VIDEO: Tteokguk - Korean soup full of good luck, longevity

Photo by ChiHon Kim
Photo by ChiHon Kim

VIDEO: Tteokguk - Korean soup full of good luck, longevity

Stripes Korea

Tteokguk, or rice cake soup, is a traditional New Year’s Day food thought to bring good luck (energy of yang) and longevity. The length and shape of the rectangular garaetteok rice cakes, which are the key ingredient of the recipe, reflect this fortune.

Traditionally, Koreans enjoy this food on Seolnal, the first day of lunar New Year. But these days, many young folks eat this good luck food on the first day of the Gregorian calendar. No matter when you decide to have a bowl of ttoekguk in this country, the significance still holds true.


Try it for yourself and let this recipe bring you and your family good luck!

- PREP TIME: 30 minutes 
- COOK TIME: 30 minutes
- TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 
- SERVINGS: 2 - 3


  • 4 cups sliced rice cakes (400g)
  • 11 cups water (2 liter)
  • 1 cup beef (flank steak or brisket) (150g)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced scallions (80g)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs for soup and 2 more eggs for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp soup soy sauce or 1Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 7-8 pieces dumplings.
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil.
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • Pinch of black pepper and salt
  • 1/2 sheet of dried seaweed paper (or seasoned laver)


  1. Before start cooking, soak the rice cakes in a cold water for about at least 30 minutes if they are hard or frozen. Then, drain the water and place the rice cakes into a pan.
  2. The success of this recipe depends on timing. You’ll want to have all your ingredients prepped beforehand so they can be added to the pot at the right time. This step will help you to keep your dish from getting too mushy or too sticky. Slice the scallions and seaweed or laver.
  3. Separate the eggs white and yolk to make jidan (or an egg garnish).
  4. Then add the cooking oil to a heated non-stick pan and wipe a thin layer of oil on the surface with a paper towel to prevent creating a bubble on the jidan.
  5. Cook them separately over medium heat. Once ready, set aside and let them cool. Once cooled, slice into thin strips and set aside for garnish.
  6. Cut the meat into small pieces. In a pot, heat cooking oil and then incorporate the beef. sauté until the beef is no longer red. Add sesame oil close to the end of cooking to avoid burning it and losing the flavor.  
  7. Pour water into the pot until the meat is covered (500ml) and add soup soy sauce and salt. Bring to a boil so the beef absorbs the seasonings. Then, add more water (1500ml) or bone stock and bring to a simmer.
  8. After the soup begins to boil, add minced garlic, dumplings, rice cakes and stir until the rice cakes begin to float to the top. I recommend you to add egg mixture to the soup at the last minute before turning off the cooking stove a clearer soup broth.

Pro tip: This soup gets easily soggy due to the starch released from rice cakes and dumplings. Prepare extra warm water or meat broth, so you can add the broth if necessary.

  1. Add black pepper and garnish to taste. Serve immediately with a side dish of kimchi. Enjoy! Bon appetite or 잘 먹겠습니다! (Pronounced: jal meok-ke-sseum-nida)!

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