Well, Kognamul gukbap soybean sprout soup with rice is said to be the best food to cure a hangover. The soybean sprouts (not mung beans which are thinner) contain lots of vitamin C and amino acids which apparently break down the alcohol. I always feel better after a bowl of kongnamul guk so it must work!
But when I woke up with a hangover I didn’t have any soybean spouts – and even if I did have some, I wouldn’t have had the strength to start making soup. 😕 And there are no shikdangs in our area that serve bean sprout soup as far as I know. How I wished I was in Jeonju which is famous for its bean sprout rice soup. Sigh. So I spent the morning simply lying on my bed feeling sorry for myself imagining the soup we had in Jeonju last time we were there ….
The soup arrives at the table boiling hot. Rice comes on the side with a very lightly poached egg. Wrapped Kim seaweed portions are already on the table and can also be added to the soup. And as always there’s a selection of kimchi.
Add the rice to the soup. Since the soup arrives literally boiling hot, the egg cooks itself in the soup. Mix altogether and eat.
This is how my bowl would look now too.
BUT, we are not in Jeonju so I had to find a plan B. And this is it: 칼국수 버섯 매운탕 kalguksu posot maeuntang, spicy mushroom and noodle stew. I am pleased to report that we found a shikdang in staggering distance from our apartment.
The shikdang is in the basement of the building. Not so easy to spot. But the picture of the mushrooms on the sign was helpful.
It has the classic shikdang interior of low tables with gas burners, bangsuk floor cushions, and a rubbish bin between each table – not particularly aesthetically pleasing but at least it’s practical. Soy sauce (masquerading as mustard) and wasabi are the only condiments on the tables. Fridges, mysterious boxes and containers and pipes fill the wall in the background for extra atmosphere. This place seems pretty popular as these tables were reserved! (unless they just didn’t want customers sitting there?)
For those who don’t want to sit on the floor, there’s also chair and table seating which tends to be more popular with young people for some reason …
The soup arrives cram-packed with mushrooms and topped with the Korean perfumy herb – minari (dropwort). Once the soup is boiling the mushrooms are soon cooked and can be eaten first. (there’s no room in the pot for the noodles until the mushrooms are eaten!)
The flavour of the spicy red soup reminds me of shin ramen – with LOTS of garlic! The soup is meat-based, but there is no actual meat in the dish. Other customers ordered meat for shabu-shabu, but I was very full with just the mushrooms, noodles, and rice. All at a reasonable price of 19,000 won.
Once the mushrooms are eaten the noodles and minari are added to the soup. Then when the noodles are eaten, the rice, seaweed, vegetables and egg are added to the soup.
The three stages of spicy stew:
1) MUSHROOMS: the sight and smell of the mushrooms makes me feel better and we order a bottle of soju 😕 The soup tastes very similar to shin ramyun. VERY GARLICKY.
2) NOODLES: adding the noodles gives the soup a thicker consistency too. Nice and chewy noodles. (frozen though, not made on the premises).
3) RICE: Final comfort food rice soup with vegetables. I am now full and feeling back to normal. Hangover cured. But it’s going to be a lazy day…