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LifestyleFood and Drink
Festive food for Jeju at “Seollal”
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승인 2013.02.19  03:23:44
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Seollal is Lunar New Year’s Day in Korea, when people wish for luck in the year ahead. This is a day when, traditionally, Koreans prepare “sechan” - food for their ancestors - and hold ancestral rites, or “charye.” In Jeju, people call this day “Jeongwol Myeongjeol.” After performing charye, family members bow to their elders, known as “sebe,” strengthening bonds and giving thanks.

In more traditional times, Jeju males prepared either pigs or pheasants in the days leading up to New Year’s Day, while females prepared fruits, vegetables, drinks, and rice cakes. Rather than the “ddeokgook,” or rice cake soup, that is commonly served across the Korean peninsula, in Jeju, people prepared “kalgook,” or noodle soup.

The recipes below are all dishes that would traditionally have been eaten on New Year’s Day in Jeju. Please give them a try!

▲ Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

Jobssal Gamju

Historically, the staple diet on Jeju was barley and millet, rather than rice. Millet was even used as the main ingredient in “gamju,” a Korean traditional drink, as rice was so scarce. The production method for gamju was also different, as millet was fermented before being used to make the gamju, rather than using water from boiled rice.

In contrast to “sikhye,” a traditional sweet rice drink, gamju has a combination of sweet, bitter, and sour tastes. Jeju people drink gamju after it has been used for the charye to honor their ancestors.

<Ingredients>
a cup of millet (160g), half a cup of malt powder (60g), five cups of water

<Recipe>
1) Dip the malt powder in cold water and sift it.
2) Cook the rice with the millet and place it, along with the strained malt, in the rice cooker. Keep the rice cooker at approximately 65℃. (Malt catalyzes the fermentation of the millet.)
3) Strain the fermented millet through a sieve, and boil the filtered water until it sweetens.

Pheasant Memil Kalguksu
Jeju’s mountain region provides ideal habitat for pheasants and Jeju people traditionally served a variety of pheasant dishes to relatives during the Seollal holiday. One pheasant dish served to relatives is buckwheat noodles, which are thicker and shorter than other noodles.

▲ Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

<Ingredients>
one pheasant, three cups of buckwheat flour, 150ml of water, one egg, a quarter of a daikon radish, 10 cups of water, dried seaweed, salt with sesame, soy sauce

<Recipe>
1) Boil the pheasant and then slice the meat from the bone
2) Boil the bones on a low heat to make the broth.
3) Add some salt to the buckwheat flour and make the dough with 150 ml of water.
4) Make the noodles twice as thick as typical noodles, cutting them into 0.5 cm-wide strips.
5) Slice up the daikon radish and add to the broth.
6) Ensuring the broth is still boiling, add the noodles and the pheasant.
7) Serve the noodles in a dish, seasoned with seaweed powder and sesame, and add the slices of pheasant.


Professor Oh Young Ju is a Hotel Food Management Professor at Jeju Halla College and an expert in traditional Jeju food.

Translated by Ko Minhyeok

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