About Soup and Koreans

It is almost an emotional thing, but in Korea, it is unthinkable to eat or serve rice without some kind of Goog Mool (something soupy) at the same time. It may be Goog or Tahng, usually a simpler and more watery type of soup made with one main ingredient and served individually; or Jigae, a saltier and/or spicier and/or pungent type with more complex flavours, but still made with one main ingredient, and seved to be shared; or Juhngol, a braised combination of meats or seafood with vegetables and dofu, that can be the main dish of the meal.

Most soup stock are either beef or dried anchovy based, and to a much lesser extent, chicken; pork is hardly ever used. Some soup recipes only need water, salt and soy sauce; others rely on soy bean paste or chilli paste to add extra flavour; chopped garlic and spring onion are compulsory.

In the summer, cold soups are very popular. Stock is made from just water, vinegar and either salt or soy sauce to season, with addition of cucumber, Miyuk (a seaweed), Beansprouts, lettuce, or egg plant, etc. are seasoned and flavored, then iced stock is poured over just before serving. Kong Goog, a soybean milk soup, or Gget Gook Tahng, made from sesame seed milk and chicken stock are examples of more nutritious cold soups.