Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)
It's been a long time since we've eaten tteokguk (rice cake soup) so it was a pleasant surprise when the wife took over the reigns in the kitchen and surprised me and the kids with this delicious Korean soup. Tteokguk is a traditional dish enjoyed by many (if not all Koreans) during the Lunar New Year holiday. The rice cake used to make tteokguk is first made into a long, white cylinder shape called garae tteok. Its shape and length is symbolic, wishing for longevity in life, especially since mortality rates were so high back then. That is one reason why the 100th day celebration and 60th birthday carry special significance in Korea. As for the soup dish, there are several variations that include mandu (dumplings), various seafood, and accompanying garnishes/toppings. Though we didn't eat it for a particular reason, I think this soup can be had any time. There is nothing better than slurping down those slippery smooth rice cakes on an empty stomach.