Miyeokguk is a soup made of edible seaweed and is traditionally eaten on birthdays or after giving birth, although you can eat anytime you like. Miyeok is rich in iodine, iron, and calcium and many people eat it to lower their cholesterol. This version of the soup is made with beef, which is the most popular type.

Whenever I meet my mother, she recommends I eat more miyeok and shows me how much she enjoys it by making all kinds of soups and salads with it. She also makes a miyeok wrap with rice and sauce and pops it into her mouth. Koreans all believe it’s good, healthy food, which is why Korean mothers who give birth will eat miyeokguk 3 meals a day for a month to recover fast and regain their strength and nutrients. Mom should stay home and look after her new born baby and her own health, and lay down on the traditional Korean heated floor (ondol) to sweat out the bad stuff and eat healthy miyeokguk.

This is why Koreans will have a bowl of miyeokguk for breakfast on their birthday, all their lives. They think about their mom to thank her for bringing them into this world. Korean spas serve miyeokguk in their cafeterias because the heated floors of the spa reminds people of the healthy, resting, relaxing time of recovering from childbirth at home.

When I lived in Korea, I had a friend named Jeanne, an American nun who had been living in Korea for more than 35 years. She always told me how she loved Korea and how it was her adopted hometown! She loved all kinds of Korean traditional food. Of course she could speak Korean just like a Korean.

She said: “There’s one Korean food that I don’t like.”
I asked: “What is it?”
She said: Miyeokguk.”

I couldn’t help laughing because I expected some kind of weird Korean food, not miyeokguk, our everyday healthy, delicious food. I was curious about why she didn’t like it. She answered: “It’s slippery in my mouth, ooh, I don’t like the texture.” I laughed again when I heard this.

I hope she’s doing well now. She must be living in somewhere in Chicago. I used to tease her: “Miss Jeanne, would you sit over here?” when we met at the coffee shop. I always wanted her to sit next to me!


Serves 2 to 3

  • ½ ounce (16 grams) dried miyeok, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 pound beef brisket or skirt steak, cut into thin and small pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce (or salt and soy sauce to your taste)
  • 2 teaspoon toasted toasted sesame oil
soaking miyeok

Seaweed before soaking

soaked seaweed

Seaweed after soaking


  1. Rinse and drain the miyeok. Squeeze out excess water. Cut a few times into bite-size pieces. If you have an electric rice cooker this is a good time to start cooking your rice, too.Korean seaweed-soaked
  2. Transfer the miyeok to a large and heavy pot. Add 8 cups of water. Cover and bring it to a boil for about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium. Add the beef, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.seaweed soup
  4. Stir in garlic and fish sauce. Cook another 10 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the broth is savory.Korean birthday soup
  5. Stir-in the sesame oil. Ladle into bowls and serve with a bowl of warm rice and Korean side dishes like kimchi. The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.Korean seaweed soup (birthday soup)

Leave your rating:

So far this is rated 4.9/5 from 322 votes

Be the first to rate this.


  1. Foon UK joined 10/22 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi, me and my family don’t eat beef. What can I use instead?
    Thank you.

  2. eriue los angeles joined 5/22 & has 1 comment

    It was my mom’s birthday, so I made her 미역국 for her birthday. When she tried it, she said it was so much better than hers. Thank you so much Maangchi :))

    See full size image

  3. cmclellan United States joined 4/22 & has 1 comment

    Can you add broth to the seaweed soup after it is cooked if you want to make it soupier?

  4. MaangchiLove Montreal, Toronto joined 8/19 & has 59 comments

    Made it! Healthier way to make the soup without sautéing meat and seaweeds on the pan with oil! Thank you, Maangchi.

    See full size image

  5. GoghGirl Pyeongtaek-si joined 11/19 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi I’ve fallen in love with Miyeokguk since moving to Korea! Is it usually served with anything in particular? Or just rice and side dish? Thank you!

  6. Nora Nero East Java, Indonesia joined 2/19 & has 13 comments

    Made it with chicken brest meat and eat along with bibimbap tonight. Sooo completing each other. Just like the other inexperienced did, never imagined that only a sheet of dried miyeok (it’s sold in sheet shape in my country) is going to make my wok full

    See full size image

  7. dough5b6 Michigan joined 1/19 & has 9 comments

    Made your seaweed soup recipe and it’s delicious. Over time I skip the beef and seasame oil. I add sliced dycon radish and seaweed to boil. After making a big batch I store it. When I warm it up I put in sliced okra. Then before I eat it I add some cold kimchi. So decious. The okra and seaweed go really well together.

    See full size image

  8. clydedatastruct Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines joined 3/18 & has 8 comments

    Made this with some dakgalbi for my own birthday.
    The neighbors said they love the taste even if it’s my very first time attempting both dishes.

    Was not expecting the smallest pack of miyeok to expand a lot, so it made the pot crowded. :)

    See full size image

  9. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 51 comments

    HI Maangchi!
    I made this today and it didn’t turn out as I expected. It was way too watery with no flavor. I followed the recipe in your book before with good results but I have it packed away since I just moved. So i looked up this recipe on your site. Do you call for 16 cups of water in your book? I think that’s what the problem was.
    I just don’t remember putting in so much water!


  10. JayaL Australia joined 11/18 & has 3 comments

    I use wood ear mushrooms instead of meat and make the dashi with vegetable stock, doenjang, and gochujang – no fish sauce – I use 2 extra kelp pieces, as well. I have this for breakfast nearly every day, topped with two fried eggs, and one spoonful of purple rice. I’ll often throw in other vegetables if I have them – julienne or chopped small.
    Sooo healthy!

  11. Zyrene ghaille Manila Philippines joined 7/17 & has 2 comments

    My first time to cook seaweed soup… I used pork since I do not have any beef available. I can say i like it and my family likes it…. Yummy.. thanks for your recipe…. I will try the one with mussells next time.

    See full size image

  12. mrsgrace New Jersey joined 5/17 & has 1 comment

    Ms Maangchi, I am a korean american in new jersey :) I love your videos and it has given me confidence in my korean cooking. Are you planning to make a new version of this miyuk gook video? just wondering :)

  13. pacuniboy Bronx joined 3/17 & has 1 comment

    Good morning,

    I made seaweed salad with ottogi seaweed. I do not think it came out good, so I would like to know if I can use it for your recipe to make seaweed soup with beef? Thank you.

  14. Mayyya Romania joined 12/16 & has 2 comments

    Hi! I want to make it vegetarian way. How can I make it? Just follow the recipe and don’t add beef? Can I add some kelp?
    It was Christmas and NYE and we had so much meat here I don’t want to see it :)))

  15. Masschan London, UK joined 7/16 & has 5 comments

    I always love your recipes so much, especially the stories that go along with them. Thank you for sharing :)
    I’m having my first baby in February so I need to teach my partner to make this for me! How long can I keep the soup for after it’s made?

    See full size image

  16. shiors joined 5/15 & has 1 comment

    Hallo from Indonesia,

    Today, I just cooked myeok guk according to ur instruction. Oh my, it turned out so delicious, way better than what i’ve tasted in several korean resto here. Thank u so much for giving out so many detailed cooking steps. No other cooking teacher can do better than you.

    I’ve tried the new braised baby potatoes recipe, simple kimchi, fried korean chicken, and sam gyeop sal… they all very tasty and become my family favourites.

    So happy that you just released the cooking book as well. Good luck to you and wish success for years ahead

More comments to read! Jump to page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

You must create a profile and be logged in to post a comment.