Winter in Korea can be rough. Especially recently, the temperatures have been constantly below 0 here. This is the perfect time of the year to get familiar with the endless soup and stew variety that Korea has to offer. 

Stews and Soups in Winter

Here are the best Korean stews and soups to survive a long and bitter cold winter. 

Uhmook tang (어묵탕), Fish cake soup

by Chloe Lim
by Chloe Lim

This soup is one of the most popular street foods during winter and even throughout the entire year. The combination of the soft fish cakes on a stick in a flavorful broth paired with other vegetables. The fish cakes vary in size and shape from flat slices to round balls. These cakes are also found in ddeokbokki (떡볶이) or by themselves as a typical “anju”, drinking food.


Dongtae jjigae (동태찌개), Pollock stew

동태찌개

If you’re not familiar with pollock, it’s a type of fish similar to cod, which is the main ingredient of this deliciousness in a bowl. Korean Jjigae stews are a flavorful experience with many ingredients melting together in the pot: radish, green onion, tofu, bean sprouts and anchovies. Crown daisy (쑥갓) creates a herbal flavor that is especially soothing on a cold winter night.


Tteokguk (떡국), Rice cake soup

떡국
떡국

This soup variety is traditionally eaten for Lunar New Year in Korea. It is made of the broth and thin rice cakes. It is said to bring good look for the new year when it is eaten during New Year’s. It is usually served with eggs, thin slices of meat, and dried seaweed. 


Galbitang (갈비탕), Beef ribs soup

Galbitang (갈비탕)
Galbitang (갈비탕)

If you are looking for a meaty treat, this soup is your winner! It is made from beef short ribs and stewing beef, as well as onions and many other ingredients. This soup dates back to table settings for Korean royals at court from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and has been popular ever since. It is also often served at wedding ceremonies.

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Sundubu Jjigae (순두부찌개), Uncurdled Tofu Stew

by Nixie Rhie
by Nixie Rhie

One of my favorites of all time, and not only in winter: sundubu jjigae! This delicious stew consists of uncurdled tofu, many vegetables, including mushrooms and onions. There are even varieties with seafood (oysters mussels, clams, or shrimp) and optional meat! However, no matter which type you try, you will always taste the gochujang (chili paste) and gochu garu (chili powder). A raw egg is oftentimes poured on top of the jjigae right before serving it.

Hungry yet? Which one’s your favorite?

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  • deany

    Luckily for me I get free lunches at the institutes that I work with and I get to sample new soups all the time. Korea makes great stews!

  • Megan Indoe

    I just started getting Scott to be more adventurous with soups! He’s convinced he is scared of soups, but he always ends up enjoying them! We haven’t tried some of these on your list, so this cold weather is the perfect chance to try some new soups! We actually tried dak bokkeum tang for the first time last week and LOVED IT! We also reccommend trying Buckchon Son Mandu’s Manduguk! They have tons of locations popping up all over Seoul now, but our favorite location is still the one in Insadong on the side of Ssamziegil shopping mall. Don’t forget a side of the fried mandu either 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Gina Panozzo

    This has me drooling. I love all Korean soups and they warm me right up in the winter. I can’t wait to get back to Korea so I can eat 순두부! Did you take all those pictures because the food porn is awesome!

  • Lindsay Mickles

    Thanks for sharing this post! I’m a HUGE fan of Korean soups and actually haven’t tried a few of these. I think the 찌개 are my favorites, though Galbi Tang is pretty damned good! Nice post and just in time for lunch!!

    • thanks Lindsay! I’m glad you like the post!

  • Wendy Flor

    Thanks for this list. I love hot soup on winter days. I have a tendency to just look at the pictures, point them out and not remember how it’s called. I should start remembering the names especially those that I really like.

  • I love the Uhmook Tang broth and Sundubu Jjigae is a exceptionally delicious stew. I usually put at least 2 eggs into it, and sometimes 3 or 4 even. Love Korean stews, and yes now I am hungry. Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura Nalin

    My favorite is soondubo jjigae! There’s a place I love that does a good curry flavored one (I’m vegetarian) and I love it. Perfect for chilly rainy days or cold nights. Thanks for sharing!

  • Williams Nana Kyei

    Oh my! Linda, these are my favorites you have put out there. Now, you got me salivating. Tomorrow, I am visiting the Namsangol Hanok Village to eat the tteokguk. They are having Seollal festivities. I love Galbitang so much. I love these recipes. Thanks.