Seaweed soup with beef

Soegogi miyeokguk 쇠고기 미역국

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
  • 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


  1. Rinse and drain the miyeok. Squeeze out excess water. Cut a few times into bite-size pieces.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. The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.Korean seaweed soup (birthday soup)


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  1. MaangchiLove Montreal, Toronto joined 8/19 & has 39 comments

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

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  2. 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!

  3. 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

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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. :)

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  6. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 50 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!


  7. 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!

  8. 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.

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