What Koreans Eat For Glowing Skin (Part 2: Oxtail Soup)

By Minji

  • Oxtail is one of the most popular sources of bone marrow which is known to be rich in collagen and good for your skin
  • I also adore this soup because it's delicious and requires relatively little effort or skill to cook
  • Check out my recipe and try for yourself!

When collagen came to the forefront as critical for healthy skin a few decades ago now, everyone in Seoul would tell me to eat more oxtail soup instead of spending money on collagen supplements. 

Oxtail is one of the most popular sources of bone marrow which is known to be rich in collagen. There’s a lot of controversy around whether collagen consumed through food or supplements directly impacts your skin.  For these reasons I don’t take collagen supplements, but I still LOVE Korean oxtail soup (“kori gomtang”). 

Even if the collagen benefits are murky, this dish boasts various other health benefits as it’s packed with protein and calcium.  But more importantly, the main reason I adore this soup so much is because I consider it one of the most delicious foods to prepare with the least amount of effort.  Your bang for the buck is there in terms of taste, health benefits and expenditure of effort.

If you’ve ever had oxtail soup at a Korean restaurant before, you might find this hard to believe.  It looks quite intricate and the depth of the broth doesn’t taste simple at all.  It definitely takes some time to get that rich and milky flavor, but most of the time spent is to just simmer the soup.  In terms of actual to-dos for the cook, it’s relatively pain-free.

Below is my favorite recipe for this amazing Korean dish that will enliven your taste buds and hopefully also promote radiant skin. Make sure you try Korean seaweed soup too!

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 2 lbs Oxtails (about one packet of oxtail you might find at the Korean market)
  • 8-10 cups of Water (this is approximate, feel free to adjust)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • Scallions (green onions) chopped
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Optional dipping sauce for meat: mix 2 tbs of soy sauce with a bit of sesame oil, garlic powder, chili powder and a bit of the chopped scallions 


  • Soak oxtails in cold water for about 1 hour to drain blood.
  • Put the oxtails in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Take the meat out and rinse under cold water to remove any impurities from the meat and bones.
  • Fill up a large pot with 4-6 cups of water (or enough water to cover all the oxtail) and boil the oxtail with garlic. When it comes to a boil, skim off the scum and reduce to medium heat.
  • With the lid on, cook with medium heat for about an hour, regularly skimming off scum and fat. After an hour, bring to low heat and simmer for 2-4 hours until broth is milky (like in the picture above, my most recent creation!), adding water regularly if there’s not enough to cover the bones. Also, continue to check the broth once in a while to skim off scum and fat.   
  • Once the broth achieves a milky and rich texture, turn off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with chopped scallions, and enjoy!
  • This soup, like most Korean soups, is best served with rice and kimchi.