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 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)



  1. Snowy& has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Can I skip the vinegar ingredient?
    Will the taste be different..
    I would like to try it…
    :) looks nice..!

  2. Meggie& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    I have a bit of an emergency – my daughter is sick, and my mother in law has made a Korean soup for me when I’m sick that makes me feel so much better. The last time we visited them she gave me everything I needed to make it, but I have no idea how. She calls it mooguk? Turnip soup with seaweed and beef, does this sound familiar? I think I need to take dried anchovies and boil them and strain them, and then boil the meat for a while so it gets soft, and then boil the turnip and seaweed? But I’m really not sure, it’s been over a year since I’ve watched her make it. Can you help me? I know this will help my daughter so much if I can just figure out how to make it. Thanks so much!


  3. Heidi& has 1 comment

    Hi Maaangchi. This is the first time I’ve tried a Korean recipe. I made the miyuk guk and really liked it! I think it turned out well. Since I like thicker soup I might use a little less water next time. And I added some sauteed mushrooms to one bowl – yum!

    I’m planning to try the miyuk muchim next. I’m going to try it with rice vinegar since I have that in my pantry, but what kind do you usually use?

    Thanks for the great recipes. I can’t wait to try out some more!

  4. smelleroses& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    The miyuk that I bought looks different from yours. The name printed on the package is miyuk gwi.
    Can you advise is it the wrong type? What should I do with this miyuk? I have the whole package with me. Some good recipes..=)

  5. smelleroses& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    I tried the miyuk salad today.
    After soaking the miyuk for 30 minutes, it turns out to be sticky, even after a few washing.
    Did I bought the wrong miyuk? How many types do you have there?

    • zipurlip2 USofA joined 7/11 & has 20 comments

      I don’t know much about Korean cooking, but I do know Japaneses and they make a similar salad. If you don’t like the sliminess, try dried ‘wakame’ which is young seaweed. It’s tender enough that you don’t need to cook it, just rehydrate it a bit.

  6. anonymous& has 4 comments

    hi maangchi :)
    i love your site SOOOOO much. just wanted to say keep up the good work!
    my question is about this recipe. this is my second time and the first time i made it the beef turned out a big tough. also, i’ve been following the recipe to a T but the soup always comes out a bit bland. what is the best fix for this? more fish sauce?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

      Bland taste? Do you mean it’s not salty? or the soup is not tasty? If the soup is not delicious, use more beef (flank steak part) and boil longer until it’s tender and then add fish sauce… And if it’s not salty enough, add more fish sauce.

  7. Hi maangchi! My korean boyfriend’s birthday is coming next tuesday (June 9) and I’m glad I found your site. I just finished cooking your kimchi chigae recipe and it tastes great! I even added some enoki mushrooms (is that ok?) My boyfriend hasn’t tasted it yet but he will when he gets home in an hour ^^ I’m sure he’ll love it. I can’t wait to make miyuk guk for him on his birthday! Do you think i should do a test run? (Just in case I make a mistake? k.k) Is this recipe foolproof? ^^ Thank you so much! More power to your site! I looove it! No mu no mu jo ah! ^^v

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

      wow,If you make miyeokguk for your bf on his birthday , he will be very impressed! He won’t miss his mom! : )
      Adding enoki mushrooms to kimchi stew is a great idea!

      • julieRN& has 3 comments

        hey maangchi! your kimchi chigae recipe was a hit! i’m soooo glad he loved it! to the very last drop! k.k
        I sure will follow your miyuk guk recipe on his birthday. I hope I wont mess it up! ^^ NO MU NO MU GAM SA HAM NI DA ^^
        By the way, It is my dream to make good kim bap and kimchi for him to bring to work (althought I think the kim bap is more attainable..k.k) do you have any good kim bap recipes? ^^ thank you so much!

      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

        Thank you for your update!

  8. Thank You
    BTW, Next Monday is My Birthday(8 June)
    I’m Gonna Make This

  9. Hello Maangchi^^
    I Was Thinking Can I Use Dashida Instead Of beef
    I Cant Find Article About Dashida in Wikipedia
    Can You Tell More About Dashida
    Thank You:)

  10. Hi Maangchi

    I made Miyuk Guk Today It Was So Much Delecious I made with Chicken
    Thabks For The Great Recipe

  11. Can i use apple vinegar for salad

  12. Hey Maangchi!!

    What about Soaking overnight??

  13. lenkah& has 1 comment

    I would know how many sea plants do Koreans use, and how long it is necessary to boil it. Once I eat some very thin and it was without any cooking….
    Thank, your recipes are great.

  14. I’ve had a cold miyuk soup (as banchan). It had thinly sliced cucumbers, a little imitation crab, with a tangy taste to it. Do you know what I’m talking about? I hope so because I hope you can teach me how to make it!

  15. You Should Fry Beef & Miyeok First.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

      I sometimes make my miyeokguk that way, but I prefer clear soup. I followed my grandmother and my mother’s recipe. You should try it out. Someday I will post the miyeokguk recipe that you mention. Thanks!

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