Must Try Ginseng Chicken Soup Korea. Looking for Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang) restaurant in Seoul? I had mine at this restaurant called “The First Korea Ginseng Chicken Soup” somewhere near City Hall Subway Station. (Route from City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 10. Walk straight for about 100 m and you should arrive at this restaurant on your the right – see google maps below this article).
What is in Samgyetang? Samgyetang primarily consist of a whole young chicken filled with garlic and rice, scallion and spices, and most importantly Korean ginseng. Excited?
Now, hold you horses! Before you start galloping there, I wish to share my opinion regarding this. Well, I was at this restaurant the very 1st day of the start of my Seoul, Korea trip. Ginseng Chicken soup is in my 1st agenda of my itinerary because it is one of a kind dish in Korea and a very famous dish that every tourist must try. Of course, there are many restaurants that sells this dish but to find the best one is not an easy task. Furthermore, prices are ranged from KRW7,500 to KRW 20,000 (that’s a vast difference in numbers) between restaurant to restaurant.
What I had in this place is the one that cost KRW15,000 for a bowl of original Ginseng Chicken Soup. Apart from this dish, I also ordered myself a fried chicken and a bowl of abalone porridge. As usual in Korea, all main dish always comes with usually 3 side snacks like Kimchi, etc. Mine came with 2 plates of Kimchi and 1 a small cup of Ginseng wine. You can drink the wine separately or you can mix into the Ginseng soup. I would advise you NOT to mix into the soup so you are able to taste the originality of the soup.
How did I eat my chicken? Firstly, I will separate the chicken into a separate plate (be careful as there are rice inside the chicken). Once I have separated the chicken and rice, I dig in a piece of chicken with some rice and then mix with a bit of soup then take a mouthful. I would also help myself with another spoon of soup. I found it very yummy this way *chuckle*. The soup stays hot in the stone pot. Always finish the whole chicken, rice and soup. Slurp it until it is dry. Well, I finished everything except the ginseng. The soup is filled with mild ginseng taste so it is good enough for me. Korean ginseng doesn’t have very strong flavor / taste as compared to those comes from China.
I was quite satisfied with the soup taste and all but I am not happy with the waiter’s service The waiters are not very friendly and quite rude. Maybe because they are very busy but I still feel they must be customer friendly. The plus sign is that the Captain (head waiter) is quite helpful and he is the only person I can rely on for some help.
My verdict of my experience:
Price: KRW 15,000.
Portion: Good for single person
Pros: The soup base taste really good with visible ginseng pieces in the soup (those ginseng big enough to be seen). Ginseng is mild therefore making the soup soft and easy to drink. Comes with ginseng wine that helps with the digestion.
Cons: Price on the high side (pricey). Waiters are not friendly but on the plus, the captain is helpful.
It is still a MUST-TRY recommendation. Go early to avoid waiting as the shop is small. This restaurant is a small double storey shop with downstairs for caters to walk-in customers and upstairs mainly for larger group booking.
Side dishes with a cup of ginseng wine.
Google Maps Location:
The shop photo in case you missed it.