Korean Hangover Cures (Part 1) Posted by Flying Oyster on Jun 10, 2019 in Uncategorized
Every country has different hangover food. When I first moved to Australia, l was surprised when my friends were all looking for pizza as a hangover cure when my stomach was looking for a bowl of spicy Korean soup. Pizza can be a good hangover food option for me now since I have limited Korean food options where I live, but I know my stomach is really looking for 해장음식 (hae-jang-eum-sik: hangover food). As I have been viscerally missing Korean food, I hope I can console my stomach by talking about them with you.
콩나물 (kong-nah-mul: Bean sprouts) is a common 반찬 (banh-chanh: side dish) 재료 (jae-ryoe: ingredients) in Korean cuisine. 콩나물국(kong-nah-mul-gook: Bean sprouts soup) is particularly good for hangover because those yellow bean sprouts contain abundant asparagine and vitamins which help break down alcohol.
As you probably guessed, 콩나물국 is a soup made of 콩나물. It is more of a clear broth than a soup, which is usually served hot. Most Koreans add red pepper flakes to make the broth 칼칼하다 (kahl-kahl-hah-dah: spicy, but refreshing). The hot temperature of the broth is supposed to help with faster blood circulation as the body temperature increases with the consumption of hot broth. Whether Koreans knew about the fact or not, most Korean hangover food options are hot soups, instead of consuming cold food. If you don’t like hot food for hangover, you can eat 콩나물국 cold as well.
If I remember correctly from a study done in the past, Korea has one of the world’s highest alcohol consumption per capita. Therefore, we have 해장국 (hae-jang-gook: hangover soup). It literally means a bowl of hangover soup and most 해장국 is served in a 뚝배기 (ttukbaegi: earthen pot).
해장국 can have different names depending on the main ingredients. If 콩나물 is the principle ingredient of the soup, it is mostly anchovy broth-based soup. If 황태 (hwang-tae: dried fish Pollak) is the main of the soup, it is mostly 황태 broth-based. 뼈해장국 (ppyue-hae-jang-gook: bone broth hangover soup) is bone broth based 해장국. Names of 해장국 can be changed depending on the main 재료.
However, I am going to introduce you to 선지해장국 (sun-jee-hae-jang-gook: blood clot hangover soup), which is somehow hard to find in areas where I am living. It is one of the 서민음식 (seo-min-eum-sik: foods that ordinary people eat) in Korea and one of my favorite Korean soups. 선지(sun-jee:blood clot) is clotted blood from cow or pig, served fully cooked and possessing a gelatin-like texture. 선지해장국 is mainly seasoned with 된장 (deon-jang: soybean paste), but it can be spicy due to a mixture of other Korean condiments. As far as I know, beef broth is used for the soup. Some of you may be hesitant to try because of the lumps of blood in the soup, but you will be addicted to this special hangover soup once you taste it.
I still have lists of other Korean hangover cures to talk about for next time. Until then, I hope that you will try one of these soups if you ever have the opportunity. Although I am adding a friendly reminder to you. You don’t need to drink before you taste them. They are simply soul quenching good food.
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