Hangover Food, the Last Course of Korean Drinking Culture
Alcohol is an essential food for travel. Alcohol is the best way to experience the country's culture, along with food. In particular, Korea has a lot of spicy, salty, and savory food, so it is a perfect place to enjoy alcohol. The only problem is that the food tastes so good that you can drink too much without realizing it. But don't worry. There is a special 'Hangover food' that can relieve your hangover.
Most Korean hangover foods are soup dishes. Also called 'Haejang-guk,' it is not a special menu but refers to any soup that relieves a hangover. In the West, the next day after drinking, people have simple foods such as hamburgers and vegetables such as tomato juice and pickles. However, in Korea, where soup dishes are common, there is a culture of eating hangover soup. Since it is a combination of soup and rice, you can eat it comfortably even when you feel bloated, and you can choose the menu depending on your mood as there are various flavors. So, if you have a difficult morning from drinking too much the previous night, then it's time for you to taste the last course of Korean drinking culture, 'Hangover Food.' I hope you can soothe your stomach and recharge your battery with healthy food.
Kongnamul Gukbap/Bean Sprouts and Rice Soup, a hangover soup Korean people love
The most popular hangover food among Koreans is 'Kongnamul Gukbap/Bean Sprouts and Rice Soup.' Bean sprouts are sprouts from soybeans and look similar to mung bean sprouts. The difference is that while mung bean sprouts are cooked in many countries around the world, bean sprouts are mainly consumed in Korea. Since bean sprouts have thicker and firmer stems than mung bean sprouts, they are good for making broth, and their crunchy texture is suitable for Koreans who like to chew.
Above all, bean sprouts are rich in aspartic acid, which is effective in detoxification. For this reason, bean sprout soup has become Koreans' most loved hangover food. Kongnamul Gukbap/Bean Sprouts and Rice Soup is made by adding rice, boiled bean sprouts, and green onions in a seafood broth.I It has a refreshing and deep taste that comes with only a few ingredients. It is not spicy, so anyone can eat it, and if you add salted shrimp instead of salt, the savory taste is stronger, and you can enjoy it even more. The 'poached egg' that comes with bean sprouts soup is also a delicacy. Poached eggs are lightly cooked in a bowl with sesame oil. If you add two or three spoons of hot soup and stir it, it dissolves like soup, and adding seaweed powder makes it more savory. The harmony of soft poached eggs and hot soup makes your bloated stomach comfortable. Let's experience the effect of hangover food with a bowl of Kongnamul Gukbap.
Bisabeol Jeonju Kongnamul Gukbap / Kongnamul Gukbap/Bean Sprouts and Rice Soup 9,000 Won
1-2, Wangsimni-ro 6-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
3-minute walk from Seoul Forest station exit 1
Gamjatang/Pork Backbone Stew that relieves your heartburn
Although pork backbone is not popular abroad, it is a popular cut for hangover food in Korea. Pork bones contain essential amino acids and B vitamins, and lean meat is rich in protein, helping us to recover from fatigue. 'Gamjatang/Pork Backbone Stew' is a dish made by boiling pork backbone in broth with various vegetables such as beef jerky, potatoes, sesame leaves, and green onions for a long time. It is popular with foreign tourists because it uses soybean paste and perilla as the main seasoning, and it is not too spicy and has a savory taste.
If you go to a restaurant, you can see that they sell 'Gamjatang/Pork Backbone Stew' and 'Ppyeo Haejangguk/Pork Backbone Hangover Soup' together. Gamjatang is served in a large pot and shared together, and Ppyeo Haejangguk is served in a pot for one person. The form is different, but the taste and way of eating are the same. You can eat lean meat on the bone. The meat is very soft and moist, so it is fun to debone it all the way to the end. Dipping meat in mustard sauce or eating it with soup is also a good idea. While eating Gamjatang, the bottom of the pot is revealed before you realize it, and it's time to order 'Bokkeumbap/Fried Rice' as the last thing. Bokkeumbap with seaweed in the remaining seasoning is a food that allows you to enjoy the charm of Gamjatang to the end. The crispy texture and savory taste of Nurungji/Scorched Rice at the bottom is a must-try delicacy, so don't miss it even if you're full.
Bonga Wangppyeo Gamjatang / Gamjatang/Pork Backbone Stew (M) 36,000 Won
Bonga Wangppyeo Gamjatang Children's Grand Park Branch, 8, Neungdong-ro 19-gil, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul
10:00 – 23:00 (Closed on the 2nd Tuesday of every month)
Children's Grand Park station exit 4
Jaecheop Guk/Marsh Clam Soup, amazing nutrition in a small body
Jaecheop is the smallest edible clam in Korea. It only lives in Korea, China, and Japan, so it may feel unfamiliar to Westerners. Jaecheop lives not in the sea but in freshwater with low salinity. Although it is only about 2cm in length, its nutrients are by no means small, so it is called a 'remedy among shellfish.' Rich in essential amino acids methionine and taurine, it is known to help relieve hangovers and promote liver health.
