Korean Fish Cake Soup

‘Odeng’ or ‘eomuk guk is a classic Korean street food made of fish cakes that are served skewered with a super delicious and comforting broth. You’ll find these everywhere in Korea at street food stalls or pojang macha’. They’re usually served alongside tteokbokki or japchae dumplings as food to enjoy with ‘soju’  – Korea’s national liquor!

Luckily you don’t need to travel to Korea to try this because this recipe is very easy to recreate at home! 🙂

Why you’ll love this recipe

Tender, and chewy, that’s what a good fish cake should taste like. Paired with a simple but umami-packed anchovy broth, and you have a good meal to fill you right up. The broth is my favorite part – it’s light, refreshing, and a perfect way to wash down all the food. 

This is completely optional, but I like to add some long green peppers to the soup to give it a bit of a kick. Korean radish is usually added to the soup for a touch of natural sweetness so I highly recommend using them. The dish only takes 30 minutes to make, so you can serve this as a cozy meal whenever you like. Don’t forget to serve it with the dipping sauce for a burst of extra flavor!

How do I prepare Korean Fish Cake Soup?

To recreate this iconic street food at home, just follow the steps below:

Step 1: Prepare the broth

To start, combine dried anchovies, dried kelp, onion, cabbage, Korean radish, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Step 2: Remove the ingredients

Once the broth reduces by half, remove everything except for the radish and kelp (optional).

Step 3: Season the broth

Make sure to season the broth with salt and chicken bouillon or msg (optional).

Step 4: Cook the fish cakes

Add the fish cakes and let them cook for 5-6 minutes. Once the fish cakes are done, garnish the broth with scallions and peppers (optional).

Step 5: Make the dipping sauce

Combine garlic, scallions, peppers, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru, sugar, and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Stir to mix them well.

Step 6: Serve!

Serve the fish cake soup with the dipping sauce, and enjoy while they’re hot!

Cooking Tips for Korean Fish Cake Soup

The steps for making fish cake soup are pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips you could remember to make the process easier:

  • Before preparing the broth, make sure to remove the innards of the dried anchovies. The innards have a bitter taste, which can be unpleasant.
  • After straining the anchovy broth, remove the ingredients except for the radish. I also like to snack on the kelp sometimes!
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of long green peppers and gochugaru in the soup and dipping sauce based on your spice tolerance.
  • The broth can be made 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It can also be stored in the freezer for a month. If freezing, be sure to strain the broth completely, including the radish. I find that the radish gets very mushy when reheated. 

Ingredients & Substitutions

Fish cakes: fish cakes are essential for this recipe. There are different varieties and you you can buy some from any Korean or Asian grocery store.

Scallions: scallions add a refreshing flavor to the dish, but you can also use spring onions or chives.

Long green peppers: long green peppers will add a mild spiciness to the soup and dipping sauce, but you can also replace them with any pepper you like, including poblano or jalapeno peppers.

Dried anchovies: dried anchovies add a salty and umami flavor to the broth, but in a pinch, you can also add fish sauce to taste or make my Dried Anchovy Powder recipe in advance so you’d always have some on hand.

Dried kelp: dried kelp adds a ton of delicious umami flavor to the broth. You can substitute it with nori or shiitake mushrooms but expect it to taste slightly different.

Cabbage: cabbage adds freshness to the soup, but you can also replace it with any leafy greens like bok choy, Chinese cabbage, or spinach.

Korean radish: Korean radish adds texture to the soup, but you can also use regular radish or daikon.

Chicken bouillon: chicken bouillon is great for seasoning the broth, but you can also switch it for MSG, chicken stock, or salt.

Gochugaru: gochugaru is great for building the spiciness of the dipping sauce, but you can also substitute it with chili powder or red chili flakes.

Sesame oil: sesame oil adds a nutty and smoky taste to the dipping sauce, so it can be difficult to substitute it. But in a pinch, just add toasted sesame seeds on top of the sauce.

Sesame seeds: sesame seeds will enhance the flavors of the sesame oil, but you can also omit it if you don’t have it at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are fish cakes made of?

Fish cakes consist of ground white fish paste or meat and wheat flour. Depending on the brand, they can also contain onion, carrots, salt, sugar, and MSG for flavor. Lower-quality brands may contain more starch fillers than fish meat, so make sure to get one with fish paste or meat as the primary ingredient.

