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Watch: Ginseng Chicken Soup Is a Traditional Korean Remedy

K-Town host Matthew Kang samples soup that’s said to cure everything

The Korean peninsula was for many years an agrarian society, and much of South Korea today remains farmland. Out of this society came a tradition called sambok, celebrated three distinct, typically hot days during the summer. Each day was punctuated by the consumption of samgyetang, a traditional ginseng chicken soup that uses a whole, though small, chicken, stuffed with glutinous sweet rice, dried jujubes, garlic, and ginseng. The kicker: the soup was served piping hot, on the hottest days of the year.

It’s a strange logic, yes, but as Koreans like to say: “fight fire with fire.” Actually the logic doesn’t make much sense, but that doesn’t take away from the actual nutritional benefits of eating samgyetang. I sampled a version of the aromatic, delicious, and ultimately nutritious soup at Ssyal, one of Chicago’s most notable traditional Korean restaurants. It proves that a bowl of chicken soup will always provide the cure you need, from fatigue to flatulence.

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