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Korean chicken soup-Samgyetang-01.jpg
Place of origin Korea
Main ingredient(s) Chicken, Korean ginseng
Hangul 삼계탕 / 계삼탕
Hanja / 鷄蔘湯
Revised Romanization samgyetang / gyesamtang
McCune–Reischauer samgyet'ang / kyesamt'ang

Samgyetang (Korean pronunciation: [sʰamɡjetʰaŋ]) is a variety of guk 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.[1] 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.

Preparation and serving[edit]

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. Depending on the recipe, other medicinal herbs such as Astragalus propinquus (hwanggi), wolfberry (gugija), Codonopsis pilosula (dangsam), and Angelica sinensis (danggwi) may also be added.[2]

Like chicken soup, which is thought to help common sicknesses in the West, it is widely believed in Korea that samgyetang can both cure and prevent physical ailments. Proteins, minerals, and hormones from the whole chicken mixed with the beneficial properties of the ingredients combined in the dish makes it a revered culinary item in South Korea. Only whole uncut ingredients are used for the dish, as they are believed to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients.[3][4]

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. Food with high nutrient content is eaten to regain the loss of stamina in the summer heat, and samgyetang is a favorite dish.[5]

There are specialty restaurants in South Korea that serve nothing but samgyetang, having gained local popularity through their special recipe for the dish which are often kept secret. The dish is usually accompanied by side dishes and, in some restaurants, a small complimentary bottle of insamju (ginseng wine).[6][7]


In Cantonese it is translated as 'Yun Sum Gai Tong'. In Chinese culture, similar to Korean culture, it is believed that this soup can prevent illness. The one main difference is that in Chinese culture, ginseng is not consumed when one is sick because it is believed that the ginseng will trap the sickness within the person.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Samgyetang (삼계탕)" (in Korean /English). Nate Korean-English Dictionary. 
  2. ^ (Korean) Samgyetang at Doosan Encyclopedia
  3. ^ (Korean) Samgyetang at Encyclopedia of Korean Culture
  4. ^ (Korean) Nutritious samgyetang, Naeil News, 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  5. ^ (Korean) Boknal at Encyclopedia of Korean Culture
  6. ^ (Korean) Taste, this taste, Sports Khan, 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  7. ^ (Korean) Nutritious foods of summer and wine, Maekyung, 2009-07-07.Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  8. ^ Derek Chan, "Dining for Two" retrieved Jan 14 2012. (