It's been a long time since I wrote about trying out some new food here. The other week, after talking about having some for over a year I finally got to try out some samgyetang. For those of you who don't know, samgyetang is essentially a chicken based soup containing ginseng, rice and other ingredients. It's mostly a full chicken without the insides, boiled in broth with some vegetables and of course, ginseng.
Samgyetang is a popular dish in Korea and can be eaten all year round but is famous for being eaten by many in Summer. It is said to boost stamina during those very hot months by replacing lost nutrients that you may be sweating out. Many Koreans eat this dish at Chobok, Jungbok, and Malbok. Chobok traditionally represents what is thought to be the first really hot day of the year, Junbok the peak and Malbok the ending of the intense Korean Summer.
I can't say for sure if it did boost my stamina but the first thing I noticed when I walked into one famous place in down town Daegu was the smell. The aroma of ginseng was striking but not overbearing. It took some time to get used to it but it was never unpleasant.
The price of the meal was ₩10,000, roughly £9 and the portion was quite large, indeed I didn't manage to finish all of mine. My wife happily wolfed down all of hers though. My initial impression was that it was a little bland but after adding some much needed salt it tasted surprisingly refreshing. Of course it is always nice to have chicken soup, wherever it's from.
For me there was a little too much rice in my portion to really enjoy it fully. I like rice but this took on a consistency similar to the Korean dish juk, which is a porridge like meal. When I was ill here in 2006 I had to eat that for about five days and the memory is not so pleasant and I think this prevented me from enjoying my meal to the fullest.
Overall I would really recommend anyone here trying samgyetang. It's tasty, cheap and refreshing on a Summer day. I know I will try it again. You can learn more about samgyetang by checking out Wikipedia.