Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Korean Birthday

Today, I celebrated the birthday of a couple Korean friends. One is the husband of one of my contacts at the Geoje education office, and the other is one of her neighbors who I helped prepare for an English speech. It was interesting to experience the different customs for birthdays in Korea. First, seaweed soup is the staple dish for a birthday. Apparently, seaweed soup is very good for the blood and is fed to young mothers for every meal after giving birth. Since the soup is so closely tied to birth, it is eaten also at every birthday.

Second, the greeting for someone on their birthday is, "Have you eaten seaweed soup." A common greeting in Korea is, "Have you eaten rice today?" or "Have you eaten breakfast today?" This is mixed with the seaweed soup thing (remember that the Korean breakfast is much like the Korean lunch and the Korean dinner).

Third, for desert, we had sweet potato cake. I was surprised. It was really good. I guess it was made out of potato flour, the cream frosting. It wasn't too sweet, which is the selling point for many adults.

So, if you see a Korean on their birthday, don't forget to ask, "Have you eaten seaweed soup today?"

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