Haejangguk - The Spicy Hangover Curry of Korea

Haejangguk - The Spicy Hangover Curry of Korea

Hangovers are a universal phenomenon, and each culture has its own unique remedies to combat the aftermath of a night of indulgence. In Korea, a country known for its vibrant culinary scene and rich cultural heritage, there is a beloved hangover cure that stands out: Haejangguk- The spicy hangover curry of Korea . This hearty and spicy soup not only satisfies hunger but is also believed to alleviate the dreaded hangover symptoms. The name "Haejangguk" itself translates to "soup to chase a hangover," reflecting its purpose and significance.

Beyond its physical benefits, Haejangguk holds a deep cultural significance in Korean society. It is believed that this soup not only helps alleviate hangover symptoms but also purifies the body and restores energy. In Korean drinking culture, Haejangguk is often enjoyed as a communal meal shared among friends after a night of revelry. Gathering around a steaming pot of Haejangguk fosters a sense of camaraderie and provides an opportunity to reflect on the previous night's adventures while replenishing one's spirits.

The infusion of ingredients makes the dish a masterpiece

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The key to Haejangguk lies in its carefully selected ingredients, which work harmoniously to create a revitalizing and satisfying experience. The base of the soup typically consists of a rich and hearty broth, often derived from beef bones that are simmered for hours to extract maximum flavor. Various cuts of meat, such as pork, beef, or offal, are added, providing both protein and a depth of taste. Complementing the meat are an array of vegetables, such as cabbage, bean sprouts, radish, and green onions, which add freshness and texture to the soup. To infuse the dish with its signature spiciness, gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) or gochujang (fermented chili paste) are incorporated, giving Haejangguk its distinct kick.

While the base recipe remains consistent, different regions and households have their own variations of Haejangguk. Seolleongtang, a milky white bone broth soup, is a popular choice known for its mild flavor and tender beef slices. On the other hand, Gamjatang, a spicy pork spine soup, features potatoes and a robust blend of seasonings, offering a fiery twist to the hangover remedy. Gomtang, another variation, focuses on a clear broth made from beef bones and is often consumed for its comforting and nourishing qualities.

Here we will explore its origins, ingredients, and the cultural significance it holds in Korean society.

The Origins of Haejangguk:

Haejangguk, which translates to "soup to chase a hangover," has a long history dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. Discover the origins and evolution of this iconic Korean dish and how it became a staple in the Korean culinary landscape. How this culinary treasure emerged as a go-to remedy for Koreans battling hangovers and what makes it so unique in the realm of comfort foods.

The Ingredients That Make It Special:

The key ingredients that make up Haejangguk, as well as the complex flavors that contribute to its unique taste. From the rich broth to the various cuts of meat, vegetables, and seasonings, each element plays a crucial role in creating a satisfying and revitalizing dish. From selecting the right cuts of meat to mastering the art of balancing flavors, the techniques and secrets behind creating this satisfying and rejuvenating dish.

Haejangguk and Korean Drinking Culture:

Haejangguk and Korean Drinking Culture

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How this humble soup has become an integral part of Korean culinary traditions, appearing not only as a hangover cure but also as a symbol of camaraderie, resilience, and the importance of communal dining. The social dynamics and etiquette surrounding drinking in Korea and how Haejangguk plays a role in this vibrant aspect of Korean society.

Haejangguk Variations:

Haejangguk Variation

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While the base of Haejangguk remains consistent, there are regional and personal variations that add diversity to this hangover cure. Take a culinary journey through the different types of Haejangguk, such as the iconic Seolleongtang, spicy Gamjatang, or the invigorating Gomtang, each with its own distinct flavors and characteristics.

Cultural Significance:

Haejangguk is often enjoyed as a communal meal, bringing people together to share stories and bond over their shared experiences. The cultural significance of Haejangguk in Korean society. The traditional belief that this soup not only helps alleviate physical hangover symptoms but also cleanses the body and revitalizes the spirit. 

Pairing Haejangguk with Korean Drinks:

The perfect beverage pairings to accompany your bowl of Haejangguk, from classic Korean alcoholic drinks like Soju and Makgeolli to other popular choices, uncover the complementary flavors that enhance the overall experience and make for a delightful combination.

Haejangguk Beyond Hangovers:

The versatility of Haejangguk beyond its hangover-curing properties shows how this dish can be enjoyed as a comforting meal during colder months or as a flavorful representation of Korean culinary heritage, regardless of its medicinal associations.

Where to Experience Haejangguk:

Places to experience Haejangguk soup

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For those eager to try this quintessential Korean hangover cure, we provide recommendations on the best places to savor Haejangguk in Korea. From local neighborhood spots to renowned establishments. Exploring local markets, traditional neighborhoods, and popular food streets will increase your chances of discovering hidden gems and local favorites. The dining destinations not only serve the soup but also provide an immersive experience, allowing visitors to partake in the vibrant and warm atmosphere that accompanies a Haejangguk meal.

We highlight popular destinations where you can experience the authentic flavors of this comforting soup- 

  • Seoul
  • Busan
  • Jeonju
  • Jeju Island

The spicy hangover soup recipe

Haejangguk is a traditional Korean soup that is commonly consumed to help alleviate the symptoms of a hangover. It is made with a rich beef broth and a variety of ingredients. Here's a full recipe for Haejangguk:


  • 1 lb beef bones (such as brisket bones or ox bones)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 lb beef brisket, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
  • 1 cup napa cabbage, sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced radish
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup cooked soybean paste (doenjang)
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked rice, for serving


  • Sliced green onions
  • Thinly sliced red chili peppers
  • Sesame seeds


  1. In a large pot, add the beef bones and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour to create a flavorful beef broth.
  1. While the broth is simmering, heat the vegetable oil in a separate pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, sliced onion, and grated ginger. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
  1. Add the sliced beef brisket to the pan and cook until it is no longer pink.
  1. Once the broth has simmered for an hour, strain the beef bones out of the broth and discard them.
  1. Add the cooked beef brisket, sautéed onion and garlic mixture, sliced shiitake mushrooms, napa cabbage, bean sprouts, radish, and green onions to the pot with the beef broth.
  1. In a small bowl, mix the cooked soybean paste (doenjang), hot pepper paste (gochujang), soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add this mixture to the pot and stir well to incorporate all the flavors.
  1. Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  1. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper according to your preference.
  1. Serve the Haejangguk hot with a side of cooked rice. Garnish with sliced green onions, thinly sliced red chili peppers, and sesame seeds, if desired.

Haejangguk is a hearty and comforting soup that can help revive you after a night of indulgence. Enjoy it as a nourishing meal, especially when you need a little pick-me-up.


Haejangguk- the spicy hangover cure of Korea, with its amazing flavors and cultural significance, stands as a testament to the deep-rooted traditions, their approach to both food and wellness and culinary marvels of Korea. As you savor this spicy hangover cure, not only will your hangover subside, but you'll also gain a newfound appreciation for the rich tapestry of Korean culture and its love affair with nourishing remedies. It is a dish that combines nourishment, comfort, and the desire to combat the aftereffects of indulgence. Whether seeking solace from a hangover or simply intrigued by the rich tapestry of Korean cuisine, Haejangguk offers a flavorful journey into the heart of Korean culture, where a steaming bowl of soup becomes a remedy for both the body and the soul…

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