Saturday, January 5, 2019

[Food] Haejangguk (해장국, Korean Hangover Soup)


[Food] Haejangguk (해장국, Korean Hangover Soup)

This story continues from Uh-mook, Sundae and Sundaeguk. Please read them before you read this one, it will help you to understand the story.

Haejangguk. Korean Hangover Soup. 'Haejang' means 'Relieve a hangover' and 'guk' means 'soup'. There are various kind of haejangguk with meat, fish or marsh snail. Koreans usually eat a haejangguk for breakfast the morning after drinking.

"Mr. Kim...Mr. Kim.....wake up..."

"...uh....okay...(groan)..what time is it now...Ginny...?"

"It's 10 o'clock in the morning. My mom hasn't woken up yet either. When did you sleep last night?"

"I don't know...maybe 1? 2?"

"My grandma said 'man will turn into a cow if they sleep too much' "

Ginny spoke as she was drawing the curtains open in the guestroom where I had slept. I remember falling asleep after I piggybacked her mom (Hannah) to her room because Hannah was so drunk.

"Then I'd rather be a cow, girl. I would be more than happy to be a medium-rare rib-eye steak for you, dear."

"Ahahaha, that's funny. You can buy me a steak later instead."

"Okay, that's fine with me. I'd rather buy you beef BBQ, how about a galbi? ('Rib' in Korean). I know one fine BBQ place near me."

"Really? Do you promise? I will bring my mom."


Suddenly Hannah came knocking on the door with a big 'bang' in her jogging suit.

"What are you guys conspiring about without me? What are you guys so happy about?"

I think she heard from 'bring my mom'.

"Nothing. I was just about to tell Mr. Kim funny facts about you, mom."

"But I couldn't anything because you were here. What a bummer."

Hannah looked at me as if she was mad but I knew she was joking.

"Okay, whatever. Come out to the hall now, my mom cooked some haejangguk for us."

"Okay, I'm coming right away. Let's go Ginna."

Haejangguk with dried-pollack and eggs. One of most common haejangguk in Korea.
Haejangguk with ox's blood. Spicy, meaty and salty.

Hannah and I didn't talk much at the breakfast table with Ginny. It seemed like Hannah had come back to being a strong woman and mother again for her family. I couldn't see 'that weak woman who sobs for her passed husband' as she devoured the haejangguk like a dinosaur. 

"What you looking at, punk? Something stuck on my face?"

"Nah. Nothing. I was thinking that this haejangguk is one of the best I have ever tasted. Is it your mom's recipe?"

"Yeah, this is my favorite too."

I didn't drink any alcohol last night but I understand why people call this haejangguk now. This hot and spicy flavor really makes my tummy relieved and digested. It really wakes me up and fills my tummy, yum.

However our silent breakfast didn't last long,

"Mr. Kim, are you gonna come to see my mom again?" 

because Ginny interrupted us with a pure-evil smile, and I started to cough.

"Pft! Cough! Cough!"


I blushed as I was caught off-guard.

"Nah, Hannah. Don't listen to your daughter, I never thought of such a thing like that."

" not gonna come again?"

Now Hannah smiled with an evil grin too. They were having so much fun kidding with me.

"I'm not lying. I found Mr. Kim going back and forth in front of the restaurant like the other men who came to see you, so I told him that he is not the only one. He didn't deny that."

"Nah..nah...I was..uhm....yeah....that's 50% right..."

"Half right? Then what is the other 'half'? Didn't want to see me or drop by?"

"Half yes. Let's about talk this later, please...Hannah?"

"Ok...fine. I will talk to you later."

Spicy haejangguk with intestine and meat

Marsh snail haejangguk. It tastes nutty and salty. Marsh snail is very effective for relieving a hangover.

After a noisy breakfast, I had to leave Hannah's place quickly. Not because I was busy but because I really wanted to get out of her place and be a little far from Ginny who kept troubling me with embarrassing questions about Hannah and I. And Hannah is a woman with a quick wit, so I thought she must have noticed what feelings I had for her. I'm over 30 but I think I'm still a shy boy.

She didn't talk much (again) on the way to the bus station for my town. I couldn't work out what she was thinking based on the mere smile on her face. When we arrived at the station, we sat down on a long chair for travelers.


"Yeah? Do you want to hear my answer?"

She crossed her head.

"No. I think that I know what you will answer."

" You won't ask me what you wanted to ask?"

"Uhm...I'm still kinda confused. I think I can listen to you when I make up my mind first because I'm not done with my ex-husband yet."

"Okay...then come to my town next time, when you are ready. Can I ask one thing?"


"How did you figure out what I think about you?"

"It is very easy. You always show it with your complexion, don't you?"

She laughed. I think she already figured out why I had visited her restaurant from the beginning. seems like she really read my mind.

"Okay, I'm leaving", I said blushingly (again).

"When will you drop by at my place again?"

"Uhm...maybe when your and my 'half' are ready."

A haejangguk restaurant in Korea

A haejangguk with backbone of pork

I got up into a bus to my town, and she waved her hands as the bus left.

Well, I was confused too. I didn't know I would still like her even after a long time. I didn't think that childish emotion still remained inside me. I needed to settle down and calm my mind with a cup of tea, or...

I think I need another dish of haejangguk to soothe my heart tonight.

Bon appétit!

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