Featured on Bizarre Foods, Cheongguk-jang-jjigae is a bad-smelling but heavenly tasting meal made from fermented soybeans paste. It was described on the show as the ‘Dead Body Soup’, a name derived from an urban legend of Koreans making the soup in Germany and their neighbours calling the police fearing that a deadbody could be in the apartment.
Cheongguk-jang was introduced by China to Korea during the Joseon era. It was used to make ration soup for the Qing Dynasty soldiers.
It is generally considered to be a healthy food as all traditionally fermented foods are. It is rich in vitamins and other nutrients and is believed to aiddigestion.
Cheongguk-jang-jjigae is made from Cheongguk-jang, dried anchovies, onions, Kimchi, mushrooms, leeks, tofu, gochujaru, chili peppers. It is a vegetarian meal but some chefs add beef to the mix. Squash, potatoes, garlic and ginger can also be added to improve taste.
The Cheongguk-jang can be added towards the end of cooking time to reduce the smell.