I used to think that Haejangguk was a very specific soup dish. I imagined it to be somewhat spicy, hot, and soothing, cooked in anchovy broth (and it usually is). What I’ve been picturing to be haejangguk has probably been from seeing the hot, spicy looking soup on Korean dramas. Whenever someone gets pissed drunk and hungover the next morning, I always see them being served a soup that looks to be soothingly hot and spicy. I’ve always wondered what this guk (soup) had in it and where I could find some. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I found that that haejangguk is not the name of a particular soup dish, but is rather what is referred to as a “hangover cure soup (in Korean)”. In Korea, it seems like everywhere you go, they have their own version of regional haejangguk.For me, my favorite haejangguk is pho. The morning after a night of boozing, my body craves and needs pho. My upset stomach, pounding headache, and dehydrated-alcohol-filled system seem to be soothed and warmed after a nice bowl of pho. Even with my “happily buzzed” point, the next morning, I always need haejangguk. After getting “happily buzzed”, I’m not totally feeling hungover, but I’m feeling umm “happily hungover”?? “Happily hungover” without the unbearable pain! But I do feel the uncomfortable dehydration more than anything with “happily hungover”. And pho comes to the rescue. I always get the exact same pho with the exact same stuff, -rare steak and brisket, bean sprouts, Thai basil, extra lime, cilantro, jalapenos, Hoisin Sauce, and Sriracha. I have been eating pho the same way for years. I’ve never really been intrigued to try any different types of pho. Why change what is already sufficiently satiating? I am a creature of habit in that sense.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
My haejangguk (hangover cure soup) ~ Pho!
When I was younger, I had a higher tolerance for alcohol. I could drink until getting drunk without getting sick. But these days (in my 30’s), it is impossible for me to get drunk without getting sick, -painfully sick. I mean making you hate life-body in pain-puke your guts out-SICK! Going over the “happily-buzzed” level just doesn’t seem to agree with me anymore. I can drink a few cocktails and maybe a bottle (the dessert wine bottles usually contain very low mL anyway) of low alkie contented dessert wines. That is my limit these days. I stop drinking after that. I know that when I go over my “happily buzzed” moment, I need to stop…or I’ll pay for it later that night, or even worse, the morning after. Yikes! You know what I totally need after drinking? Haejangguk!