During the intense Summer heat, Koreans seek out boyangsik, nutrient-dense meals, to replenish their energy for the dog days of summer. On the three hottest days, long queues form at popular samgyetang eateries, and it is not uncommon for many to close earlier than usual, having sold out.
In addition to samgyetang, there are additional boyangsik meals that assist people beat the summer heat, such as a hot bowl of chicken soup with ginseng and glutinous rice-stuffed whole chicken. Fish foods considered to be tonic for the body include chueotang (loach soup), mineojjim (steamed Chinese drum fish), and jangeogui (grilled eel).
People wait in line on jungbok, July 26, at a samgyetang restaurant in Seoul. (Yonhap) On jungbok, July 26, people wait in line at a samgyetang restaurant in Seoul. (Yonhap) “According to ‘Donguibogam’ (a medical book authored by royal physician Heo Jun in 1610), mineo has a warm temperature, thus it provides energy to our intestines, which are likely to get colder during the summer,”.
Kang noted that the body’s temperature decreases during the summer due to an increase in the consumption of cold foods and exposure to air conditioning, resulting in an imbalance between the body’s temperature and the ambient temperature.
Kang claims that constitution-based medicine focuses on the temperature of the dish’s primary ingredient.
“In the case of chueotang, chueo has no fixed temperature, therefore it is beneficial regardless of body type or season. Additionally, Chueo is rich in calcium, vitamins A and D, which boost the immune system. According to historical records, our ancestors liked chueotang in both the summer and winter.
The last boknal of the year, malbok, falls on August 15 this year. Here are two eateries in Seoul that serve boyangsik cuisine.
Neungibeoseot Baeksuk Samgyetang
This chicken soup does not contain ginseng despite its name, which means ginseng and chicken soup. In addition, the glutinous rice stuffing is absent.
The broth is made using dried neungi mushrooms, and the meal is garnished with chopped green onions and Korean chives.
The neungi samgyetang begins with the aroma of sweet and savory mushrooms. As you consume the chicken, however, the flavor of the meat naturally blends into the soup, thickening the broth.
There is a little bowl of roasted sea salt for dipping tender and chewy chicken pieces. The chicken soup is served alongside a bowl of sticky rice.
According to the management of the restaurant, this prevents sticky rice from getting overly moist. It also allows customers to consume the rice according to their preferences, whether by itself with various side dishes or by adding it to soup.
Those who make reservations during the week receive a complementary glass of wild ginseng wine to begin their dinner.
The price of Neungi Samgyetang is 15,000 won, while the price of Neungi Duck Baeksuk for three or four people is 65,000 won.
Yejeon Myeongga, a restaurant specializing in mineo, is located on the first alley to the right of Euljiro 3-ga Station Exit No. 1.
Spicy and non-spicy variants of mineohoe (raw mineo), mineojjim (steamed marinated mineo), and mineotang (mineo soup) are featured on the menu.
“Our raw mineo originates from Mokpo in South Jeolla Province, and our semi-dried mineo for mineojjim comes from Gangjin,” the head chef of Yejeon Myeongga told The Korea Herald.
The chef said that because mineo is a warm current fish, raw mineo tastes best during the summer, often between July and mid-August, although mineo dried in the natural ocean wind can be eaten year-round.
The texture of mineojjim, which is topped with julienned onion and red and green pepper as garnishes, is comparable to that of steamed sea bass.
The mineojjim requires more time to cook, therefore customers who wish to order it should phone the restaurant 20 minutes prior to their arrival. Both mineojjim and mineotang cost 25,000 won for lunch.
It’s fascinating that South Korea, one of the most populated countries in the world, only supplies 7% of the world’s iron, and 1% of the world’s copper. This serious deficit, combined with rapid population growth, helps to explain their “Vitamin D Problem”. It then stands to reason why South Korean residents are opting for these nutrient rich foods in place of other types.