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Mae-un tang is a hot spicy Korean cuisine fish soup boiled with gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste), kochukaru (chili powder), and various vegetables. The name is a combination of two words: maeun, meaning "hot and spicy"; and tang, meaning "soup."

Left: Maeuntang.

As its main ingredient, fresh or saltwater fish is cut into several pieces and boiled with ground beef, green vegetables such as watercress and garland chrysanthemum. Onion, radish, chilis, crown daisy, garlic, and sometimes zucchini and bean curd are added to the mixture to absorb the chili pepper paste which is the main flavoring of this dish. It is then seasoned with chili powder, garlic, soy sauce, and additional gochujang may be added once more to meet everyone's taste buds.

Restaurants that offer this dish often allow customers to select their fish from an aquarium. Many specialty seafood restaurants have several aquariums from which to choose. Popular fish for this dish may include red snapper, sea bass, yellow corvina, codfish, croaker, pollack, and even freshwater fish like carp and trout. In addition, other shellfish such as crabs, clams, and oysters can be also added to this soup to complement and enhance its spicy yet refreshing flavors.

This soup is one of Korea's most popular dishes while drinking soju. If ordered with hoe at a restaurant, the soup is often then made from the leftover parts of the fish.

Recipe Ingredients

2 trouts whole (12-14 inches) or other fishes listed above. Use discretion in size if cooking with other fish
½ cup radish, thin sliced
2-3 red chilies, cut in a bias
3 green onions, cut in a bias
3-4 crown daisy, cut top part into 3 inches
4-5 parsley, take out leaves and cut into 3 inches
6 tbsp gochujang (red chili pepper paste)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp kochukaru (red chili pepper flakes)
3 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp salt
6 cups water
¼ squash, thin sliced (optional)
10 oz bean curds (optional)

Serves: four persons.

Recipe Cooking and Preparation Method

  1. Scale and wash the fish, then vertically cut into several pieces.
  2. Put water in a pot, start boiling.
  3. Add kochujang, kochukaru and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add radish, squash, half of chilies, keep cooking on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add fish and garlic.
  6. Heat until fish is completely cooked. Add salt to taste.
  7. Add green onions and parsley.
  8. Cook for another 1-2 minute and add crown daisy.
  9. Serve hot with white rice.

Food Serving Suggestion


This soup is one of Korean's most popular dishes while drinking soju.


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