1. Manage My TA


The Joy of Samgyetang

solo samgyetang

solo samgyetang

solo samgyetang samgyetang  - served with some typical banchan

View Photos (2)

  • Image © 2009 Joshua Samuel Brown

Ah, samgyetang, known outside the Korean peninsula as "chicken ginseng soup." A soup in name only, the hearty samgyetang is no thin pre-meal consommé but a feast in and of itself - especially when the numerous banchan (side dishes, including, of course, kimchi) are taken into account.

A tonic for the health in both warm and cold weather (though to Koreans, more so in the former) and a mental stimulant, this amazing dish is also said to provide a libidinous boost for fun in the boudoir (or the nearest convenient facsimile thereof, usually rented in three hour blocks over in Seoul's Shincheon district).

It's also a fine hangover cure, if that's where your travels have taken you.

But what's in this magic dish? Chicken, obviously, but not just any chicken; Samgyetang calls for a whole chicken, and a young one at that, ideally just big enough to feed one. The chicken is then stuffed with glutinous rice before being boiled in a broth of ginseng (Korean ginseng, naturally; none of that Wisconsin stuff here,) garlic, ginger, and dried seeded jujube fruits.  Other medicinal herbs may find their way into the pot as well, including wolfberry (gugija in Korean) or Angelica sinensis (danggwi).

Specialty restaurants serving samgyetang abound in Korea, most boasting their own samgyetang recipe, usually originating from the chef's hometown. You'll find a few of these in Insadong, Seoul's main tourist district. Most good Korean restaurants outside of Korea will serve the dish, though sometimes (owing likely to the time involved in preparing real samgyetang) these will be pale imitations of the real thing - a chicken leg instead of a whole young chicken, that sort of thing.

Many Asian supermarkets sell pre-made samgyetang in convenient pouches (ah, heat n' eat technology,) and these are often pretty close to the real thing; you'll have to provide your own banchan and insamju (ginseng wine). Of course, you can always make the dish on your own;  Su over at IKoreanfood.blogspot has a fine recipe for the dish (using a Cornish game hen, often easier to get at your typical American supermarket than a small chicken). You can check that out at  The Korean Food Blog.

* * * * *

Published on 4/5/09

Sponsor links

Comments [1]

About Samgyetang

Contributor: davidcalleja [1,466] 5/3/09

1 of 1 people found this comment helpful.

I love this dish. It was my favourite when I lived in South Korea. You brought back some memories for me, and not just because of this food which I do miss.

In July 2007, I was on a TV show called Ring The Golden Bell, a quiz show for students filmed at a high school in Incheon. The answer I had related to this dish!

Was this comment helpful to you? Inappropriate

Add Comment

You might also be interested in

Miss India America

The Many Faces of Atonement at Cinequest 25

Celeste Heiter - cheiter [29,318]

Celebrating its 25thyear, the Cinequest Film Festival, held annually in San Jose, Calif., always offers a unique glimpse into the world of independent films on a global scale. Each year, ThingsAsian...

Destinations: India | China | Vietnam
Topics: Culture | Economy | People | Performing Arts | 20th Century History | War & Conflict
Go to the movies with Celeste...

Celeste Goes to the Movies

ThingsAsian - ta [3,710]

Film Reviews by Celeste Heiter

Destinations: Tokyo | Seoul | Vietnam | Hong Kong | Korea, S | Mumbai | India | Ho Chi Minh City | China | Thailand | Japan | Beijing | Bangkok
Topics: Performing Arts
A view by the Miyagawa River in Hida Takayama, Japan (c) Sze-Leng Tan

Miyagawa, Takayama: A Morning By the Crystal River

Sze-Leng Tan - sze-leng_tan [65]

She was impressed, amazed and fully in the flow of life. A novice traveller to Japan described her blissful morning spent in the Miyagawa morning market in Takayama.

Destinations: Japan
Topics: Culture | Food | Travel | Women & Travel | Shopping | Nature
More Stories of Interest

ThingsAsian is an Asia travel website with maps, stories, photos and travel tips contributed by a worldwide community.

©1994-2008 Global Directions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Contact webmaster@thingsasian.com

Web Design by Dayspring