Miyeok-guk (sea mustard soup) is a symbol of birthdays for Koreans. From the ancient time, it is the first meal mothers have after giving birth, so it has become a food representing birth. Even those who dislike Miyeok-guk usually eat it on their birthdays.
Rich in calcium and iodine, Miyeok helps the womb contract and stimulate the production of new blood cells. Ever since this benefit was first proven scientifically, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, a well-known Los Angeles hospital, has started to offer Miyeok-guk as a post-partum meal.
There is a fun expression when students did not pass the exam, or when office workers fail to be promoted to an organization, Koreans usually say “I had Miyeok-guk today”. This expression comes from due to the slippy character of Miyeok (seaweed) and it means that ‘I failed to be a success’.