Coming up in about ten days is 중복 jung bok, followed 10 days later by the last of the dog days, 복말 bok mal. These were the three days for eating dog meat, especially in the form of 보신탕 boshintang, dog meat stew. Click here for some pictures of boshintang on Daum (popular Korean search engine). While there are still plenty of boshintang restaurants in Seoul, it is fair to say this dish has lost popularity in recent years.
Many Koreans eat 삼계탕 samgyetang, ginseng chicken stew, during this time. They have large supplies of heat-and-eat or boil-in-bag styles at my local E-Mart:
The key ingredients are:
- cooked sweet rice
- ginseng root
- Chinese date
So I made some from the more expensive pre-made packet. Frankly, it doesn't look like much, but it is quite tasty:
Koreans like to eat hot (temperature-wise) foods during this hottest part of the year. Why? Well, I found one explanation at Seoul City Blog:
Why do Koreans enjoy ‘Samgyetang,’ a warm dish, especially in the summertime? According to oriental medicine, the external (skin) temperature gets heated and sweats as the temperature goes up, however the internal (organ) gets cold on the contrary. So, if people have only cold food, it can cause an imbalance of the circulation of the body and negatively affect one’s health. Therefore, according to oriental medicine, it is important to make sure your body circulation is balanced and warm through having warm foods, when your external temperature is high. In that sense, chicken and Ginseng are granted to have warm feature and they are relatively cheap to buy and easy to cook, compared with other foods for health. That’s why ‘Samgyetang’ is the most desirable in summer.
You knew it had to be something like that.