The Best Samgyetang In Seoul | Ginseng Chicken Soup Restaurant
In English there is an idiom, “Fight Fire With Fire”. When it comes to food this is quite an interesting idea. During Korean summers is always humid and hot, especially in July and August. Even though it is hot weather, Koreans love to eat certain kinds of hot food. Chicken soup or Samgyetang is one of them. Once you try this amazing food during summer, you will understand why Koreans love to taste this food during the hottest days of the year. Read on to find out about the best samgyetang in Seoul!
- Things To Know Before Visiting Seoul
- What is Korean Chicken Soup?
- The Best Samgyetang In Seoul
- Cooking Classes In Seoul
- Make Korean Chicken Ginseng Soup At Home
Things To Know Before Visiting Seoul
- Foreigner Discounts In Restaurants: There are quite some restaurants in Seoul that offer special discounts for foreigner visitors if a reservation is made online. Find discounts on the package website Klook, they have a wide selection of restaurants.
- Restaurant Reviews: If you want discover more Korean food reviews check out my articles about Korean food and about restaurants in Seoul.
What is Korean Chicken Soup?
The origin of Korean chicken soup dates back to the era of The Three Kingdoms (4 BC). The traditional Korean boiled chicken soup is quite different from the soup we know today. As they used to boil one entire chicken without adding seasoning.
During the Japanese occupation in Korea, certain Korean noble families started putting ginseng inside the boiled chicken. In 1950 the first chicken soup restaurant opens in Seoul. Back then is was called 계삼탕(Gyesamtang)”. This is the soup as we know today. In 1960, the name of the chicken soup changed “계삼탕(Gyesamtang)” to “삼계탕(Samgyetang)” and became on of the most famous dishes in Korea. Nowadays, the restaurants serve this food in special small bowl and they grow the chicken to fit perfectly inside the bowl. Before boiling the chicken, glutinous rice, a chestnut, a Korean dried date and ginseng are put inside and then cooked on a low fire for a long time. When served the chicken meat can easily be torn from the bone.
On the three traditional hottest days of the summer (based on the lunar calendar) Korean locals are drawn to the samgyetang restaurants all across Korea. It is believed that eating this hot chicken soup filled with high calories will restore all the nutrients lost from sweating during the humid hot summers.
The Best Samgyetang In Seoul
Since 1960, in Korea there are plenty of chicken soup restaurants. Some restaurants add dried Korean medical herbs to the soup which should help the older generation. Some add abalone to make the flavour more intense. And other restaurants focus on using better quality chickens. Below you can see a list of the 5 best samgyetang restaurants in Seoul.
Eating tip! The soup will be far too hot to eat when just served. So tear the chicken apart and let pieces of chicken cool down in a separate dish before it. Try adding salt and pepper, or even kimchi juice if you would like it to be spicy.
1. Tosokchon Samgyetang Seoul (토속촌 삼계탕)
Tosokchon Samgyetang in a traditional Hanok style is located just beside the Gyeongbokgung palace area. It is an easy to find restaurant with lots of small rooms which make it feel more homey. This is one of the most famous Korean soup restaurants in Seoul and is a must visit when in Seoul.
This restaurants adds chestnuts into the soup which you can easily smell when freshly served. Tosokchong Samgyetang also serves a small cup of Insamju (Ginseng Liquor) before the meal.
Address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Price: 16,000 KRW
Opening times: 10:00 AM – 22:00 PM
Check more info: here
2. Goryeo Samgyetang (고려삼계탕)
This is the oldest Korean chicken soup restaurant in Korea. They opened this restaurant in 1960. It is also one of the recommended Michelin guide restaurants in Seoul.
The classic samgyetang served in a typical chicken soup bowl is the one to order when coming to this restaurant. Ingredients used in the soup are ginseng, garlic, dates and traditional herbs. All samgyetang dishes are served with a ginseng shot. Other varieties of the classic soup have abalone or wild ginseng added to the soup.
Address: 1 Seosomun-ro 11-gil, Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
Price: 16,000 – 22,000 KRW
Opening times: 10:00 AM – 21:00 PM
Check more info: here
3. Gang-Wonjeong (강원정)
This restaurant was opened in 1978 by an old North Korean woman. The restaurant is well known for having its own unique recipe as the chicken is filled with sweet rice, dates, chestnuts, ginkgo nuts, ginseng, and whole garlic cloves and garnished with shredded spring onions, sunflower seeds, and black sesame seeds. Gang-Wonjeong uses chickens that are at least 50 days old.
Address: 13-10 Wonhyo-ro 89-gil, Wonhyoro 1(il)-ga,Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Price: 14,000 KRW
Opening times: 11:30 AM – 20:30 PM break time 15:00 PM to 17:00 PM
4. Hosu Samgyetang (호수 삼계탕)
Comparing with the other chicken soup restaurants, the soup they serve is more like ginseng chicken stew or porridge. Of course, you can still taste the whole chicken but because perilla seed powder and glutinous rice powder were added, the soup is much thicker. The perilla seed samgyetang is the only dish on the menu, so no need to worry about what to order. Along with the porridge, fresh peppers and cucumbers are served.
This soup is so special and famous that there are 2 chains in located in Seoul, one in Yeongdeungpo and the other in the Gangnam area.
Address: 342-325, Singil-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Price: 15,000 KRW
Opening times: 11:00 AM – 21:30 PM (Last Order at 21:00 PM)
Check more info: here
5. Baekje Samgyetang (백제 삼계탕)
In Baekje Samgyetang the soup is also served with a shot of ginseng liquor. You can either choose to drink the shot or to put it in the soup. This restaurant is the go to place for anyone who wants to taste a strong ginseng flavour.
As the restaurant is located in Myeongdong it is more popular for foreign visitors than the other restaurants. It has also been featured in various television programs, books and magazines. 80% of the customers visiting this restaurant are travelers from Japan or China.
Address: 30-1 Myeongdong-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Price: 15,000 KRW
Opening times: 9:00 AM – 22:00 PM
Check more info: here
Cooking Classes In Seoul
Don’t just want to visit a restaurant and eat yummy Samgyetang? Why not book a cooking class and learn how to cook Samgyetang so you can prepare it back home. Listed below are some classes which focus on preparing Samgyetang in Seoul. There is also a selection of cooking classes which make other dishes.
Learn how to make yummy Samgyetang during a cooking class at one of the venues listed below.
1.1 Hongdae Cooking Class
Trazy offers special evening cooking classes near Hongdae station. During the 3 hours class you will learn how to make samgyetang and kimchi. Upon finishing the cooking class you’ll visit a local traditional market with the teacher. Check more prices and info here.
1.2 Gangnam Cooking Class
The 4-5 hour cooking class at Janet’s cooking studio in Gangnam is much more than just a cooking class. Together with Janet you’ll visit a local market to get the right ingredients for the dish you will be cooking that day. Make sure to request what you would like to learn in advance. Check more prices and info here.
2. Make Other Dishes
Instead of learning to make Samgyetang, why not venture out and try to cook some other type of Korean dishes too?
2.1 Insadong Cooking Class
Every day there is a different dish on the menu. Monday beginner class is seafood pancake and tofu stew. Tuesday beginner class is bulgogi and kimchi. Wednesday beginner class is bibimbap and salad. Monday intermediate class is Korean BBQ. Wednesday intermediate class is temple cuisine. Check more prices here.
2.2 Myeongdong Cooking Class
2.3 Bukchon Village Cooking Class
Make Korean Chicken Ginseng Soup At Home
Don’t want to learn how to make Samgyetang in Seoul? There are many recipes out there which will teach you how to make Samgyetang at home.