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, toasted 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.

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  1. Mkim43 Long Beach, CA joined 7/14 & has 1 comment

    Just cooked this tonight. Turned out so good! Just like how I remember it when I used to eat it when I was a child. Maangchi~ I love your website! Thanks so much for helping me learn how to make Korean food! :)

  2. zipurlip2 USofA joined 7/11 & has 20 comments

    FYI: This is an episode of the variety show I mentioned: It is just one of many episodes that had cooking in it. It might be nostalgic for you, but it was definitely an eye-opening show for me! So many delicious food … however, I don’t like the stuffing-the-mouth – that was unappealing. xp

  3. zipurlip2 USofA joined 7/11 & has 20 comments

    This reminds me of Japanese oden. I must try it ~ I love soups. In watching Korean dramas I see them eating this and wondered if the folded ‘thing’ was intestines! Now I know they are fish cakes (so relieved – I don’t like innards! xp) I’ve been watching ‘Barefoot Friends’ and the last few episodes (about 4 or 5) have been about home cooking, so I’ll be seeking them out. Hope you have them made! Thank you for sharing your know how! ^^

  4. KrynauwOtto2 Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13 & has 54 comments

    Nevermind! I found a nice recipe to make them!

  5. KrynauwOtto2 Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13 & has 54 comments

    Can I make the fish cakes at home?
    I didn’t have luck finding it at mylocal Korean supermarket.

  6. CynthiaH Wichita joined 1/12 & has 14 comments

    I also added very small (1/2 inch) cubes of stew meat (beef) for my carnivorous husband. I added these with the anchovy sauce, so when I strained the other vegetables out, I just put the meat back in the broth. It was nice and soft meat, but next time I don’t need to do this because he loved this fish cake. Yay! :)

  7. CynthiaH Wichita joined 1/12 & has 14 comments

    Hi, Maangchi! I made this today, but I couldn’t find dried while anchovies, so I used some anchovy sauce. Maybe a little too much, but I will make it again when I find the real anchovies. I was too impatient… But I don’t care. I had to have some fish cake today, even though it is in the mid-80s here. :) I couldn’t find my little flower cutter, so I used my tiny gingerbread man. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. awkwardsoul Long Beach, CA joined 4/11 & has 1 comment

    I made this tonight and it was excellent, my husband loved it too! The broth was very good! I found dealing with the dried anchovy a little scary, but it was well worth it!

  9. xelloss1989 United States joined 1/13 & has 15 comments

    I love all the kitchenwares! The shallow pot, the bowls, and the copper color small small at the end! Your knife looks so easy to use too! Where did you get all these?

  10. choe_annie VA joined 4/09 & has 4 comments

    When I’ve made this soup, sometimes I use japanese flavors by using bonito flakes instead of the anochovie for stock—- the smokiness from the bonito makes the broth taste more wholesome, i think ^_^

  11. makemequiche DC joined 5/12 & has 12 comments

    The broth has a deep, clean flavor. YUM!

  12. Neza2214 United States joined 11/12 & has 2 comments

    My three year old is screaming “I want some Mommy!”When I make it for him is there anything that I can make with it that he’ll like?

  13. sohngj Seattle, WA joined 12/12 & has 7 comments

    I can’t wait to make this! My grandma used to make this for me all the time. She also made me lots of sujebi as a child.

    Is eomu guk the same as odeng guk, by the way?

  14. MariskaLim Jakarta, Indonesia joined 2/11 & has 55 comments


    I was gonna email you requesting this dish after i watched 2 last episode of Running Man (Korean variety show)

    Thank you for the recipe <3 :)

  15. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10 & has 107 comments

    beautiful !! can’t wait to try them !!

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