Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dongzhi (동지)

Dongzhi is the 22nd solar term of the traditional east Asian calendar. It also marks the winter solstice. It usually begins on December 22nd (today) and when it does, many Koreans feast on Patjuk (팥죽), a soupy mixture made of red beans and containing little balls that feel and taste like rice cakes (not the American sort, but the chewy kind in Korea). Patjuk is believed to rid oneself of bad luck in the new year. In traditional Korean folklore, the color red is symbolic of positive energy that overcomes its negative counterpart. 

Every December 22nd, my school serves the entree and this year, I was here to participate. The flavor was like nothing I had ever experienced. The sweetness made it difficult to believe it even came from a bean. After the first bite, I was tempted to dismiss it completely. I kept eating, though...and soon enough, I loved it. 

So here's to good luck in the next year and longer days from here on out (moon, I love you, but hate your appearance when I've only just stepped out of work). 

Coex - Red bean porridge 팥죽

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