NOTE: This is the “Dead Body Soup” that Andrew Zimmern tried on Bizarre Foods. This name comes from an urban legend of Korean students in Germany making the soup and the German neighbors calling the police, fearing that there was a dead body in the apartment. To know more about the filming of the South Korea episode, the foods and the restaurants, click here.

One of my favorite aspects of Korean cuisine is the stinky soybean pastes and soups, including Doenjang Jjigae, Ssamjang, and CheongGukJang 청국장. I had been wanting to figure out how to make this at home for a long time. I recently purchased some Korean cookbooks and thought I’d take the task of making a stinky soup. Besides, I finally had made my dashi.

Earlier in the week at the store, I had found this package of extra stinky soybean paste in what looked like a yogurt container. The cashier laughed when she rang it up and showed it to her fellow cashier, saying what I’m sure was, “Look what this crazy foreigner is buying.”

This is a blurry picture of what the inside looks like.

Since I finally was going to make this soup, I made it special by cooking it directly in the bowl — another cool whacky Korean idea. I put some dashi in the bowl and set it on medium flame.

I then added some chopped onions.

When it started to boil, I added some kimchi.

Then maybe three tablespoons of CheongGukJang paste.

After smoothly boiling it for a while, I finished it off with some mushrooms, chopped green onion, and tofu. You can add salt to taste, but the CheongGukJang paste and kimchi add a lot of salt to the soup already.

I carefully placed the boiling soup bowl on my commemorative “Dokdo is Ours” towel on a tray. This soup/stew is so strong, you need a bowl of rice to balance it. It’s funny because it has no meat in it (unless you count the anchovy essence in the dashi) yet it tastes like a meaty soup, like a chili or cheese soup. I am far from being a vegetarian, yet it feels wholesome to not need a greasy slab of flesh with every meal.

ADDENDUM: I told my girlfriend about my soup. She suggested to also add a dab of gochujang (red pepper paste), and throw in some thinly sliced hot peppers and garlic at the end.

CheongGukJang Jjigae

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 bowls

Serving Size: 1 bowl

CheongGukJang Jjigae

The famous "dead body soup" from Korea (no dead bodies invoved--infact, it's vegetarian)


  • 3 Tbsp Cheonggukjang Paste
  • 2 cups Dashi (1 piece of thick stock seaweed boiled with a few dried anchovies, strained)
  • 1/2 cup Onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kimchi, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 block Extra-firm Tofu, cubed
  • 1 tsp Gochugaru
  • 1 Tbsp Chile Peppers, thinly sliced


  1. Boil the dashi
  2. Add the onions, kimchi, and cheonggukjang paste and return to a boil for five minutes
  3. Add mushrooms and boil for two minutes
  4. Add leeks, tofu and gochugaru
  5. Garnish with sliced chili peppers

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