A Classic Korean Birthday Meal

A delicious plan for a classic Korean birthday celebration meal. Don't forget to make rice!

  • 01 of 09

    This is known as the “birthday soup” in Korea, so plan to include it at any traditional birthday meal. Naturally low in calories and fat and high in calcium, iron, and protein, it is a light and healthy soup.

  • 02 of 09

    Korean Soba Salad (Jaengban Gooksu)

    Jaengban Gooksu (soba noodle salad) is good with a variety of vegetables and meat, so you can tailor it to the tastes of or your guests. It's beautiful before it's tossed with the dressing and is useful at dinner parties since it doubles as both a salad and a noodle dish.

    This soba salad recipe also has a dressing based on chicken broth, so it's very light and healthy. I usually use peppers, cucumbers, Asian pear, radishes, and red onion, but almost any vegetables will work in this...MORE dish.

  • 03 of 09

    These Korean shortribs are tender, sweet, and full of the flavors of soy and garlic. Called Galbi or Kalbi, they are usually served with lettuce and condiments.

  • 04 of 09
    Korean Lettuce Wraps (Ssam Bap)
    Naomi Imatome

    Korean lettuce wraps (ssambap) are perfect little packages made of boldly flavored seasoned meat, rice, a zingy sauce (ssamjang) and a crisp, cool leaf vegetable. "Ssam" means 'wrap' in Korean, and "bap" means 'rice'.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Radish Cube Kimchi (Kaktugi)

    Naomi Imatome

    You must have some kimchi on the table and a big celebration calls for a few, but you can't go wrong with kaktugi. Kaktugi seasonings are almost identical to those in baechu kimchi (which is made from Napa cabbage), but the crunchiness of the radish gives it a snappy texture all its own. It's also good for children or a large family-style meal since it's a little easier to eat.

    Kaktugi is not hard to prepare and the hands-on time is not long, but with most kimchi, you do have to wait...MORE at least a day for the fermentation process to work its magic.

  • 06 of 09
    Myulchi Bokum (Sauteed Anchovies)
    Todd Lapin, Telstar Logistics

    This Korean anchovy dish (Myeolchi Bokkeum) is easy, satisfying, and nutritious. Full of crunch and calcium, it tastes a lot better than it looks.

  • 07 of 09

    Red Radish and Carrot Salad

    This red radish and carrot salad is bright, tasty and easy to make. For an alternative preparation, slice the radishes and carrots into round slices.

  • 08 of 09

    This light, nutty tea is served year-round with Korean food. Healthy and mild, it can be served hot, warm, or cold.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09
    Green Tea Cake

    This simple, moist green tea cake is subtly sweet. You can adjust the amount of sugar you add if you prefer a sweeter cake, or you can top your green cake with some cream cheese frosting. If it's hot and you have an ice cream maker, then you can serve this green tea ice cream instead.