Korean hangover soups

Known for their hard-drinking culture, Koreans are no strangers to intense hangovers. To beat their fatigue, Koreans rely on hangover soups, also known as haejang-guk.

People of all age-groups enjoy haejang-guks, and ahjussi are not the only ones who enjoy them. Here are 8 Korean hangover soups you should try to beat your soju-induced headaches. 

1. Beef short rib soup – galbitang

Korean hangover soups - galbitang
Image adapted from: @eunjangmi385 and @eunjangmi385

Galbitang is a hearty and nourishing soup made with beef short ribs boiled with Korean radish, onion, garlic, and ginger until tender.

It’s one of the go-to Korean hangover soups as its delicately clean taste is the perfect remedy for grogginess, and it has hearty ingredients that will help nourish your liver. 

Here’s how to make a hearty bowl of galbitang:

사먹는 맛 그대로! 뜨끈뜨끈 갈비탕 만들어보세요~
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사먹는 맛 그대로! 뜨끈뜨끈 갈비탕 만들어보세요~

Video credit: 백종원의 요리비책 Paik’s Cuisine

2. Ox blood hangover soup – seonji haejang-guk

Korean hangover soups - seonji haejang-guk
Image credit: @kim_jongkwon_

Seonji haejang-guk is a stew that features congealed ox blood, which is similar to black pudding but may not sound the most appetising to most people.

Its rich taste is an acquired one, and it isn’t universally welcome even in Korea. However, it’s a popular choice among many middle aged men as the congealed blood’s soft and smooth texture glides down the gullet easily.

Korean hangover soups - seonji haejang-gukImage credit: @batrachoi

You can add some noodles or rice for a more filling meal, and the hearty ingredients will warm you up and ensure that you are well-nourished. 

Watch this video to learn more about seonji haejang-guk. 

김구선생의 단골집이었던 선지 해장국! ♨해장하러 와서 더 마시고 간다고?♨ | 수요미식회 Hangover Food | Wednesday Foodtalk
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김구선생의 단골집이었던 선지 해장국! ♨해장하러 와서 더 마시고 간다고?♨ | 수요미식회 Hangover Food | Wednesday Foodtalk

Video credit: Olive

3. Napa cabbage soup – ugeoji-guk

Korean hangover soups - ugeoji guk
Image credit: @hoho_mom2

Ugeoji-guk is a thin and light soup made with the outer leaves of napa cabbage, and it comprises simple ingredients so you can easily make it at home. 

The other ingredients can include beef slices and bean sprouts as they go well with the sweet taste of the soup. 

Follow this simple recipe to recreate ugeoji-guk on your own:

우거지 된장국 깔끔하게 끓이는 법 기름X. 마늘X 본연의 맛 심방골주부
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우거지 된장국 깔끔하게 끓이는 법 기름X. 마늘X 본연의 맛 심방골주부

Video credit: 심방골주부 Korean Food Recipes

4. Bean sprout soup – kongnamul-guk

Korean hangover soups - kongnamul gukImage adapted from: @jachigirl_table

Kongnamul-guk is a classic Korean hangover soup as it is easy to prepare and is light enough for breakfast.

It’s frequently eaten in Korean homes, and it isn’t just used for curing hangovers. 

It can be made with any type of broth such as beef or anchovy, or simply water.

If you’re more inclined towards food with stronger flavours, add some gochugaru (red chilli pepper flakes) for a spicy kick.

Korean hangover soups - kongnamul-gukImage adapted from: @thanks_my_mate

Check out this recipe for kongnamul-guk so you can have it at home:

식당에서 먹는 콩나물국 맛의 비밀, 이건 몰랐쥬?
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식당에서 먹는 콩나물국 맛의 비밀, 이건 몰랐쥬?

Video credit: 백종원의 요리비책 Paik’s Cuisine

5. Pufferfish soup – bok-guk

Korean hangover soups - bokguk
Image adapted from: @juhun_v and @amys.happylife

Bok-guk is a hot, brothy soup with pufferfish as its main ingredient.

Some restaurants don’t remove the eyes and the scales of the fish, so don’t be surprised if you see them poking through the surface of the soup.

Most restaurants will offer the soup in two different versions: maeuntang (spicy soup) and jiri (clear non-spicy soup), so you can opt for either based on your preference. 

Bok-guk is especially popular in the port city of Busan, and there are many restaurants that specialise in them. 

Here’s a video of a pufferfish soup mukbang to get your stomach rumbling:

부산옛날할매복국 역사60년,[국밥구만리20편]
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부산옛날할매복국 역사60년,[국밥구만리20편]

Video credit: 이홍렬TV

6. Pork spine soup – bbyeo haejang-guk

Korean hangover soups - bbyeo haejang-guk
Image credit: @tazo_pictures

Bbyeo haejang-guk is a rich and spicy soup piled high with tender chunks of pork that fall off the bone. 

The piping hot broth has a nutty fragrance, with spices that will whisk your headache away and ensure that you are ready to conquer your day. 

You can simply have it with a bowl of rice as the rich flavour of this soup needs no other supplement. 

Check out this video of Yoo Jae-seok and Cho Sae-ho enjoying some bbyeo haejang-guk.

[#지나철] ⏱️3분⏱️ 말 없이 먹기만 하는 뼈해장국/등뼈찜 먹방 Steamed backbone Mukbang | #유퀴즈온더블럭 #Diggle
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[#지나철] ⏱️3분⏱️ 말 없이 먹기만 하는 뼈해장국/등뼈찜 먹방 Steamed backbone Mukbang | #유퀴즈온더블럭 #Diggle

Video credit: tvN D ENT

7. Golden freshwater clam soup – jaecheop-guk

Korean hangover soups - jaecheop-guk
Image adapted from: @on_sj_table and @_gelulu

This soup may be a hard pass for those with a burning hatred of chives and green onions – you’re missing out. 

Jaecheop-guk is a clear soup made by boiling small golden freshwater clams and simply seasoned with salt.

Although it only consists of a few ingredients, this soup is packed with the natural flavour of sweet golden clams.

Golden clams are also rich in taurine, an organic compound known to help reduce liver damage.

8. Dried pollock soup – bugeo-guk

Korean hangover soups - bugeo guk
Image credit: @gurasanniki

Bugeo-guk is a soup made with dried pollock, which is a rich source of proteins and amino acids and has detoxifying and soothing effects. 

It’s a simple soup enjoyed by people of all ages, not just folks with hangovers, and you can add ingredients such as eggs and cucumber to complement the light flavours. 

Fun fact: even though the dish is simple, bugeo-guk was one of the menu items served to President Obama at his lunch with South Korean President Lee Myong-bak during his visit to Seoul in 2009.

Here is a simple bugeo-guk recipe you can follow:

황태뭇국. 진한 국물로 속 시원하게 풀어드립니다
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황태뭇국. 진한 국물로 속 시원하게 풀어드립니다

Video credit: 쿡피아 Cookpia

Korean hangover soups to wash away your soju blues

After indulging in soju or makgeolli, these piping hot Korean hangover soups will come to the rescue, rid you of your soju sins, and instantly rejuvenate you – or at the very least, it’ll fill your belly and keep you going till your hangover passes. 

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Cover image adapted from: @kim_jongkwon_, @gurasanniki, @eunjangmi385 

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