March 09, 2017 13:16
Seaweed soup is now most associated with birthdays and mothers who have just given birth, but originally it was a seasonal dish that people ate around this time of the year.
People living by the seaside used to call seaweed "spring greens in the sea." Soft, fresh seaweed was used to make soup or side dishes seasoned with spices, and the flavors and scents of the sea would awaken the taste buds that had been hibernating over the winter.
Seaweed has been loved by Koreans for a long time. Eating it to recover from childbirth is a practice found only in Korea and may have been learned from nature.
Scholar Seong Dae-jung wrote in a record from the late Chosun period, "A mother whale goes and finds water with lots of seaweed to fill her stomach when the time comes to give birth."
Recent research discovered that the n-3 fatty acids found in seaweed really do help new mothers to recover from childbirth. But since farming of seaweed started in Korea in 1964, it has become a more of a staple in people's daily diet.
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