Korean Food | Samgyetang (삼계탕)


Andy and I eat samgyetang any time of the year, and we never fail to have it on ‘bok nal’ or the hottest days in Korean summer. Last Wednesday was the ‘mal bok’ or the third hottest day in Korea. Andy and I together with my mother-in-law went to our favorite samgyetang restaurant for dinner.


Samgyetang is an energizing soup-based dish. It consists of a whole young chicken that is stuffed with Korean ginseng, dried jujube fruits, garlic, ginger and glutinous rice. It is the most common and famous health food eaten during summer. Being exposed to the scorching heat, many Koreans are dehydrated and fatigued. So on bok nal, they take a break and feat on food to replenish their stamina and strength. Samgyetang helps restore vital strength that is lost in the sweltering weather. It is also an excellent medicine to ward off illness or to help cure colds.

Samgyetang is usually served with salt and pepper (put in a small separate dish to dip the meat). But I prefer to add the seasoning directly into the soup. It is usually served with radish kimchi, cabbage kimchi, chicken gizzard and fresh green peppers.


Photo by Yonhap News

On bok nal days, it is common to see long lines of people waiting in front of samgyetang restaurants especially during lunch time. Last Wednesday, we waited for 30 minutes even though it was past dinner time. After enjoying our samgyetang, my mother-in-law and I drank the complimentary insamju, a traditional medicinal wine made with ginseng. Andy, however, refused to drink with us. Hehe.

Here is a short video I took 3 years ago. 🙂


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