Juk 죽 aka Korean rice porridge has become my go to comfort food here as a soup lover.  Seriously, soup addict here.

What is Juk or Rice porridge?  Well think of it as a nice and very thick rice soup, sometimes grains, beans, meat, and vegetables are added, but  it can be made VERY simply with just rice and water.  Mainly Juk is thought of as Korea’s chicken soup, its the go to food for people who are sick, elderly, having digestive problems, hungover, and is praised as children’s food because it is nutritious and super easy to digest. A nice hearty bowl warms the tummy and makes all your problems go away~ or allows you to have a nice nap and sleep them off!

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You know when you over eat and you pass out for a nap, but feel gross? Well a Juk food coma nap feels so amazing… you are full and happy and wake up feeling great because its so easy on your body lol.

VERY basic Juk you might make for someone sick

The taste of Juk is normally (or traditionally) very simple and bland, but when eating it at a Juk restaurant now they use stocks with a bit more flavor vs water and you are often served sides of kimchi, shredded soy beef, and cold radish soup to eat with it~  It’s the best!!

Most Koreans always mince up at least some veges when making Juk at home now too though, because it has vitamins and adds a bit of color vs the plain one pictured above.

Nowadays if you want Juk with a bit more flavor or don’t have the time to make it yourself you can stop by one of the dozens of places that will make it for you! They have LOTS of places dedicated to serving JUST Juk all over Korea~ some people eat it in, others get it as take out.. apparently take out is the most common option since lots of people still only tend to eat Juk when they are not feeling well though.

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Juk Rainbow!

Most chains offer lots of varieties for every taste + even options made just for babies plus provide bottles for baby food so you can get your child’s meals made fresh and take them home~I really like that.  You can see how popular this dish is for children if you stop by any chain for an early lunch, its always packed with mothers feeding little kids and bouncy toddlers.

You can also buy instant Juk from from the grocery store or mini stops like 7-11, they are generally kinds that you microwave or boil in bags to heat up and come in a range of choices and flavors.   I have bought these a few times late at night and in my exp they are all pretty gross though, its best to just make your own 😛 They kinda have that weird artificial chemical taste.

Two very common chains worth visiting in Korea are Bon Juk 본죽 and Juk Iyagi (story) 이야기

both of these make great Juk, but Bon Juk 본죽 gives you larger servings + has a very tasty minced pickled squid they serve with the meal, while Juk Iyagi 이야기 has more tasty modern fun flavors like cheese and curry.

The inside of every larger Juk chain I have been in (and I eat at them a LOT) is always small, but clean and very comfy with a nice organic theme and color palate. They are cozy places to eat and usually nice and quiet. The menus for most of them also have pictures which make ordering a little less intimidating if you are new to Korea or eating Juk.

My favorite is Juk Iyagi’s Chicken Cheese Juk, it is SO GOOD with lots of cheese and bits of broccoli.

Some of this on a cold or rainy day is just best thing ever ♥

Other variations of Korean Juk are pumpkin, sesame, mushroom, seafood, sweet potato, pine nuts, abalone, ginseng, and many more. Each has a special thing it claims to help, some are good for nursing mothers, others for skin, the elderly, etc its like a bowl of yummy medicine and Koreans are all about organic treatments and medicine ♥  The price in specialized juk restaurants can be cost around 9,000won, or go to almost 20,000 won or more if fancy ingredients are used, so its considered a dish that’s a little more on the expensive side here for some people.

Typically when you order at one of the Juk restaurants you will get a set up very similar to the image.  Large bowl of juk, smaller bowl to eat from, serving ladle, kimchi of some kind, 장조림 Jangjorim  shredded beef in soy sauce, radish soup, and some kind of minced pickled squid (this is something Bon Juk does in particular) or chilli sesame paste as well. Usually the Juk is topped with seaweed flakes and sesame seeds for you to mix in~

Cheaper places may give you a bit less banchan/ sides with your meal, but I always seem to at least get kimchi and radish soup no matter where I order this dish.

I said it before, but again~ If you go to a Juk restaurant please remember, Korean juk is very bland for most as-is~ but if you add in those banchan 반찬 they give you it becomes delicious!  I think many foreigners don’t realize that and just eat the porridge alone expecting a meal …so of course its boring! Add in that kimchi or meat! The texture is usually thick, not too runny~ and the veg and meat included in your “Flavor” is so finely diced up that sometimes its hard to tell if its your order, that the way its supposed to be ♥

Also don’t forget~like most Korean restaurants, the banchan (aka side dishes) are refillable!! Eat up!!


Image via visitkorea.or.kr

Now, for a little bit of basic history on Korean Juk before you chow down~ Juk is one of those dishes that has been served in Korea for hundreds of years.  Versions of it exist in other Asian cultures, but the Korean variation is what we will be focusing on since…. well this is a blog about Korea. Duh!

The development of juk stemmed  from a history of famine or food scarcity in Korea. Since early times, Koreans have enjoyed juk, which refers to a wide range of porridge dishes prepared by slow-boiling rice, rice mixed with other grains, or some other grain, in water until the grains become soft and viscous, making them easy to digest. In days gone by, when rice was often scarce, various porridge recipes were developed, even before steamed rice became a staple of the Korean diet. -Bucheon College Professor of Food and Nutrition Paik Jae-eun  Via Koreana MagazineRice Porridge (Juk): A Practical Source of Nutrition

Before I started writing this article I assumed that because it was a boiled dish that could be thinned out and cooked easily that it must be just a poor man’s dish, wrong! Juk was also something that the wealthy and Royalty of Korea also ate, typically at the first 5 a.m. meal of the day called chojoban… which was sort of like a starter meal for royalty (mainly of porridge) to get you going for the day before you sat down for proper breakfast.

