Samgyetang (삼계탕) is a type of soup in Korea. It includes a whole small chicken, ginseng, jujube, garlic and spices. A friend took me to 도안동 감나무집, a restaurant behind Gapyeong Station, that serves Samgyetang on one of the Sambok 삼복 days. Sambok are the ‘hottest’ days of the year. It’s traditional to eat Samgyetang on these specific days due to all the healthy benefits of the food and to fight the heat with more heat. There are three Sambok days in summer, chobok (초복) is the first, then jungbok (중복) and lastly malbok (말복).
Persimmon Tree House was really nice. It has a long hallway and big rooms that you step up into, leaving your shoes in the hall. My friend made a reservation for us since it was a Sambok day and because Samgyetang can take awhile to make. Done correctly the chicken falls right off the bone when you pick it up with your chopsticks. The specialty of the Persimmon Tree House is the way they include rice. In Korea rice that is cooked in a stone bowl gets cripsy and it’s popular to add soup to it or make it into a snack to eat later. This restaurant adds this favorite to their Samgyetang. To me there wasn’t a lot of flavor, despite the chicken being packed with ginseng, spices, ginger and jujube. My friend and I both ended up adding extra salt to our soup, but it was nice and tender, even the jumbo piece of ginseng practically melted on my tongue.