How to Make “Tteokguk” or Korean Rice Cake Soup

Jiho Shin ’21 demonstrates how to make “tteokguk” or rice-cake soup, a special dish during “Seollal,” the Lunar New Year in her home country of South Korea.

Gorging oneself on a hearty bowl of tteokguk (rice cake soup) is the single ‘official’ way to gain a year of age on Seollal (the Korean Lunar New Year). Theoretically, you would earn as many years as the number of bowls you devour! Ancestors believed that tteokguk cleansed their body and soul prior to welcoming a fresh beginning, filtering out all painful pasts. While ingredients and recipes vary across provinces on the Korean peninsula, the classic version of tteokguk is made with round, thin, diagonal slices of garaeddeok (long, white, soft rice-cake). The length of uncut garaeddeok is thought to represent the prolongation of life, whereas the circular section of the slices resembles the shape of coins and thus encourages the accumulation of wealth within the family.

I created this video in hopes of providing an intimate glimpse into the preparatory steps behind enjoying this scrumptious Korean traditional dish. Despite being unable to engage in the usual festivity of family gatherings this year (due to social distancing protocols), I’m grateful to have had the luxury of sharing a virtual bite with the Miss Hall’s community.