[The Palate] Haejangguk, beyond the hangover

By Korea Herald

Rustic meat and offal soup evolves at Jungang Haejang

  • Published : Dec 2, 2016 - 17:35
  • Updated : Dec 2, 2016 - 18:17

It would be an understatement to say that Korean food is heavily based on soups and stews. Soup is a great way to stretch a meal so many could be fed cost consciously and to also make the most of modest ingredients and parts of meats that may not translate well into other dishes. In the food world today, what was considered food for “commoners” is now celebrated by an industry that has somehow taken a while to glorify the cheaper less desirable dishes already enjoyed and known by many. 

Korean food beyond Korea is a more mainstream version of the classic dishes. Domestically, however, the authentic versions may sometimes be unrecognizable, as with the dish haejangguk, a robust soup with ingredients ranging from blood pudding to the simple bean sprout, and varied in style to test the limits of one’s appetite. Known for it’s heavy drinking culture, hangover cures have become mythical in Korea. Haejangguk is a culinary remedy, but today it can be enjoyed at any time for its warming and hearty savory flavor that fills and soothes the body and soul. 

Hanwoo seonji haejanggguk at Jungang Haejangguk (Christine Cho)

In Korea it is hard to find a restaurant that can balance a clean and relaxing ambience, pleasant service, and authentic Korean food. Koreans often eat their Korean food at home and only venture out for specialties better enjoyed by those who can deliver with an expertise. 

At Jungang Haejangguk in Daechi-dong it is where you will find exactly that. In a modern space with a flavorful hanwoo version of haejangguk, as well as other classic meat dishes, Jungang Haejangguk is en pointe in bringing together a comfortable dining experience. 

Hanwoo yangji suyuk at Jungang Haejangguk (Christine Cho)

Hanwoo seonji haejanggguk at Jungang Haejangguk (Christine Cho)

Owned by a family with a background in the meat business for over 30 years, and a patriarch who has passionately perfected his own haejangguk recipe for decades at home, Jungang’s rendition is all that you want from this meat laden soup filled to the rim with high quality ingredients such as cow stomach and seonji, also known as blood pudding, the mandatory siraegi, reconstituted radish greens, and a deep refreshing broth made from ox bones and other beef cuts simmered for 5 hours no less. Jungang Haejangguk can be appreciated by those who want fine quality meat dishes, as it exceeds through its superior ingredients and lovingly made high standard.

Christine Cho(

Christine Cho, a Korean-American expat in Seoul, has been eating and cooking her way around the world for 16 years as a private chef. — Ed.

Jungang Haejang

996-16, Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu Seoul

(02) 558-7905

Recommended Dish:
Hanwoo seonji haejangguk 8,000W
Hanwoo yangji suyuk 38,000W