Yaksik, made by steaming sticky rice with chestnuts, jujubes and pine nuts and seasoned with soy sauce or honey, was traditionally a dish served only on festive occasions.
In the past, honey was hard to come by and considered to have medicinal properties. Hence its alternative name yakbap, literally meaning "medicinal rice."
Due to its flamboyant appearance and rich flavor, the dish was so popular that it was always served at high-end restaurants during the Japanese colonial period, according to a Chosun Ilbo article dated Feb. 13, 1934.
It was believed that eating the dish at the beginning of the year helps prevent illnesses.