March 25, 2013

Korea - Bukchon Ginseng Chicken Soup

I only had 4 full days in Seoul and everyday was jammed packed with activities. My flight arrived in the evening and I had to hang around the airport to wait for my friend to arrive 2hrs later. By the time we checked into our guesthouse, it was late and we were exhausted. This was our first meal in Korea and we were super hungry since we didn't eat anything the night before aside from airplane food. This place was actually discovered by my friend and it's known to have super long line ups. We got up early and got there around 11am, and to our surprise there were already a lot of people eating inside already. We really couldn't waste our precious time in line so we always go early to avoid lineups.

It was funny how once we are seated, the servers didn't even asked us what we wanted and just assumed we wanted to order the most original ginseng chicken soup. She actually spoke Chinese to us since it's known to have lots of Asian tourists here. She said "ginseng chicken soup? ok." We didn't even have a chance to say no, but it's okay, it was what we wanted to order anyways.

You help yourself to the banchans on the table where it was just the simple kimchi and kimchi turnips.
The wait wasn't long and our food was here! Piping hot ginseng chicken soup with sunflower seed and green onion on top. We were given a tiny cup of "I don't know what" soju? so we just left it...

You literally get a whole chicken/hen.

The hen was stuffed with delicious glutinous rice and dates. The chicken was tender and the broth was flavorful  I thought it could of used a tiny bit of salt to bring out the flavor a little more. No artificial flavor or MSG here.

There you go, a real ginseng. It didn't taste bad, but it did have a strong ginseng-y taste if you are into that.

Overall, it was really delicious but it wasn't as good as I imagined it to be. I think the salt would of really brought it up a notch.


  1. Thanks for the post!
    1) Oo that first building has their staircase OUTSIDE .. ! Was that common? also, ew snow! >_<
    2) I guess it's famous among Japanese people too, looking at the menu
    3) Soju on an empty stomach sounds like it'd be a lot of fun :D
    4) That's quite a bit of work, stuffing it with glutinous rice, and making sure it's cooked through!
    5) Note to self: always carry salt packets near JL. she's a salt monster. ;) j/k I know, chicken soup needs a bit of salt to bring out the flavour and taste "right".

    1. NO~~~~~ I'm not a salt monster=( I have really low sodium tolerance!
      Response to 1) I didn't even realize that cause I spent 1min trying to figure out what you are talking about... hahaha~ 4) the glutinous rice was the best part for me actually, it was like porridge =)yum yum!

  2. So interestingly, I'm noticing very similar outside-stairs as I'm taking the bus from Narita airport to Tokyo.

    I've never considered glutinous rice congee before. Sounds.. Gooey! Psst any food recommendations for Japan?

  3. Sam gae tang is amazing on cold nights, especially when you're half sick. Do either of you have an opinion which place in the GTA does it well?

    1. It was actually my first time having ginseng chicken soup and it so happens to be in Korea so i'm not able to recommend anything in Toronto. I would think nothing is comparable due to the supply of ginseng here??? I could be wrong.