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Dec 4, 2011 03:46 PM

What's the idea behind boiling hot Korean soups?

Saw the Kimchi Chronicles, which showed some soups served at the table boiling hot, and have also seen it served that way at Korean restaurants. Why so hot? Why not serve it at a normal hot soup temperature? Seems so impractical if you have to wait 10 minutes to even take your first taste of it.

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  1. Through practice you can drink 100oC hot soup.....

    I don't know. I think there is this idea that the soup is freshly made, so you see if boiling at your table. In addition, the idea of cool soup is much frown upon in Eastern-Asian culture.

    1. Isn't that so that they can put raw ingredients into the soup and the boiling hot broth will lightly cook them?

      4 Replies
        1. re: Kajikit

          That's what I thought, since when I get soon dubu jigae, there's always an egg in it that needs to cook at the table. Also, it's pretty exciting to have something that looks like molten lava set in front of you.

            1. re: mattstolz

              I thought of this as well. But for hot-pot, it usually comes with a heater of some sort under it, and you wait for your food to cook at the table.

          1. houses without central heating in the winter? The fact that the bowls (stone or earthenware) keep the soup hot is probably more important the initial temperature.

            There's a summer 'soup' - served in a double walled stainless steel bowl with ice cubes.

            1. If you are referring to Jjigae, then it's to keep warm.

              Ever spend a winter in Seoul? It's usually below freezing for the most part.

              As I understand it, traditionally many Korean homes did not have central heat, and many parts of Korea are rather cold in the autumn and winter months (understatement on my part), and thus the boiling pots of stew was both practical, if not outrageously delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Was just going to say it's flippin' cold there! One of my son's friends served a tour of duty in Korea and he really despised the cold weather. (^_^)

              2. I can eat those boiling hot soups moments after being served. I love really hot foods. WIth the soon du bu (tofu stew), they serve it with a raw egg, not that it's crucial to cook the egg - as I also am served rice in Persian restaurants with a raw egg.