Koreans usually eat a bowl of miyeokguk (seaweed soup), typically for breakfast, on their birthday.
Like in many cultures, Koreans mark special occasions and events by eating and sharing certain foods.
They include Lunar New Year and Chuseok – the two biggest traditional holidays here.
Koreans eat a bowl of tteokguk, rice cake soup, on the first day of the year. In Korea, age is not measured by the actual date of birth but by the year that one is born. This means people grow one year older in Korea when a new year arrives. But only when you finish your bowl of tteokguk.
On Chuseok, which usually falls in September or October, families gather together and make songpyeon, a special rice treat, to celebrate the year‘s harvest and to wish for health and happiness.
There are non-traditional occasions that are strongly associated with a particular food items.
On Nov. 11, some Koreans, mostly young people and couples, share a particular snack called Pepero. The reason is that the date, Nov. 11 or 11/11, looks like four pieces of the long stick-shaped snack.
For a similar reason, March 3 is Korea’s unofficial national samgyeopsal day. People would get the grilled pork belly barbecue for either lunch or dinner because it‘s March 3 or 3/3. The number “3” is pronounced “sam” in Korea, so the menu of the day is “sam”-gyeopsal.