Just Thanksgiving in the U.S. would be right without turkey or pumpkin pie, Chuseok wouldn’t be the same without 송편 (songpyeon), or half-moon shaped rice cakes.
This traditional Chuseok foods is filled with different types of sweet or semi-sweet fillings, including sesame seeds and honey or sweet red bean paste. Then the rice cakes are steamed over a layer of pine needles (yes, just like the ones on the pine tree in your front yard).
If you’re feeling adventerous, you can make songpyeon using the recipe found at the Korea Tourism site: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FO/FO_EN_6_5_2_6.jsp. Or you can usually find songpyeon already made at your local Korean market.
I had songpyeon for the first time this past Sunday at a Chuseok celebration put on by one of our local Korean churches. It was yummy! But I must admit that since my son doesn’t like them, I cheat and make Rice Krispy Treats in the shape of half-moons instead.
But even if songpyeon doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy, you can still enjoy a Korean feast on Chuseok. Other dishes commonly served at Chuseok are: soup, fish, jap chae, fruit, and rice.