On the hottest of days, one can only imagine trying too cool down with the coldest of drinks or treats. It only makes sense to do so right? Who could imagine eating boiling hot soup to feel refreshed in the summer? However, believe it or not, the practice of consuming Korean soups in the summer is just as common as in the winter!
The thought of eating extremely hot soup in an extremely hot day sounds crazy to anyone. Mixing heat with more heat doesn’t equal cool, or does it? The idea behind this logic is that in order for you to cool down one must consume something (in this case soup) that is the same temperature as your body. This will bring your body’s temperature levels to a norm unlike when one just consumes something cold, only benefiting their stomachs instead of the rest of the body.
With that in mind, there’s one very specific soup that is eaten on the hottest of summer days and it’s called samgyetang! This boiling hot broth is made up of rice stuffed chicken, and cooked in ginseng, jujube, milk vetch root, chestnut and ginger. This isn’t your typical everyday meal. It’s believed to have medicinal benefits that help with the cooling down of your body.
This tradition goes as far back as before the Korean War, on days when there wasn’t much to each, temperatures were extremely hot, and you needed a healthy meal to get your energy levels back up. Although the chicken part of this meal only provides benefits such as protein for your body, the key component to this broth is the ginseng. Although it’s debatable whether or not ginseng has medicinal benefits, many believe it is the ingredient responsible for cooling down the body.
In the end, it only makes sense, what’s the best way to fight but with fire of course! This summer instead of lining up at the ice cream shop, find a good samgyetang restaurant! Is this one day you’d want to keep cool in the summer? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Briseida Rivera