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Korean Food 101 – Tdeukguk

Korean Food 101 – Tdeukguk

A New Year’s culinary tradition for Koreans is to have this wonderful soup called Tdeukguk.  

No one really knows why this soup is eaten at New Years but the theory I like best is the that the white rice cake in the soup represents the Yang half of the taijitu which is a symbol representing the religious and philosophical traditions of Taoism.

Yang is the white or sunny side of the symbol represents is the positive, pure and cleanliness side, rather than the negative side known as the Ying.  New Years represents the start of something new and I like to think that Tdeukguk symbolizes something positive for the upcoming year.

Back in the 19th century, Tdeukguk was made with a pheasant stock but nowadays beef stock is the norm where the bones are boiled for a day or more and the broth is milky and thick.

Tdeuk, or the rice cake is made glutinous rice flour that is usually steamed and shaped into long cylinder then sliced into discs for the soup.

Often you will find mandoo and slices of beef in the soup garnished with dried seaweed, sliced egg and green onions.  I personally love putting in steamed rice with some kimchi to add a kick.  However you do it, this truly is a soup of great comfort.

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