According to the lunar calendar, this year’s three dog days (boknal) are on July 18th, 28th and August 7th. East Asian medicine suggests that our internal body temperature drops when the weather is extremely hot – meaning that it’s healthier to indulge in a steaming hot soup rather than cooling off with a bingsu. These days, chicken soup has become the dish of preference for Koreans of all ages on hot summer days.
Ginseng chicken soup (samgyetang) is a great way to sweat out all the pollution from city life, and the best place to do it may be at Seongneomeo Jib. Hidden on the mountains behind the Blue House (official residence of the South Korean president in Jongno-gu), Seongneomeo Jib specializes in chicken. Their samgyetang is a whole chicken stuffed with sticky rice, ginseng and dates, served in a rich soup. The meat is so tender it easily falls off the bone.
With a backdrop of trees and a view of the skyline, eating here is like eating in another city. The restaurant is close enough to the city center, but secluded enough to make the trip feel a bit adventurous – especially if you’re walking. Don’t forget to order Korean rice wine (makgeolli). Seongneomeo Jib also makes a mean dakdoritang (spicy braised chicken with potatoes and vegetables). Seongneomeo Jib is closed on the first and third Sundays of each month.