the “Yeoryang Sesigi” (Kor. 열양세시기, Chin. 洌陽歲時記, Seasonal Festive Customs in the Capital, 1819) state that no ancestral memorial ceremony, family breakfast nor guest reception on New Year’s Day are complete without serving tteokguk.

Historically the best stock for this festival soup was the one made with pheasant meat. This might be related to the introduction of falconry from the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) during the late Goryeo Period (1170-1392). Falconry soon became a favorite pastime of the Goryeo aristocrats. The food made with meat of a pheasant hunted by falcons, such as dumplings, tteokguk or manduguk, was considered a luxury and was often served on special occasions. Chicken stock was an excellent substitute for those common folks who generally could not obtain pheasant meat. In contemporary Korea, stock for rice cake soup is usually made with easily available beef.

Rice Cake Soup

Rice Cake Soup
Headword

떡국 ( 年糕片汤 , Tteokguk )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JooYoungha(周永河)

Made by boiling slices of long, cylindrical rice cakes in a clean meat stock, tteokguk (Kor. 떡국), or rice cake soup, is served to all family members as a special festival meal for the Lunar New Year’s Day. In a 19th-century book on Korean festivities, “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea), the soup appears under the names of baektang (Kor. 백탕, Chin. 白湯, lit. white soup, as the color of the rice cake flakes is white) and byeongtang (Kor. 병탕, Chin. 餠湯, lit. rice cake soup). Another name for this soup is cheomsebyeong (Kor. 첨세병, Chin. 添歲餠), which literally means “aging rice flakes” because Koreans believe that people grow one year older only after they have consumed a bowl of rice cake soup on New Year’s. Thus, the question “How many bowls of rice cake soup have you eaten?” to a Korean means “How old are you?”

On New Year’s Day tteokguk replaces cooked rice as a main dish both at the meals and during the ancestral memorial ceremony. Records in the “Dongguk Sesigi” and the “Yeoryang Sesigi” (Kor. 열양세시기, Chin. 洌陽歲時記, Seasonal Festive Customs in the Capital, 1819) state that no ancestral memorial ceremony, family breakfast nor guest reception on New Year’s Day are complete without serving tteokguk.

Historically the best stock for this festival soup was the one made with pheasant meat. This might be related to the introduction of falconry from the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) during the late Goryeo Period (1170-1392). Falconry soon became a favorite pastime of the Goryeo aristocrats. The food made with meat of a pheasant hunted by falcons, such as dumplings, tteokguk or manduguk, was considered a luxury and was often served on special occasions. Chicken stock was an excellent substitute for those common folks who generally could not obtain pheasant meat. In contemporary Korea, stock for rice cake soup is usually made with easily available beef.