Samgyetang is quite possibly one of Korea's most interesting soups. While the flavor is very reminiscent of chicken soup (no wonder, there's chicken in it), the fact that it contains a WHOLE chicken is a bit unusual. And while normally soup is the LAST thing anyone wants to eat during the summer, samgyetang is often eaten on the hottest days of the summer!
This is a very simple soup. It's primarily made up of a young chicken (whole) that is filled with rice and then cooked in a broth of ginseng, ginger, garlic, etc. Very simple, but the ingredients combine to make one of the most delicious chicken soups I've ever had. The level of salt is just right, and when supplemented with sticky rice provides a surprisingly filling meal.
It's usually served during the 3 hottest (and usually the wettest) times of summer Chobok, Jungbok, and Malbok. Koreans believe that samgyetang invigorates the body and senses and that if restores the nutrients that your body has lost in the draining summer heat. Another popular food to serve during this time is watermelon, so often times as a follow-up to the meal, you might enjoy a slice or two of watermelon (which, in my opinion, is never a bad thing).
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Samgyetang is a variety of guk or 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.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.