Korean Radish Soup (Moo Gook 무국)

Quick Look_______________

Korean radish soup is cheap and easy to make. Unlike most Korean soups, it's not spicy but has a mild flavor. It's a fairly light meal, but when your stomach is full of warm soup and rice... be careful.
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Labor Intensity: Could do by yourself, but 3-4 helpers would be good.
  • 30 servings.


  • 8 lbs beef (chuck, stew meat, brisket ...about $2/lb. Brisket is under $2 at smart and final)
  • 4 gallons water
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 large Korean radishes (Daikon) about 6-8 inch long, like a small football (sold at Koreana market or most Asian markets)
  • 1 bunch garlic (cheaper at Asian markets than Safeway)
  • 1 large onion
  • Total: about $20


  • You will need a large stock pot, I personally would split it into 2 large stock pots if you have space on the stove.
  • Boil the large pot(s) as well as a smaller pot of water, reduce to medium heat once boiling.
  • While water is boiling, cut the meat into 1-2 inch cubes
  • Add meat to small boiling pot for 10 minutes
  • Take the meat out of the water and rinse off the foam. Discard water in small pot.
  • Add the meat to the large boiling stock pot.
  • Cut the ends off of the onion, peel the skin off, and add whole onion to the large stock pot.
  • Peel skin off of garlic bunch. You can use the side of a knife to smash the garlic and throw it in whole, crushed, to the boiling pot.
  • While meat is boiling, peel radish and cut into thin disks (like pepperoni), then cut into quarters (like pizza slices)
  • Allow meat to boil for 90 minutes to get tender, remove from pot and shred (optional).
  • Strain out the onion and garlic and discard.
  • Add radish to soup, allowing it to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Read more about it below.

Tom's Tips and Tricks_______________

The meat is boiled and transfered after 10 minutes to cook the blood on the surface and then discard it. This way the large stock pot with soup will not have little blood clots or foam on top.

I personally feel what makes or breaks this is getting the salt right. Too often people undersalt soup. I would pour 1/3 cup of salt into a bowl and pour 1/2 of it into the soup. Then add it slowly to taste. I like to make it a bit salty to bring out the flavor...I will post more about this later. Add as much pepper as you like.

A large stock pot will be adequate if it could hold 4 gallons. For reference, the drink coolers we use are 5 gallons. You may need to split this into 2 smaller pots. This will provide 2 cups per person (or half a nalgeen bottle).

[Alternate variations] You can add about 5 chopped green onions before serving. Another variation is to add a few cups of fish sauce, or about 20 dried anchovies to the water and strain them out at the end.

[Possible side dish] serve with rice.


david lee said…
thanks bro. i'll give it a shot.
Unknown said…
I have made this a couple times. Thanks Tom!
carol said…
thanks for posting :) this is great! I've been looking for this recipe, it's a total nostalgic food for me since I used to eat it at my when I was little :)
Jen Tse said…
Thanks Tom! I was looking for a good soup recipe for house dinner. This looks great! Hope this will go well with spring rolls.

-Thurles sisters

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