The winter solstice, called "dongji" in Korean, is fast approaching.
This year the winter solstice will take place on Dec. 22nd, 2022.
Observe the solstice with warm and sweet Korean treats!
Red Bean Porridge
The winter solstice, dongji, marks the day of the year with the longest period of darkness and shortest period of daylight. In Korea, food and holidays are intricately entwined. Each holiday has a typical dish that is served for the occasion. Pat juk (red bean porridge) is the quintessential Korean dongji dish. The color red has traditionally been thought of as a lucky color. Accordingly, the belief was that eating red beans would ward off bad spirits and bad luck while welcoming in good luck and good wishes coming true. Pat juk is made with red beans and white rice and served warm with a garnish of nuts. It can be either sweet or savory and this all depends on whether the cook has opted to season the pat juk with sugar or salt. Korean winters can be very cold and a piping hot bowl of porridge is the perfect remedy for the winter blues. Pat juk and other porridge are available at restaurants, some cafes, and traditional markets throughout Seoul. Make a wish and welcome in good luck with a bowl of pat juk in Seoul.
Sweet Red Bean
Bungeoppang is a beloved and iconic Korean snack food. Fans of Korean movies or TV shows are sure to have spotted these adorable fish-shaped snack breads in various scenes over the years. Bungeoppang, which literally means "carp bread" in Korean in reference to its shape, is sold at food stalls and markets throughout Seoul. Made with wheat flour batter and sweet red beans, the batter is poured into the special iron then a generous portion of sweet red beans is spooned onto one half of the bread. The iron is then closed and the bread is cooked to perfection. Traditionally, the only filling used in bungeoppang was sweet red beans, but more flavor options are now available. Sweet potato and custard cream are some of the options that are available.
Hoppang (steamed bun) is another beloved Korean snack food that is widely available in Seoul. Like bungeoppang, hoppang is sold at food stalls or traditional markets and they are also often available at convenience stores. Plump hoppang are traditionally filled with sweet red beans, but more recently filling options like pumpkin, ham and cheese, and veggies have become available. Hoppang is made with wheat flour and the buns are steamed rather than grilled or baked. Bungeoppang and hoppang are two of Korea’s classic winter treats. Though they're popular year round, they have a special appeal at wintertime. When the mercury's dropped in Seoul, hot, freshly made bungeoppang and hoppang can sate the appetite and warm the soul!