Haejang-guk or hangover soup refers to all kinds of guk or soup eaten as a hangover cure in Korean cuisine. It means “soup to chase a hangover” and is also called sulguk (Korean). It usually consists of dried Napa cabbage, vegetables and meat in a hearty beef broth.
Looking at Korea’s dedicated drinking culture, it’s not surprising that Korea’s hangover-curing culture is well developed.
There are various types of haejangguk according to region based on ingredients and recipe that give each variety its own characteristic taste. Haejangguk of the Seoul region is a kind of tojangguk (soybean paste soup) made with kongnamul, radish, napa cabbage, scallions, coagulated ox blood, and tojang in a broth. The broth is prepared by simmering ox bones in a pot with water for hours. The neighborhood of Cheongjin-dong is famous for the Seoul style haejangguk.
In the city of Jeonju, people eat “kongnamaul gukbap” as a haejangguk. A little lean kongnamul with the length of an index finger are poached in water diluted with a small amount of salt. Along with the kongnamul, steamed rice, sliced ripe kimchi, scallions and garlic, beef broth, and a small amount of shank are put into a ttukbaegi (a small earthen pot) over heat and the kongnamul broth is poured into it. When the ingredients are boiled, a raw egg is cracked over the soup. Once it is served, a mixture of sesame seeds and salt, scallions, minced garlic, chili pepper, and chili pepper powder, and saeujeot (salted fermented shrimp) are put into the haejanguk are added according to the diner’s taste.
It is said that, when eating haejangguk, if the diner drinks a cup of moju made by boiling a fermented mixture of makgeolli (a type of rice wine), sugar, and wheat flour, the combination would be good to alleviate the hangover.