Seoul Travel – Ginseng chicken (삼계탕) is infamous in Korea, and the Koreans’ love for chicken is well documented. We’ve talked about Jjimdak 찜닭, which is basically a braised chicken dish. There is also the myriad of fried chicken brands for you to indulge in. However, have you heard about Dakhanmari 닭한마리, which literally translates to one chicken? It’s a simple dish as its name – you take a whole chicken, boil it with vegetables and seasoning.
We did some research and proceeded to the Dakhanmari (one chicken) Alley in Dongdaemun, where there are multiple restaurants selling this dish. The most popular one (or at least we assume judging from the queues) being Jinokwha Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari 진옥화할매원조닭한마리. Being popular has its downside, as there would be a minimum order or 1 chicken for every 2 customers (children inclusive). The chicken is not huge, so the portion do not appear to be quite ridiculous. This restaurant is famous among the locals since they first opened its doors in 1978 and has continued to be a much-loved restaurant on Jongno 5-ga for the past 30 years.
The chicken is cooked in Dakbaeksuk (chicken stew) whose recipe and ingredients are similar to Samgyetang and boiled with garlic. While Samgyetang is made with ginseng, various herbs, chestnuts, Dakbaeksuk consists of simpler ingredients, such as chicken, water, and garlic.
At first look, the chicken is served with some potato stuffed in it, as well as spring onions. The perception was “it looks bland”. The chicken literally cooks in front of you, and for about 10 minutes before you get to savour the taste. It is good for sharing unlike Samgyetang, and the soup is deliciously savoury in flavour that is contrasting to the Ginseng taste in Samgyetang.
This offers a different choice for chicken lovers, who finds fried chicken too sinful or the Ginseng flavour too overpowering. For a first timer, we found it surprisingly delicious (especially the soup). The meat is tender, topped with the special chilli sauce (whether you put it on the chicken or stir it into the soup), it presents a different colour to the dish. However, we do have to mention that each chicken is ₩22,000, and the price is going to increase to ₩25,000 from January 2020 onwards.
If you get a chance to try it, let us know what you think.
Jinok-Hwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari 진옥화할매원조닭한마리
📍265-22, Jongno 5ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 종로구 종로5가 265-22
🕐1030hrs – 0100hrs (Last Order 2330hrs)