Thursday, December 26, 2019

[Food] Gomtang & Seolleongtang (곰탕 & 설렁탕, Beef Bone Soup)


[Food] Gomtang & Seolleongtang (곰탕 & 설렁탕,  Beef Bone Soup)

Famous Naju Gomtang (Beef Soup)
A long time ago in the 1500's, every king in Korean Chosun dynasty performed annual rituals to their ancestors and the heavens with his vassals for good harvest, peace and prosperity for Chosun.

After worshiping a Chosun god, all people within the Korean peninsula slaughtered cows and cooked them into beef soup to share it with everyone. And the altar that the king of Chosun worshiped was called 'Sun-nong (meaning 'advantage for farming')', and they called the beef soup they ate after the ritual 'Sun-nong tang (Sun-nong soup)'. Later 'Sun-nong tang' changed into the word 'Seolleong tang' or 'Gom tang ('Gom' means 'to simmer meat/bones' in Korean). As a result, it became today's origin of Gomtang and Seolleongtang in Korea :)

A bowl of seolleongtang with rice and thin noodles
In the beginning, Gomtang meant 'Braised soup/simmered bones and soup meat' and Seolleongtang meant 'A soup meat-only' braised but today there is not much difference between gomtang and seolleongtang. Moreover, most Koreans don't know the difference unless they've studied the two dishes. Therefore, Koreans often  quarrel when they eat gomtang or seolleongtang without giving a clear answer. Nevertheless, they taste so good and much better with kkakdugi (radish kimchi).

Radish Kimchi
They are both beef soup, so its deep savory meat taste gives you both taste and energy. Koreans love to put steamed rice, much chopped spring onions and thin noodles with salt and pepper. Maybe you think it's too high in carbohydrates, but you should know many Koreans love full 'high-carbohydrate' meals XD

Gomtang with steamed rice, beef, egg, sliced mushroom and chopped spring onions
Gomtang with rice and kimchi
Gomtang and seolleongtang are soups that Korean moms usually cook for their spouses and children when they are away from home for a long time (i.e. travel for some days or a week) because these dishes are easy to cook in large quantities (as much as 10 or 20 litre pots), and also easy to heat up again. I remember my mom cooking gomtang for me and my sister when she wanted to travel for a few days with her friends :)

However, it has huge side effects. If eating gomtang every meal then you will become so sick of it :(

Can you tell this is Gomtang or Seolleongtang? I can't.

One unique thing about gomtang and seolleongtang is that its beef becomes so soft and chewy when they are simmered and braised in soup. It's savory and soft beef is very addictive.

Look at this, it's so beau---tiful!

If you are a classic meat/meat soup lover, then how about trying a bowl of gomtang or seolleongtang with kkakduki? :) I'm sure that you will love it.

Bon Appétit!

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