Cycle 4 – Item 219
12 (Mon) August 2013
at Goryeo Samgye Tang
-Seosomun, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Old Korean Restaurants that Koreans Love (Part 7 of 11) (see also OKRKL)
This project is to review restaurants featured in the book Old Korean Restaurants that Koreans Love (한국인이 사랑하는 오래된 한식당), which includes 100 restaurants (28 in Seoul) that are least 50 years old and/or have been owned by at least 3 generations.
Goryeo Samgye Tang is a Korean restaurant. According to OKRKL, it was founded in 1960, the 25th oldest restaurant listed in Seoul. Specializes in samgye tang, which it claims to have invented: supposedly, the founder’s sister-in-law was running a ginseng farm at the time, so he was inspired to add the root as both a flavor enhancer and a health booster to the ubiquitous/basic baek suk.
I call total bullshit. If true, the story would merit more than a short sentence in the book. Other sources seem to suggest that the dish’s origins, as well as the coinage of the name, are unknown – and no, no mention of Goryeo Samgye Tang as a possible progenitor. Yet another dubious origin myth from OKRKL, which seems perfectly happy to perpetuate lies without any verification.
5 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Samgye Tang:
(1) Being such a small bird – here, described in the book as a 49-day-old rooster -not much meat.
(2) What little meat there is tends to be way too soft, having been boiled for so long – here, 4 hours at various heat levels.
(3) The structural integrity of the bird crumbles into a mess of tiny bones.
(4) That lump of gloppy chapssal (glutinous rice) stuffed within, yuck.
(5) Ginseng – here, 4 years-old – yuck.
Whether invented there or not, the samgye tang was a respectable representation of the dish. The whole chicken was sweet and fall-apart tender, which I suppose might appeal to others. The chapssal was a bit too dense. The ginseng, who knows, since I didn’t touch it. The broth, the best part of the dish here, was light in texture yet rich in chicken flavor with hints of the chapssal and ginseng. The complimentary noodles on the side were nice. Not my thing personally, but well done objectively speaking. Overpriced at 14,000 won.
Today is malbok, as explained back on jungbok (4.199 Baeksuk + Juk).
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)