13.106 Doenjang Guk

Cycle 13 – Item 106

21 (Thu) April 2022

Doenjang Guk

4.0

at Pungcheon Jangeo Maeul

-Jangji, Songpa, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

Beyond the eel, one of our favorite aspects of dining at this restaurant is the complimentary doenjang guk.

While a prior post showed the one on the first floor of the restaurant (see 12.278 Pungcheon Jangeo – Regular), this is the set-up on the second floor.
Recently, the mugeunji has been replaced by baek kimchi (top left corner).
The doenjang guk is kept in a rice cooker, along with a pail to scoop out portions.

Doenjang Guk is a Korean dish.  It’s a soup (guk), traditionally with an anchovy-based stock, seasoned with fermented soy bean paste (doenjang), plus vegetables (e.g., napa cabbage, spinach), sometimes dubu, rarely seafoods (e.g., clams).  Sharing the same essence as the stew (doenjang jjigae), but typically the soup is much milder in flavor and texture.  Served with rice and other banchan.  One of the Three Great Guks, along with kongnamul guk and miyeok guk.

My first bowl of the meal, waiting for the eel to cook.

Hard to believe that doenjang guk has never been featured in its own post on GMTD (see sorta 2.228 Auk Guk).  It’s just one of those side dishes that are kinda taken for granted, given its ubiquity, despite the critical role that it plays in the cuisine.

The eel seems secondary.

The doenjang guk at this restaurant is amazing.  Delicate in flavor, subtle sweetness of doenjang, wisp of anchovy.  Nothing but napa cabbage, soft and silky.  We usually have at least 3 bowls each: first as a starter, second as an accompaniment to the eel, third as a closer with a bowl of rice.  One of the best doenjang guks that I’ve experienced, certainly at a restaurant.

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)

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