Wednesday, July 14: One sultry summer evening, my Korean friend Julie Moon takes me out with her children to eat the miraculous chicken soup known as samgyetang.

Samgyetang is a Korean soup, which primarily consists of a whole young chicken and Korean ginseng. The dish’s name literally translates as “‘ginseng chicken soup” in English.  It is believed that this soup can cure and prevent illness or physical ailments.  Samgyetang is traditionally served in the summer for its supposed nutrients, which replaces those lost through excessive sweating and physical exertion during the hot summers in Korea.

eating samgye tang with Julie and her children

To make samgyetang, a whole young chicken is stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in a broth of Korean ginseng, dried seeded jujube fruits, garlic and ginger.  Other medicinal herbs may also be added.

Many Koreans enjoy it on three specific days in summer: “Chobok” (초복), “Jungbok” (중복), and “Malbok” (말복), which Koreans believe to be the hottest and most sultry of the year. (Wikipedia: Samgyetang)

Julie and her son at the restaurant

Julie and her son at the restaurant

Julie and her two children

Julie and her two children

Julie's daughter and me

Julie’s daughter and me

accompaniments to samgyetang

accompaniments to samgyetang

I have to say I can’t admit to feeling miraculously healthier after eating this soup, but maybe since my health is generally good anyway, it doesn’t make a noticeable difference! 🙂

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