[Foodie Friday] Hottest days of Korean summer & where to find the best ginseng chicken soups

Image credits
Tosokchon samgyetang (Image credits)

The 3 hottest days, Sambok (삼복) of summer are back in Korea again, with Chobok (초복) which was just over, followed by the upcoming Jungbok (중복) and Malbok (말복). On the sweltering hot days, Koreans typically eat cold food like naengmyeon and bingsu, but do you know that Koreans also enjoy a piping hot bowl of samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup)? Samgyetang is known for its health benefits and nutrition, and it is believed that it helps to combat fatigue during the hot summer days.

2015 sambok
Dates for the hottest days of Korean summer in 2015

If you happen to be in Korea during the Sambok days, do pop by a samgyetang restaurant! Here are some of the best samgyetang eateries located in Seoul:

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1) Tosokchon (토속촌)

This is the most well-known samgyetang establishment, as it is featured in many tourist guidebooks and websites. It is located near Gyeongbokgung, and it is known for being frequented by ex-President Roh Moo-hyun. Do try and visit the restaurant during non-peak hours, or be prepared to face a long queue! A typical samgyetang meal here costs around 15,000 won.

Address: Seoul, Jongro-gu, Chebu-dong, 85-1
Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM

The following 3 samgyetang restaurants are reccomended by TVN’s food program Wednesday Food Talk, as the top 3 samgyetang restaurants in Seoul. These are probably less touristy as compared to Tosokchon.

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2) Gangwonjeong (강원정)

Although the opening hours are quite short, do still come by early because once their samgyetang gets sold out, their restaurant will be closed for the day as well. A typical samgyetang meal here costs around 12,000 won.

Address: Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Wonhyoro 1 dong, 48-7
Opening hours:
11:30AM – 2PM (lunch), 5:30PM – 8:30PM (dinner); closed on first, third and fifth Sundays of each month

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3) Pyeongraeok (평래옥)

This restaurant is well-known for North Korean dishes like chogyetang, chilled chicken soup that originated from Pyeongyang. For those who can’t take the heat of eating samgyetang, this is a good alternative to try, while having a taste of North Korea at the same time! A typical chogyetang meal here costs around 12,000 won. ( a minimum order of 2 servings is required)

Address: Seoul, Jung-gu, Mareunnae-ro, 21-1
Opening hours: 11:20AM – 9:30PM (break time 3:30PM – 5PM); closed on Sundays

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4) Hosu Samgyetang (호수삼계탕)

The milky broth of the samgyetang here stands out from the other samgyetang restaurants in this list. Vegetable sides are available for free (self service), with options such as cucumber, green pepper and garlic. Take out is also available here, although I do not understand why would anyone want to have their samgyetang packed for takeaway.  A typical samgyetang meal here costs around 13,000 won.

Address: Seoul, Youngdeungpo-gu, Singil 5 dong, 342-325
Opening hours: 11AM – 9PM; closed on public holidays

During the summer season, be expected for the long lines at every samgyetang restaurant, especially during peak hours!

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Article by: Zhen Zhen @ KAvenyou.com

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