NPR

Korean Culinary Cures: From Tummy Aches To Hangovers, Here's How Moms Cook Up Relief

Cooking to soothe sick children is a ritual for moms around the world. In Korea, some foods are widely believed to help treat ailments and boost health. Here's a look at some popular healing dishes.
The author's mother, Jenna Cho, holding a pot of samgyetang in her home in Mercer Island, Wash. Source: Eileen Cho

In first grade, I was hospitalized with pneumonia for over a week. I remember having to take an antibiotic syrup that gave me acid reflux. Immediately after I swallowed it, my Korean immigrant mother spoon-fed me a homemade liquid with small pieces of boiled Korean pear (), spices, and honey. This was her take on a Korean fruit punch/tea, that she brought to the hospital in a thermos. I remember it lulled my stomach and soothed my throat and chest. The Korean-American pediatrician who oversaw my treatment at the hospital told my mom that he wished he had thought about feeding me this concoction first. After I was discharged, I vomited for several days with an upset stomach from all the medicines I had to take. My mom would stay up late, soaking rice in water to make me Korean rice porridge, in the morning. I always associated with medicine, as it always magically Cooking foods to soothe sick children is a ritual for mothers around the world. But in Korea, some foods are widely believed to help treat ailments, boost health and prevent disease.

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