I’m eating seaweed soup at the moment because traditionally Koreans eat this soup on their birthdays. You can read all about why on The Korea Blog HERE.
One of my Korean friends made it for me today. I really enjoy it these day but I didn’t always…
When my husband and I first met it was just before my birthday. He was very strongly wooing me and had arranged a birthday lunch for me. As well as cake and fruit platters there was seaweed soup… While I liked a lot of Korean food at that point I hadn’t really had this before and honestly looking down at the slimy seaweed in liquid- it didn’t seem that appetizing. My husband and his friend insisted that I must eat it because it was my birthday. Luckily after I forced down a few mouthfuls they didn’t make me eat anymore.
I only started enjoying seaweed soup when I started cooking it myself. Maybe by then I was used to the texture. I’m not sure what changed but now I really like it.
You can’t under estimate how important this is for Koreans on their birthdays. They have such a strong attachment to it. Earlier this year when the crazy naked guys (seen in other comics) were still living next door to my parent’s house I realised this. You can’t really buy Korean groceries in my hometown so Koreans must buy Korean food in Sydney. Because of this, it is hard to replenish supplies and Koreans here get used to going without. It was one of the guy’s birthday next door and they did not have the ingredients for seaweed soup. My husband was already next door at their party when I joined them.
My husband pulled me out of the room (yes the Korean drama arm grab thing) and asked for me to go back home and prepare seaweed soup for this guy. We did have the ingredients at home because we’d stocked up in Sydney recently. I knew it must be important because my husband had never requested for me to go home and cook before! If he was in the habit of telling me to go back to the kitchen I would be in the habit of punching him in the face. So I knew this must be important.
But oh the stress! I’d never prepared seaweed soup for any Koreans besides my husband before! All I had was my Korean cookbook. I studied the recipe again and again before starting to make sure I got everything right. My mother was amused, not only at my stress, but at why Koreans prefer soup for their birthday and not cake.
Eventually, after agonising over the taste I realised it was the best I could do. I took it next door and presented it to the birthday boy. He tasted it. Then the other guys tasted it. They declared it was delicious! At first I thought they were just being polite but my husband reassured me that it was very good. I was hesitant to believe my own success at first but then I watched them fight over it and finish every last drop. The birthday boy was so happy that he could have seaweed soup on his birthday. He told me had been wanting it so badly and had been upset because he thought it would be impossible to get. He then prostrated himself on the floor in a deep bow several times to thank me- he had been drinking though hehe!
Unfortunately my husband is not here with me at the moment because he just started a new job and we don’t have a new apartment in Sydney yet. We plan to celebrate together later.