Culinary Culture of Korea

Traditional Dishes In Midsummer


Samgyethang, or young hen boiled with insam.

The hottest period of summer, when the sun beats down and the temperature rises, has negative effect on human health to some extent. In this season, people can easily develop such symptoms as anorexia, vertigo, or a decline of energy.

In this case, it is good to keep a healthy diet.

Nowadays, the Sinhung, Chilsong, and other restaurants in Pyongyang serve samgyethang, peppery beef soup, mung-bean soup and other dishes good for health in the hottest periods.

There is a Korean proverb that “Remedy heat with heat”, which means like cures like. In other words, hot dishes are better for health than cold ones in midsummer days when people sweat heavily and become weak.

Hot samgyethang is a kind of broth in which such materials for tonics as insam (ginseng), jujube, and glutinous rice are put into young hens before boiling them together. It is rated first in invigorating people, curing diseases and promoting health.

The Korean people have long cooked hot-peppered soup with beef, calling it peppery beef soup or spicy beef soup.

Generally, no or a little amount of red pepper is used to cook beef dishes, but the spicy beef soup makes diners’ mouth water and sweat at a mere sight of it as it is cooked by putting much powdered red pepper.

The Koreans liked to have this hot dish in hot summer even while fanning themselves to cool down their body, and it is good for invigorating energy.

The mung-bean soup has good effects on lowering body temperature and getting rid of heat.

Moreover, the addition of Japanese honeysuckle, lotus flower petals and other febrifugal and antidotal plants to the soup when it is boiled helps increase its heat-relieving effect further and treat prickly heat or boil.

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