Miyeok Guk: How to find, order and eat Korean Seaweed Soup

A bit of background on Miyeok Guk

This delicious Korean seaweed soup is eaten by mothers at every meal, every day, for six weeks after the birth of their child.  Wow! It’s packed full of essential nutrients to help a new mother nurse her child and regain her own health. I’m guessing it works wonders on that pregnancy weight as well!!

Then, in remembrance of all their mothers have done for them Koreans will eat seaweed soup every year on their birthday.  So nice! But seaweed soup is not just saved for birthdays, it’s eaten regularly throughout the week and is loved for its delicious flavor and super-food level health benefits.

How to find Miyeok Guk when eating out in Korea

Menu Close up
Here it is on a menu, served with fish

When there’s no English, here’s what to look for on a Korean menu:  미역국.  미역 means seaweed and is pronounced ‘me-yok’.  국 means soup and is pronounced ‘gook’ as in ‘look’.

 

You will find seaweed soup on the menus of many traditional Korean cafes, like the one we visited in this bibimbap video. But to find a restaurant that specializes in miyeok guk, you might have to ask around (try hotel staff, trip adviser, Instagram).  The one we went to in this video all about mikyeok guk was a little out of the way, but absolutely worth it!

Always keep a look out for the Korean characters 미역국. Many restaurants will also have pictures outside giving you a good idea about what they serve (just know that it’s not always 100% accurate!).

However, you’ll probably have to move out of the tourist hot spots to find good traditional Korean seaweed soup because, although it’s very popular with locals, it’s not such a popular tourist food.

If you’re really stuck, the department store food courts are all likely to have a version of seaweed soup.  This version of miyeok guk will most likely include some small tasty pieces of beef.

You’ve found the restaurant, now let’s eat Korean miyeok guk

It’s pretty straight forward, because it’s soup after all.  But here’s some tips for maximum enjoyment.  You’ll always be served a small bowl of rice.  Try spooning some of the soup over the rice.  It makes the rice go kind of creamy and with all the flavor from the soup, it’s so delicious.   Also, don’t forget all the side dishes!  They can be eaten separately or mixed with the rice.  The contrasting flavors and textures of the Korean side dishes and the soup will bring a beautiful balance to your meal.

I hope you get to enjoy miyeok guk if you’re visiting Korea, let me know in the comments if you’ve tried it!

Don’t forget to check out our visit to a wonderful Korean Seaweed Soup restaurant.

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