Koreans eat Miyeok-guk(미역국, sea mustard soup) on their birthday. It’s a tradition maybe because Miyeok-guk is the first meal that new-born babies take in the form of milk from their moms. Korean moms should eat Miyeok-guk almost everyday for weeks after giving birth. My mom was shocked to hear that my sister gave birth to my nephew, Sean, in Chicago and ate only a cold sandwich with coke at the hospital. She flew to Chicago right away and cooked Miyeok-guk in a large pot for my sister. ^_^
We usually make Miyeok-guk on a beef-soup base or a clam-soup base. I prefer clam-based Miyeok-guk because of its clean taste.
1. Dip the dried Miyeok in cold water until they become soft(about 20~30 minutes).
2. Thorougly rinse the Miyeok with your hand in cold water and drain the water.
3. Cut the Miyeok into bite sizes.
6. If you add water, you will notice the clam juice by the color of the soup.
7. Boil it and remove the bubbles with a spoon.
8. When it starts boiling, add one and a half spoons of tuna fish sauce(참치액젓) and a half spoon of salt.(Add some more salt to your taste.)
9. Boil it over medium and low heat for 15~20 minutes.
This is a humble breakfast on a birthday morning. By the way, there is an interesting superstition that students, who is going to take an exam, avoid eating Miyeok-guk even on their birthday because they think that they might fail in the exam after eating ‘slippery’ Miyeok. ^_^