You can find fish cakes at Korean or Asian grocery stores. I like to use the assorted ones for this soup, but you can also get whatever’s available. Fish cakes can last for months in the freezer so it’s good to stock up on them if you want to make this recipe on repeat!

What is Korean radish?

Korean radish or mu is a variety of radish native to Korea. You can recognize it with its plump oval shape with curved ends. Korean radish has a white base that sometimes transitions into a light green hue at the top. A good radish should be firm and has smooth and shiny skin with a dense and crisp interior. Adding Korean radish to the soup bulks it up and allows you to sneak in your veggies.

How do you remove the innards of dried anchovies?

I highly recommend you remove the innards of dried anchovies before you start making the anchovy broth. You don’t have to do this on medium and small anchovies, but it’s necessary on larger ones. To do this, use your fingers to open the belly of the anchovy slowly. Then scrape out the innards, making sure to leave the head attached. Repeat the steps on the rest of the anchovies. If you’re still unsure how to do this, you can also watch the video below to take a peek at how I do it.

Can you store Korean Fish Cake Soup?

You can store any leftover Korean fish cake soup in the fridge. Just keep it in an airtight container so it can stay fresh for up to 3 days. If you like, you can also store any extra dipping sauce in a separate container. To reheat, just let the soup boil over the stovetop or pop it in the microwave until it’s heated through. You can also remove the fish cakes from the skewer so it’s easier to reheat them.

Looking for more easy and delicious soup recipes?

For more cozy soups, check out these recipes below:

1. Korean Pork Bone Soupif there’s one dish I’ll cook for the rest of my life, I will pick this recipe. It’s got fall-off-the-bone pork and potatoes surrounded by a flavorful spicy soup. It’s a dish perfect for sharing on any occasion.

2. Korean Rice Cake Soupthis New Year’s Day staple is a must at home for welcoming good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year. This is a simplified version of the traditional recipe so you could also make it at home. It’s got perfectly cooked brisket and rice cake combined with a comforting soup and topped with a dollop of spicy chili paste.

3. Cabbage Soybean Paste Soupfor a comforting soup that’s easy to prepare, you must try this recipe. It’s made with anchovy broth and cabbage, and enhanced with the flavors of Korean soybean paste. 

4. Korean Mussel Soupif you have some fresh mussels, you shouldn’t miss out on making this soup. It’s salty, spicy, and refreshing, which allows the flavors of the mussel to shine. Don’t forget to serve it with a slice or two of garlic bread for the ultimate meal.

5. Char Siu Pork Noodle Soupthis hearty soup is the epitome of my childhood, so I like to make this whenever I feel homesick. I recommend you prepare the char siu in advance to get the maximum flavor. This recipe is a labor of love, but it’s all worth it once you take a bite!

6. Spicy Seafood Noodle Soupif you’re in the mood for something spicy, this seafood noodle soup will hit just the right spot. Make sure to use tons of mussels because its thick broth loves to adhere to the noodles for optimal flavor.

Odeng/Eomuk Guk

Servings 2 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 12 oz fish cakes assorted
  • 1-2 scallions chopped
  • 1 tbsp sliced long green peppers optional


  • 6 cups water
  • 12 dried anchovies innards removed
  • 2 oz dried kelp
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 3 oz cabbage
  • 3 oz Korean radish sliced into chunks
  • 1 tsp salt adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon or msg, optional

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp gochugaru Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp scallion chopped
  • 1 tsp long green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds


  • Start by preparing the broth. Combine dried anchovies, dried kelp, onion, cabbage, Korean radish and water. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook for 20-30 minutes.
  • Once the broth has reduced by half, remove everything except for the radish and kelp (optional).
  • Season the broth with salt and chicken bouillon or msg (optional).
  • Add the fish cakes and cook for 5-6 minutes. Garnish with scallions and peppers (optional).
  • Serve and enjoy with dipping sauce!

Dipping Sauce

  • Combine garlic, scallions, peppers, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru, sugar, sesame seeds. Stir together to mix well.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish, Snack, Soup
Cuisine: Korean

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Jecca Chantilly © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.