Fish cake soup

Eomukguk 어묵국

Hi everybody! I’m going to introduce you to the Korean snack Eomukguk today. Eomuk are fish cakes and guk is the Korean word for soup, so this recipe is fish cake soup with anchovy stock. If you’ve ever been to Korea, you’ve probably seen this food being sold by street vendors. You’ll always see people gathering around their steaming carts in the wintertime, enjoying the sizzling eomukguk.

eomukguk street vendors


Many of these street carts are also selling ddukbokkie, which is hot and spicy, so this soup goes well with it. After having some ddukbokkie many people like to chase it down with some eomukguk broth. I have a lot of memories of standing around the street cart, enjoying the fish cakes. In my video I put many cakes on a single skewer, but vendors sell them one cake per skewer. Eat as many as you like, and when you’re finished, the vendor will ask you:

“How many did you eat?”

For each one I ate, I’ll have an empty skewer in my hand. So it’s easy to calculate! I show the vendor my skewers and they tell me the price. This way, I can just eat as many as I like, comfortably, and worry about paying later.

korean snack bar

What I’m showing you here is an upgraded version of Eomukguk. Most street carts only use low quality fish cake made with lots of starch instead of fish, but I’m using gourmet fish cakes in this video. I worked a long time to perfect this broth and make it as delicious as I could remember it being. I tried  adding dried shrimp, mussels, dried mushrooms, but found that a simple, well-seasoned broth gave me the best flavor.  If I ever develop a better broth I’ll let you know, but in the meantime, make this for your family, friends, or yourself, and pretend you’re on the street in Korea.




for broth:

for yangnyeomjang (dipping sauce):


Make the broth:

  1. Put the water in a large pot. Peel the radish and cut it into 1 inch cubes (or balls) and put them into a soup strainer (gukmulmang). Put the strainer into the pot. If you don’t have a soup strainer, you can use soup sock or cheese cloth.
  2. Add the the onion, dried kelp, and the leftover bits of radish (including the skin) to the pot. Bring it to a boil over high heat for 20 minutes with the lid closed.
  3. While it’s boiling, cook the anchovies in the microwave for 1 minute (or sauté without oil in a pan for a few minutes).
  4. Add the dried anchovies to the pot and boil for another for 20 minutes, uncovered. This will allow some of the fishy smell of the anchovies to evaporate.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and strain. Take out the cooked radish cubes from the soup strainer and set aside. You’ll get about 8 cups of stock. Add the soy sauce and salt and mix well.brothbroth-stirred

Add the fish cakes:

  1. Stick 5 or 6 fishcake pieces on a skewer, and make 4 or 5 skewers. Put them in a shallow pot and add enough broth to totally submerge the fishcakes.
  2. Bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until the fishcakes are soft.

Make the yangnyeomjang (dipping sauce):

  1. Combine soy sauce, hot pepper flakes, green onion, green chili pepper, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a small mixing bowl.


  1. Prepare individual bowls and plates, a ladle for the soup, and a small spoon for the dipping sauce. Serve hot and scoop some of the soup, with a skewer, into a bowl for each person. When they eat a fish cake from the skewer they can put some dipping sauce on it first. Delicious!

Enjoy the recipe! Let me know how it turns out.



  1. Celinejph FRANCE joined 1/16
    Posted September 20th, 2017 at 11:29 pm | # |

    It was cold, yesterday so i made my soup after looking at the video i couldn’t resist and i don’t regret it , it was really good :p

    See full size image

  2. Estar Singapore joined 7/14
    Posted February 26th, 2016 at 9:11 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Why do you microwave the anchovies in this recipe? In some of your other soup or stew recipes, you just put the anchovies straight in to boil with the kelp. I don’t have a microwave – is there a big difference?

  3. love_korea joined 3/15
    Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 11:42 am | # |

    Hi, Maangchi! Can I use salted kelp? Coz I can’t find any dried kelp so I just bought it. Thank you!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 12:25 pm | # |

      No, you need to use dried kelp. If you can’t find it, skip it.

      • love_korea joined 3/15
        Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 12:58 pm | # |

        Alright, also can you recommend a recipe using salted kelp? Thank yousm!

        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
          Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 5:05 pm | # |

          Check out my miyeok-julgi-bokkeum recipe. Miyeok and kelp are different seaweeds but you can follow the recipe. If the salted kelp is not shredded but wide, rinse it in cold water to remove saltiness, then blanch it in boiling water and rinse it in cold water again. Then make Yangnyeomchojang and wrap some rice with it. The recipe for Yangnyeomchojang (sweet, spicy, and salty sauce) is in my raw fish bibimbap recipe here.

          • love_korea joined 3/15
            Posted March 24th, 2015 at 12:44 am | # |

            Okay, thank you Maangchi.. I cant wait to make this for my family.

  4. ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia joined 4/09
    Posted February 15th, 2015 at 5:31 am | # |

    Can I skip the kelp?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 15th, 2015 at 7:59 am | # |

      Yes, you can.

      • ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia joined 4/09
        Posted February 19th, 2015 at 1:31 am | # |

        Thank you for your feedback….:-)

  5. Thu Huyen viet nam joined 12/14
    Posted December 15th, 2014 at 11:04 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi: could you show me how to make “doenjang”?

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