When it’s cold outside and the air feels as if snow could fall at any second, the last thing you want to do is go home and cook. Well Korea has a solution, haejangguk (해장국) This steaming bowl of deliciousness is exactly what you need to get through the long Korean winter.
There are many haejangguk restaurants in Korea but the one we are going to visit today is the Sangin branch of ‘Nuri Potato Soup’ or '누리마을 감자탕'. Located about a 5 minute walk from Sangin station and directly opposite Homeplus sits the inviting ‘Nuri. This brightly lit restaurant doesn’t look that different from any other but inside its door it is holding a secret recipe for haejangguk that will delight.
So what is haejangguk? You may have heard of its other name, Hangover soup. This hot stone bowl is filled with a broth similar to the British ox tail soup. It has piles of delicious vegetables in it such as leeks, onions and cabbage (stewed cabbage, not kimchied cabbage) and two large bones covered in delicious meat. Now the reason most people don’t try haejangguk is they read about it online and the first two ingredients listed are ox blood and spine. While some do contain ox blood, this one doesn’t, and there is spine involved but it’s the same as a leg or wing bone. It’s really tasty and once you try you will be a convert.
As well as the large bowl of soup you are given an array of sides and some rice. The staff are friendly and very accommodating. At the moment I’ve been there twice in one week and haven’t had a chance to try everything else on the menu but I am very close to just pointing at the delights on neighbors plates and saying ‘I’ll have what she’s having’. This menu definitely looks like a good one to explore.
A bowl of (non spicy) haejangguk will set you back 7000won which is a bargain. If you want a beer you are looking at paying 3500won for a large bottle. If you are here to recover, as the name suggests, from a hangover then water is free. All you need to do is take a seat and ask for one bowl of the stuff and you are ready to go.
The place does get busy but there is a lovely waiting area and also a big play area at the back of the restaurant for kids, if you have children.
How to get there:
Take the subway to Sangin on the red line. Leave from exit 3 and walk in a straight line for about 5 minutes. You will walk past a Fila store, a large Twosome place coffee house and a Burger King. It is located directly under the Outback Steakhouse. (Helpful hint: On the right hand side of the road you will see a large Homeplus. The restaurant is opposite.)