Anyone who visits South Korea learns that aside from gorgeous historical landmarks, the food is the main tourist attraction. But you don’t need to book a ticket to experience
delicious and authentic Korean cuisine.
In any culture, soup is
the ultimate comfort food. Whether it’s broth-based or smooth and creamy, you can never go wrong with soup as an appetizer or a main meal.
I would argue that Korean recipes have perfected the concept of soup, from amazing vegetable-packed dishes to noodle-filled bowls.
In this quick guide, we’ll cover nineteen popular Korean soups to make, with recipes for each and every one so you can enjoy these beautiful dishes from the comfort of your own home.
Dak Gomtang, or Korean Chicken Soup, is pure warmth in a bowl.
The base of this soup is a chicken bone broth, often cooked for many hours to soak up that delicious chicken flavor.
You can serve the soup with just rice and kimchi or add some Korean sweet potato noodles.
Dduk Guk, also called Tteokguk, is a Korean soup eaten traditionally on New Year’s Day.
Eating the soup on New Year’s Day brings good luck for the year.
The dish uses beef broth (although an anchovy broth can substitute for easy cooking), combined with sliced rice cakes, eggs, scallions, and roasted seaweed.
Eomukguk is a simple soup often served as a quick street snack by vendors.
The soup starts with a simple anchovy broth, the easiest stock/broth in Korean soups.
The star of this dish is the fish cakes, a combination of minced fish, a starch (often rice flour), which are then fried until golden and crispy.
Galbitang is a delicious and hearty soup that serves well as a main course.
Galbitang is a clear soup made with beef short ribs, which creates the stock and stewed meat in this soup.
A daikon radish helps give the broth a sharp but inviting flavor that mixes well with the beef.
Kongnamul translates to soybean sprout, and “guk” is the general word for soup in Korean, so Kongnamulguk is a soybean sprout soup that features the popular Asian cuisine ingredient of bean sprouts.
Anchovy broth is the base of the soup, combined with bean sprouts, scallions, fish sauce, soy sauce, and Korean red pepper flakes.
Miyeok Guk, a beef and seaweed soup, is often known as “Birthday Soup.”
This title is because, traditionally, you’ll eat this soup for breakfast on your birthday.
Miyeok is an edible seaweed also called “wakame.”
This dish combines miyeok, beef broth, sliced beef, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
Samgyetan is similar to Dak Gomtang, though this soup adds ginseng for a complex flavor profile.
The soup uses a whole chicken, often a young, small chicken or a cornish hen.
This soup is famous in the summer when allergies start to hit the population because the soup is generally considered an energy booster and health aid.
Seolleongtang is an ox bone soup from Seoul, South Korea.
Ox is hailed as a significant health food in South Korea, so this is a famous soup when winter colds start.
Along with an ox bone and daikon radish broth, this soup consists of sliced beef, scallions, and garlic.
The soup is always served with kimchi and rice.
Yukaejang is a spicy beef soup that is less brothy and thicker than other Korean soups.
Both gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) add spice to this delicious one-pot soup.
This soup consists of sliced beef, scallions, bean sprouts, dried seaweed, soy sauce, eggs, and, sometimes, glass noodles.
Jjamppong is similar to a seafood stew but with the trademark spice for which Korean soups are famous.
Noodles help make this one of the heartier soups on our list.
Jjampong consists of stir-fried garlic, ginger, scallions, sliced pork, onions, and veggies simmered with Chinese cooking wine and soy sauce topped with
assorted seafood (shrimp, squid, crab, clams) and egg noodles.
The frequent use of potatoes in Korean cuisine may surprise people, but Gamjaguk, or Korean Potato Soup, shows how this tasty tuber makes its way into many dishes.
The potatoes take bite-size form, floating in the delicious beef broth base.
The basic ingredient list is relatively short: potatoes, beef broth, sliced beef, soy sauce, and garlic.
Manduguk is a rice cake and dumpling soup with Korean “mandu” or dumplings.
Korean mandu was originally a fancy dish popular with the Korean royal court.
The recipe is pretty similar to Wonton Soup, just with Korean dumplings in the place of wontons.
Manduguk combines dumplings, beef or anchovy broth, and scallions.
Sundubu Jigae is a spicy soft tofu soup with silken tofu and major spice.
In South Korea, this dish is often made with extra-soft tofu, a variation of tofu that almost has a cream consistency.
However, this ingredient is hard to find outside of Korea, so silken tofu often takes its place.
Gochujang is one of the most prevalent ingredients in Korean cuisine, so it’s not surprising that Gochujang Stew is a famous soup.
The main ingredient is gochujang, which is Korean red pepper paste.
Along with gochujang, this soup combines onion, garlic, potato, fermented soybean paste, zucchini, and
While gochujang is fairly well-known outside of South Korea, the lesser-known doenjang hasn’t experienced as much spread.
Doenjang is a fermented soybean paste that many consider a healthy food.
Similar to Gochujang Stew, this soup features veggies like zucchini and potato in a thicker broth.
The bean paste has a strong fermented flavor, which many people love.
Gukbap, also known as Korean Beef Soup with Rice, is a simple soup similar to the
Chinese dish sweet and sour soup.
This soup uses a beef broth base that is adequately spiced with gochujang and gochujaru.
Beef slices are central, but cooked rice is the final ingredient as it soaks up the flavor of the delicious broth.
Most countries have a cold soup recipe that comes out at the best of times, especially in places that get as humid and hot as South Korea.
There’s nothing as refreshing as a cold soup on a sweltering hot day.
Oi Naengguk, or Korean Cucumber Soup, consists of cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, brown rice vinegar, and ice cubes.
Janchi Guksu, also called Korean Warm Noodle Soup or banquet noodles, is a popular dish served at birthday and wedding celebrations.
This dish is always served at “hangwap,” the Korean 60th birthday celebration.
Janchi Guksu consists of wheat noodles, anchovy (or beef) broth, soy sauce, gochugaru, and sesame oil topped with sliced zucchini, egg, carrot, and kimchi.
Korean cuisine has lots of tasty soup options that are great year-round.
Try them at some of
the best Korean restaurants in America or check out Korean breakfast food if you’re interested in learning more about this food.
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