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Asia eats, korea eats

july 24: samgyetang fever

Once church service was over, my mom, my sister and I went to InSaDong again to pick up something that my mom had ordered from one of the vendors. It was kind of weird that even though this was our 2nd time here, there were still so many things to see because there are different people that come out on different days.


street view: busy even though it's a sunday.

a hanbok-wearing lady making traditional korean snacks. i think she was a little camera-shy..

like dragon-beards, turkish ice cream is all the rage in insadong, not just as a food, but as a form of street entertainment. it's really thick and sticky, almost like taffy.

a huge slab of korean-style candy. the candy is actually scraped off into shavings when it's bought.

a man selling hand-carved wooden utensils and toys

huge pile of korean puffed-rice snacks. i want...

At one of the many toy kiosks, we saw a lady selling the coolest rubber ball things. You really have to see it in action to appreciate how great this toy is, but hopefully you can kind of get an idea what these things do by looking at the pictures.

a golden pig; you splat it onto the ground, and watch as it magically wiggles itself back into shapec



After ogling at everything (especially these rubber-magic-animal things), my mom noticed we were running a little late. We rushed back to the subway station and headed to KyungBokGoong where we met up with my grandparents. My grandpa was taking us to a samgyetang restaurant that’s known to be the best in Seoul.

toh sok chon samgyetang restaurant

Even though samgyetang is the Korean version of chicken soup, it’s actually considered a summer dish and most often eaten on midsummer. Although it wasn’t as bad as it was on ChoBok (this place is so legit, it was even on the news for the crazy amount of people waiting in line waiting to eat its samgyetang on midsummer last week), the place was still packed and the line was loooong.

the line goes on and on..

stretching around the restaurant and wrapping around another building

my family, waiting on the slowly moving line

It was so hot; everyone was sweating and fanning themselves, trying to keep cool under their parasols. There were some families who actually gave up and left to find another restaurant, which left gaping holes in the line and helped it move along faster. We were seated earlier than I expected – my family stood in line for 40 minutes before we got a table.

the end is in sight...

It turns out this place is huge; it’s actually a huge restaurant complex linked by an indoor courtyard. TohSokChon Samgyetang Restaurant started off as one building, but with business booming, it eventually began to take over the surrounding buildings one by one and eventually became the giant chicken house it is now. Because of its size, there’s a fairly large amount of people moving out of the restaurant as well as moving in.

one of the many dining rooms, packed to bursting with hungry customers

Although we were seated after 40 minutes, I’d say the food didn’t come out until 20 minutes later – so in total we waited almost an hour for this samgyetang. Was I hungry? Yes. But was it totally worth it? HECK YEAH.

the many ingredients that go into this samgyetang: chicken, ginseng, jujubes, pine and gingko nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger, and more. plus there are 3 secret ingredients.

really strong and garlicky kimchi, so you can actually almost season your samgyetang with it

barley tea and ginseng alcohol were served as refreshments. the alcohol is almost downed like a medicine - it helps aid digestion.

the samgyetang - this is how koreans do chicken noodle soup.

Because it’s made with such healthy, medicinal ingredients samgyetang actually thought to help energize the body during the exhausting summer season. As they say, you fight fire with fire.

a whole chicken, stuffed with rice, chestnuts, jujubes, ginseng, and other ingredients is served in a hearty broth

This was without doubt the best samgyetang I’ve ever eaten. It was more spice-y than the other ones I’ve had, with strong ginseng, jujube and ginger flavor. But that just made it all the more heartier and warmer; plus this broth was a lot more chicken-ier than the others ones I’ve had.

the chicken is killed after exactly 49 days, so it's extremely tender, albeit on the small side

huge pieces of ginseng were stuffed into these chickens. they're bitter, but give the samgyetang a very distinct, warming, delicious flavor


they use a special type of rice so that when you're done with the chicken, the rice and broth mix to almost become a porridge. it's very yummy and filling.

calynn approves of this samgyetang.

she slurped every last drop out of her bowl... amazing...

because it's a whole chicken, you have to pick out the bones as you go. a bowl serves as a bone trash-can.

We were all stuffed after our lunch, but this gave our stomaches something to do on the hour and a half subway ride back home. Because of the unbearable heat, we each had a popsicle when we got home.

my home-made, red-bean popsicle. yum.

With that huge lunch, all I could really fit into my stomach for dinner were a few vegetable and fruits. So that’s exactly what I ate while watching Korean variety shows. Ah, those crack me up. The variety shows, not the veggies.

So that’s it for today, but I actually won’t be updating for a while because I’m leaving tomorrow for a 3 day trip to a music camp I’m volunteering for. I know it’s sad, but I’m designated photographer so when I get back I’ll hopefully have tons of pictures for you guys.

Enjoy your summer and stay cool!



One thought on “july 24: samgyetang fever

  1. That popsicle…looks like a…..LOL.

    Posted by euna | July 25, 2010, 10:56 am

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