The chueo-tang is reputedly a ‘beautifier soup’ in Korea as the dish is loaded with calcium and proteins that contribute to that enviable dew of Korean skin. The pond loach is the main ingredient of this soup, and its uncooked version has a sharp and an almost-bitter taste. But crushed and cooked along with doenjjang (soybean paste), gochujang, grated ginger and pepper, this innocent fish with an unflattering name is perhaps one of the tastiest seafood-based soups in Korea’s arsenal of dishes.
The soup originated from the farmers of Namwon, where the dish is said to help the farmers recover from exhaustion of tending to their farms. It was called the ‘autumn mudfish stew’ because the chubun (autumnal equinox) period makes it easy for the farmers to catch these loaches in the several ditches around the drained paddy fields.
*photo source: https://blog.naver.com/pointreal/220252738938