Friday, May 31, 2019

[Food] Samgyetang (삼계탕, Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)


[Food] Samgyetang (삼계탕, Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)

As a follow-up article of my previous article on Dakdoritang, I want to talk about another Korean chicken dish. Samgyetang is a very common and traditional chicken dish in Korea. The recipe for Samgyetang first appeared in a Korean document that was published in 1542 when Seboong Ju, who was governor of Pung-gi in Chungcheong province, started to cultivate ginseng from wild ginseng seeds. Samgyetang was produced to energize people through the hot summers.

Whole chicken is cooked for samgyetang

Today, still, Koreans often eat samgyetang in summer to keep a healthy body and gain energy from it. The three hottest summer days in Korea are 'Bok-Nal' (Bok means 'conquer', Nal means 'day', meaning 'the day we conquer the heat'), and there are three Bok-Nal; 'Cho (first) Bok', 'Joong (Middle) Bok' and 'Mal (End) Bok'. So during every Bok-Nal, samgyetang restaurants are crowded with customers eager to fill themselves with energy from samgyetang to conquer the summer heat.

Samgyetang with side dishes
The recipe is very simple. Boil and braise a whole chicken that is filled with sticky rice with ginseng, dates and many other medicinal herbs for several hours till the chicken really softens.

You can taste the deep, thick, meaty chicken stock and silky-soft flesh of chicken. However, non-Koreans who meet samgyetang for the first time may hesitate eating samgyetang because the chicken is explicitly 'nude'.

However, samgyetang is a very healthy food and a good alternative for people who don't like deep-fried or roasted chicken or spicy chicken soup :)

I'm not a big fan of samgyetang, but I usually think of having samgyetang for lunch in summer when it is a blazing hot day or when I'm exhausted.

One of the great things about samgyetang is that you can eat another dish which is chicken porridge (this is why Koreans fill the insides of chicken with sticky rice when they cook samgyetang) after finishing eating the flesh of chicken.

Again, the worst and hottest summer will hit the earth. Koreans will somehow find their way to 'conquer' or 'hide' from the summer heat, and I think I will 'conquer' the summer heat by eating a dish of hot samgyetang with my fellow comrades :)

Bon Appétit!


  1. 体にいい見たいんです。食べたら元気が出るそう!

  2. 韓国で有名なサムゲタンですねスタミナ料理って聞きました機会があれば私もぜひ食べてみたいです