Have you ever heard of ChuSeok Festival? It is the second most important holiday for the Korean and is something called, the Korean Thanksgiving Day.
ChuSeok or otherwise known as 한가위 （Han-ga-wi) falls in the same period to Mid Autumn Festival celebrated by Chinese in Singapore. Both festivals have similar meaning where they celebrate bountiful harvest in the mid of August. An important occasion where family, friends gathers to give thanks.
Having said that, there exists differences too in these two festivals. For the Koreans, it is a 3 days long holiday. It is during this festival that they take time to pray to their ancestors and clean up their graves. The whole family will travel back to their hometown and you won’t believe the table of food that is prepared just for this special day. I mean what is a celebration without food right?
Let’s explore some of the food that they will be eating…
Songpyeon, which is half moon shaped rice cake (tteok) filled with sesame seeds, red bean, brown sugar and chestnut. Steamed over a layer of pine needles, gave it it’s instinctive smell. This is the most iconic food for ChuSeok and you can’t leave it out.
An interesting tradition for it is that, it is believed that those who make and shape the Songpyeon well will meet a handsome man in the near future or will be blessed with beautiful daughters. So if you have good crafty hand, try making a good Songpyeon this year.
They also feast on Japchae which is a dish made from different vegetables alongside meats and glass noodles. It seems to be an easy dish to make but this dish is no mean feat to prepare. A variety of ingredients have to be prepared individually and cooked into noodle like stripes before it is combined into this dish. Each of the ingredients bring different flavours to the taste buds and together, they made a yummy noodle dish that one will not stop eating once they try their tongue on it.
Pro tips: Feel free to switch the ingredient around to your liking. You like seafood? Make a seafood Japchae. And for vegetarian or vegan, you can also make a non-meat version.
Jeon is also prepared which is korean pancake. It is made with light flour batter and the ingredients of your choice and you fry them. It can be fried with all sorts of ingredient like cheese, kimchi, meat or seafood just to name a few. Another variation is the egg battered Jeon where they add in egg for another layer of flavours. It is more chewy than the regular Jeon. I personally liked it better.
What’s a korean feast without vegetables? Samsaek Namul or translated as three colour vegetable side dish could be seen accompanying at the side. Typically, this trio consists of doraji (도라지, bellflower roots), gosari (고사리, fernbrake) and siguemchi (시금치, spinach). Which 2/3 of them, I hadn’t had them before and is looking forward to try.
Not forgetting protein for a balanced diet. You can find Galbijjim or braised beef short ribs. The meat undergo hours Long of braising till it turns tender and easy to rip off the ribs. The thick fragrant gravy is also perfect for a bowl of rice. This is a dish that is typically only served during important occasions. A favourite among the Koreans and some swore by its taste.
There are many more delicious dishes that makes up this feast. More importantly, this 3 days holiday signifies a break from the hustle and bustle of life and to gather with the loved ones. Enjoying a good meal in each other’s company and celebrating the blessings this year.
Which of the above food have you tried or like? Comment below!