Recipe: Maesaengi soup, Jeollanam-do version

This is one of the few soups you’ll eat with chopsticks instead of a spoon.

When the maesaengi farm owner’s wife made this soup for us, she was very clear: You have to be able to eat this with chopsticks. Here, in the deep south where maesaengi grows, there’s a real appreciation for the mild sea flavors of maesaengi and it’s a common haejang (or hangover recovery) soup as well.



1 bundle (400g) fresh maesaengi

2 good handfuls of oysters without shells (about 200g)

1 cup water*

*The “Seoul version” of maesaengi soup would use more water for this amount of maesaengi

1~2 tbsp of Joseon ganjang and additional pinches of salt to taste

a few drops of sesame oil (optional)



1. Add water to a pot and bring it to a boil. Add oysters and simmer about 5 more minutes to make a flavored oyster stock.

2. Add maesaengi. Season with Joseon ganjang and additional salt if needed. Once it comes to a boil turn the heat off immediately. Otherwise it will be melted away because maesaengi consists of air and water. Be careful not to over boil.

3. Drizzle some drops of sesame oil (optional)

*Be careful: When you eat maesaengi, it covers the heat and steam under it like a cloud. You don’t see how hot it is. Even though it looks cold, it can be deadly hot inside of the soup. So always be careful when you swallow a spoonful of maesaengi soup!

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