Among jaecheop dishes, one of the most famous seafood dishes is Jaecheop Guk/Marsh Clam Soup. It is seasoned with clams, salt, and chives only and has no other ingredients. When boiling other soups with clams or ramie, garlic is usually added to create a deeper flavor, but Jaecheop Guk is characterized by not adding garlic for the unique taste and aroma of jaecheop. Because of this, it has a lighter, fresher, and cleaner charm, making it particularly good for breakfast. If you feel heavy due to accumulated fatigue and drinking while traveling, try Jaecheop Guk instead of spicier food. The nutrients of jaecheop soaked in the warm soup will relieve your exhaustion and fill you with fresh energy.
Gwangju Seomjingang River / Jaecheop guk/Marsh Clam Soup 13,000 won
6, Eonju-ro 148-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
11:30-22:00 (Closed every Sunday)
A 13-minute walk from Hakdong station exit 10
Need some extra energy? Try Korea’s invigorating food
In Korea, they say, “eat good food if you want to stay healthy.” According to some Korean medicine literature, food can cure diseases. So, in Korea, there is a custom of eating nutritious food with high nutritional value when you are tired or sick.
If you suffer from travel fatigue, it might be a good idea to try some invigorating Korean food instead of vitamins. In Korea, there are recipes that harmoniously combine various ingredients of different flavors, and nourishing foods are no exception. Here are some of Korea’s most well-known energy-boosting dishes to invigorate your body and delight your taste buds at the same time. So, please give them a try.
Feeling tired? Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup)
In Korea, the hottest summer days are known as ‘boknal’ when people eat especially energy-boosting foods to beat the heat. Among them, ‘samgyetang’ is one of the most enjoyed dishes. A typical samgyetang dish consists of one whole chicken stuffed with ginseng, glutinous rice called chapsal, dates, chestnuts, hwanggi roots, and more. Given the effectiveness of the ingredients, it is practically an herbal tonic with a chicken in it. In particular, ginseng, an essential ingredient for the soup, is a well-known medicinal herb worldwide. Moreover, ginseng contains antioxidants called saponins, which are effective in relieving fatigue.
The summer dish boasts a unique taste, with tender and tasty ginseng-flavored meatand a rich and delicious broth. To get at the delicious ingredients inside, you need to start with the tasty chicken meat. Eat the tender white chicken with salt and pepper so that it tastes even better. Then, move on to the stuffing. Among the ingredients, you might find glutinous rice to be the most interesting. The sticky rice infused with the chicken broth and ginseng flavor is to die for.Once you blend it all together into porridge and finish the bowl, then you have truly eaten samgyetang the Korean way. Being easily digestible and high in nutrients, it will make you feel energized and healthy all day long.
Cheongdam Yeongyang Center / Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) KRW 19,000
7, Hakdong-ro 87-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Exit 10 of Cheongdam Station
Need to restore stamina? Jangeogui (Grilled eel)
You can’t talk about nourishing Korean foods without mentioning eel. Rich in protein, vitamin A, unsaturated fatty acid, and an amino acid called arginine, known to facilitate blood circulation, eel is considered a stamina booster. It is believed that the tails, in particular, can increase the stamina and vitality of men. Male Korean diners often fight amongst themselves to claim the most “nutritious” part.
Eel is cooked in a variety of ways in many countries around the world. But in Korea, grilling is the most popular way to enjoy it. You can choose what suits your taste most from salt-grilled eels that retain the original flavor of the fish, grilled red chili paste marinated eels, and soy sauce marinated eels. Grilled eel is oily and savory, making it feel like you are eating meat. If the oily taste feels too much for you, try a side dish that comes with it. Eat it together with shredded ginger, mustard sauce, pickles, or green onion kimchi. The refreshing taste will complement the oiliness of the grilled eel, and you will finish the dish in an instant.
Seokchon Minmuljangeo / Grilled Eel in Whole KRW 37,000
Seongwoo Bldg. 290, Seokchonhosu-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
7-minute walk from Exit 1 of Songpanaru Station 11-minute walk from Exit 10 of Jamsil Station
Feeling sick? Jeonbokjuk (Abalone Porridge)
Abalone, which has a chewy and firm texture, is one of the ‘health foods’ much enjoyed in Korea. Dubbed ‘the king of the sea,’ it is considered a premium food ingredient. Rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals while low in fat, it is good for you to recuperate yourself. In particular, it is known to be high in taurine, which works to preserve liver function.
Among other recipes using abalones, porridge is the most well-known. In Korea, people eat porridge whensick from a cold or enteritis, and abalone porridge is perceived as the king of porridge for its taste and nutritional value. It is made with rice and abalones, boiled in broth into a thick consistency and has a distinctively rich flavor and chewy texture. Although enjoyed as simple white porridge in most cases, you can also find one with a greenish hue, the color from the internal organs (viscera), which are believed to deepen the flavor and nutrition. The green color results from its feed, primarily kelp, seaweed, and other algae. Abalone porridge with guts is considered to be particularly nourishing and restorative. So, if you feel under the weather from the fatigue of your journey, try a bowl of abalone porridge. It will help you get back your appetite and vitality sooner rather than later.
Jini Jeonbokjuk / Abalone Porridge Special KRW 27,000