What is Pok-nal?

It’s the first day of pok-nal today in Korea and it’s traditional to eat samgetang, chicken and ginseng soup.

samgetang, chicken and ginseng soup.

There’s a whole chicken in the soup with ginseng and glutinous rice, jujube fruit, garlic, ginger, and lots of leek. It has a mild flavour and comes with a small bowl of salt to dip pieces of chicken in.

So what’s pok-nal?

The hottest part of the summer in Korea is considered to be around mid July to the beginning of August. The first day of this hot season is called cho-bok (초복)  and it’s today, July 19th. The temperature in Seoul at the moment is 86ºF (30ºC) so not too bad, but hot enough. The middle of the hot season is chung-bok (중복) on July 29th and the end is called mal-bok (말복) on August 8th. Because it’s hot in the summer people can feel sluggish and low on energy so as this dish is full of good things, it’s supposed to make us healthy and strong during this period.

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