Apparently it was also important for the future wife of a respectable family to be able to prepare around 20 types of Juk, that’s not the case now (thank god) but it is important that you at least know how to prepare it for your husband and/or family if they are sick or would like it! Its one of those things all Korean Mothers know how to cook.

With that in mind~  I decided to try and make my own!  I’ll do a post about that and making Juk soon! ♥ ♥

Great news!  While doing this I found out the chain Bon Juk actually has some locations in the USA now!! HERE Is a listing, but double check on yelp to see which location is still open before you go maybe!  So Happy to find this out *_* Now I can eat juk even after we move home ♥

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23 Responses to “Juk 죽 ♥Rice Porridge”

  • Yumm!!! I eat the Chinese version of it… same idea. =) Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!!

    • Elle:

      oooh do you mean Congee? I want to try other types of this dish~ I hear the Chinese version is amazing!

  • My favorite is “Crab Cheese Juk” 게살 치즈축. It’s heavenly!

  • awww..!! Now you make me want for some porridge!! Those “juk” looks yummy!!! I really should try it when I’m coming to Korea this summer <3

    and this is my first time coming to your blog and I'm awed by all the cuteness here! Hahahaha.. I can even pick my own cute avatar!!! :O

    • Elle:

      Aw thank you for stopping by, I hope you are enjoying it so far *_* its still very new so I have so much to add still! I’m trying to do a post a day atm *_*
      You must try some when you come! Its one of those foods that grows and grows on you for sure~ ♥ ♥

  • I could really use some of this right now. I have a pesky cold right now and would love nothing more than something to make me feel better. I definitely need to find a recipe for this so I’m looking forward to your post about that soon! 🙂

    And I found this entire post SO interesting! 🙂

    • Elle:

      I’m so glad you did Angie! I want to kinda inform about some stuff, but make it interesting as well~ so hopefully I pulled that off haha. Cute toy posts soon though… because yeah… I cant help myself lol. Feel better soon! I will try cooking this in a week I think and post it shortly *_* wish me luck

  • Custom avatar Lianne:

    I’m jealous! All the food posts make me hungry and all the cute posts make me want things. Haha.

    My grandma used to make turkey juk every Thanksgiving but I think at the moment, I need to find a way to make a quick version. Juk sounds so good right now especially since it’s cold out.

    Definitely looking forward to more of your posts!

    • Elle:

      Turkey Juk sounds amazing!!! Ah so hungry just thinking about it XD I’m going to post my cooking exp with it, but I’ll be using pre-made chicken stock VS boiling a chicken and all that, so it should be super easy to follow…. especially if I do it lol. I’ll post that adventure soon, just waiting for some free time from my painting jobs to play house wife in the kitchen for a bit hehe.

  • When I went to Japan, one of my favorite traditional breakfast foods was the rice porridge. I believe it had some kind of sweet fish sauce that you poured on it. I’d really like to make some at home; it can’t be too complicated! Maybe I should jazz it up and make Juk with some fun ingredients!

  • Custom avatar Kitty:

    Ooooh!! I always wondered what this was like! I watched a Korean drama recently, and it’s main feature was porridge! Not the oat kind we get here, but this! I invested a lot of emotion and commitment to that drama so it was really cool to read your post here about the food that was so important to the show ^_^ Thanks!

  • Even though I had never had juk before I had found a Korean cookbook at our library called A Korean Mother’s Cooking Notes that explained how to make juk so I tried it. (I believe this book was a best seller in Korea and translated into English. My town is a “sister city” to Gapyeong in Korea and they gave our library many books relating to Korea and this book was one of them…it’s a great cookbook because it’s more normal or basic Korean food rather than Korean cuisine which is the subject of the other Korean cookbook our library has.) I don’t know if I made the juk right, but I will be making it again sometime anyway. I think there is a recipe in the book for a pumpkin juk which I think sounds good, especially now that it’s getting colder and seems very autumn like.

    • Elle:

      You can make it a vaaaaast number of ways, just throw in the rice and a bit of stock with fine diced veges of you want a very easy basic one~ the trick is to keep stirring it for quite some time till it thickens up and the rice is super soft. The only thing is without Jangjorim or kimchi it will be quite bland and a bit baby-food-ish for most people!

  • Custom avatar Annabelle:

    Oh my god those Juk look delicious! Where can I find the Juk Iyagi outlets?^^

  • OMg! Your pictures made me miss Korea so much more!! At the moment, I think I got a bad case of cold or a flu, so I’m missing my mom’s juk and I’m even craving the one from the restaurants!

    • Elle:

      aw I’m sorry you feel sick! Nothing beats some yummy juk when you feel gross, can you make some for yourself? It is so easy to make at home if you have the time <3

  • Custom avatar hui:

    Hi, May i ask you where is the location of this outlet? Or do you know the other outlet location as i am traveling to Korea and wish to try this. Thanks!

    • Elle:

      It is a common chain (like Mc Donalds) so you will be able to find one in most major areas

      • Custom avatar Hui:

        Hi, would you mind to tell me a particular area. Like maybe where you had yours? Because this is the first time travelling to korea. And you porridge look awesome. Really would not like to missed out

        • Elle:

          I had mine in my neighborhood which is by Sillim Station on line #2, however~ please give me a little time, I will update this blog with some locations of Juk since others may need this information too. ^^

  • Custom avatar Hui:

    Thanks you so much 🙂

  • Greetings (Again if you got my other e-mail). We love your post on Juk and are wondering if you have come across a place in Seocho4-dong that you would recommend for Juk. We are staying at the M Chereville and would love to walk out the door on our first morning for a breakfast Juk! Thanks, Audre and Dimitri

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