Friday, June 27, 2014

Korean Chicken Soup for welcoming summer

Hi everyone,
Hope you're having an extra creative season wherever you are. Here in Korea, summer has just arrived with rising humidity and temperature. Summer in Korea is pretty brutal. Recently summer is getting longer and hotter giving me a pretty hard time. Well, I love four clearly different seasons here and I enjoy every single season. BUT, as a knitter and sewer I prefer a bit chilly weather that I can get cozy with what I knit and I don't have to worry about the heat from my iron while I am sewing and ironing. However, there are lots of fun things available in summer so I know summer shouldn’t be too bad. Today I'd like to introduce an interesting way how Koreans fight against summer heat. A purely traditional yet simply gourmet solution! Are you ready to explore?

I and my dear hubby went out for a little date. Before it gets too hot we wanted to try this incredible dish. This restaurant we are visiting today is overly famous so people have to make long line to get food but (maybe thanks to the nasty rainy weather?) today there's no line at all and we were welcomed just right away~ We passed by this traditional Korean style rooms while we were seated. My hubby always gets impressed by those scenes while I am frantically looking for seats and menus. :P

This is it! Have you ever seen this before? I know many of you like Korean food and tried out a few times or... even made some. However, I am not sure if this is familiar to you. I used to stay in New York but hadn't had any chance to find this. It is usually served in an extremely hot pot (Yes, I really love the style. I like anything served in hot pots! Don't you think food tastes better this way? Or... maybe it's just me?) Anyway, this is called 'SamGye-Tang' in Korean. "Tang" means thick soup/stew generally. 'Sam' is ginseng and 'Gye' is chicken. So now you know. This is a soup made of ginseng and chicken. The chicken is stuffed with sticky rice, a few pieces of jujube, pieces of chestnut, and a small piece of ginseng. The broth is made of chicken juice, lots of Chinese herbs and other seasonings.

Koreans believe this hot and hearty soup will protect them from the summer heat giving them good energy and stamina. Unarguably all the ingredients are purely healthy and wholesome. Maybe worst thing in the soup would be 'salt'? Anyway, it was just heavenly to me! The whole chicken was so juicy and tender. The soup was so warm and rich but not greasy at all. The sticky rice was just melting in my mouth. The kimchi beautifully complimented the gorgeous SamGye-Tang. I sweat but my stomach was dancing. Interestingly Koreans like to eat something hot during summer while enjoy something cold during winter. There is an old Korean saying: Defeat heat with heat~. Well, sounds weird but that's what generally we do here~ :) SamGye-Tang would work pretty similar to Chicken Soup in Western world. Koreans eat SamGye-Tang as prevention while Westerns eat Chicken Soup as a medicine. If you ever had a chance to find SamGye-Tang I strongly recommend you try once. Even if you haven’t done Korean food you would like it.

Here's my hubby getting extra excited about the food. His love of food never ends and he is brave enough to try something new and unfamiliar. He enjoys most of food I make. Obviously that makes my life way easier since we've been grown up such different environments and I generally cook something He's not even heard of..
We finished! Full but very pleasantly full. We were just happy looking at our empty pots and those leftover bones. We might come back for more. This is one of those fun things we can do in summer. After all, summer wouldn’t be so terrible with some yummy food and relaxing activities. 

So what's your remedy for hot/cold weather? Do you have any that work perfect when you are down or sick? Don't be shy and raise your hand~ I'd love to hear from you. Enjoy the great season and talk to you real soon.