National Liberation Day
August 15, 2014, SEOUL – August 15 marks one of the most important public holidays in the Korean calendar, Independence Day or Gwangbokjeol as it is known locally. Translated literally, it means “Restoration of Light Day”, and celebrates the victory over Japan which liberated Korea from 35 years of Japanese colonial rule on August 15, 1945. August 15 also commemorates the formation of the very first South Korean government three years later under Syngman Rhee, on August 15, 1948. It was during the Japanese wartime mobilization of 1937-45 that Korea suffered the most during colonization as Korean men were forced to fight on the frontline for Japan or were sent to work in Japanese factories, while many young Korean women were drafted as “Comfort Women” for Japanese soldiers. After the defeat of Japan in 1945, Korea was liberated but only until 1948 when the Soviets backed Kim Il Sung was appointed the new leader of North Korea and Sygnman Rhee was formally installed as the first president of South Korea.
- 2 cups medium-grain Korean (or Japanese) rice
- 1 large cucumber (sliced into thin strips)
- 1/5 cups bean sprouts
- 1/5 cups spinach (parboiled and squeezed of excess water)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 carrots (julienned)
- 4 shiitake mushrooms sliced
- dash of oil
- 1 zucchini (sliced into thin strips)
- 1/2 pound cooked meat( chicken, beef or pork) sliced thin
- Optional: fried egg as a topping
- Red pepper paste condiment
- More sesame oil as a condiment
To begin cook rice as per package, next give your cucumber a salwater bath for 20 minutes drain and set aside, then season spinach with sesame oil and a pinch of salt then toss and let stand. Blanch carrots and zucchini for 1 minute then keep warm and set aside. In a medium sauce pan heat oil and sauté the mushrooms until tender, set aside and in the same pan cook your egg sunny side up so the yolk runs (delish). Now the best part, grab a big bowl add your cooked rice first, then arrange meat and veggies on top rice, add condiment, salt and pepper, then put sunny egg on the top, break the yolk and eat !