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Tosokchon Ginseng Chicken Soup 土俗村參雞湯 토속촌삼계탕
Address: 85-1 Chebu-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: (02) 737-7444
On a particularly chilly Spring day in Seoul, we bundled up and headed over to Tosokchon, a wildly popular samgyetang specialty restaurant close to Gyeongbokgung (경복궁/景福宮). As we tracked across the city in the cold Spring air, it’s most accurate to say that there was nothing on our minds other than steaming hot stone pots of soul-warming ginseng chicken soup.
Tosokchon Ginseng Chicken Soup
There was already a line forming outside Tosokchon even though we arrived early at 11:00am, a clear sign of how popular this restaurant is.
It’s clear that Tosokchon receives a lot of Chinese and Japanese tourists. Our waitress spoke perfect Mandarin and shoved us a Chinese menu before hustling to tend to other Chinese-speaking patrons. There were definitely a few waitresses who were well-versed in Japanese, though I’m not sure if any were dedicated to the Englishs-speaking crowd.
The meal started off with kimchi and a shot of ginseng liquor, which I put aside after just one sip as the ginseng flavor was too intense for me. On the contrary, the signature ginseng chicken soup (14,000w) had a much more subdued ginseng flavor, making it a more easily accepted dish for everyone.
Ginseng Chicken Soup, 13,000w
Bathing in the rich, milky broth was a whole young chicken stuffed with sticky rice, ginseng, jujubes, and garnished with scallions and sunflower seeds. The chicken itself, cooked so tender that the meat was barely hanging on to its bones, was very light in flavor and perfect when dipped in the accompanying salt and pepper. The sticky rice, having completely soaked up the flavors from the broth, was also immensely satiating.
Ginseng Chicken Soup
Samgyetang might not be suitable for everyone due to the medicinal-tasting ginseng. However, if you can stand or have even acquired a liking for this unique flavor, Tosokchon is worth the visit. This restaurant is located only ten minutes away from Gyeongbokgung (경복궁/景福宮), so why not make that your lunch spot before paying homage to the historical palace?
To get there: Take Line 3, get off at Gyeongbokgung station, and go out from exit 2. Walk 120 meter towards Hyoja-dong direction, and make a left at GS25.