Land or sea, choose a healthy summer dish wisely
Around 220 BCE, a concept was introduced to explain the hottest days of the year. They are referred to individually as "Boknal" or collectively as "Sambok" or "the three dog days" they typically occur during the sixth and seventh months of the lunar calendar. The first dog day of 2021, known as "Chobok," falls on July 11, "Jungbok," the second or middle dog day, is July 21 and the last dog day or "Malbok" is Aug. 10. Some believe the highest temperatures are between the second and third dog days.
Two popular healthy Korean summer dishes are samgyetang (boiled chicken and ginseng soup) and gomjangeo (hagfish). Here are some hot spots to cool down with some deliciously healthy food.
▲ This popular dish usually includes a hearty serving of ginseng, a traditional Korean herb.(left)
▲ Scoop a healthy serving onto a plate to enjoy all the the nutrients hagfish has to offer.(right)
▲ Stay healthy with this traditionally dish.
Samgyetang - restorative chicken soup
Samgyetang is a boiled soup dish containing an entire chicken accompanied with ginseng, garlic, jujubes, chestnuts and sticky rice. This chicken and rice combination creates a complete meal. In Busan, some even add seafood to the pot to create an even healthier dish.
■ Jonggwan Bae's Dongnae Samgyetang (배종관 동래삼계탕)
A newly remodeled two-story samgyetang restaurant has grown in popularity due to its 1980s feel. Only two items are served, samgyetang and gungjungyakgyetang (royal sam-gyetang with medicinal herbs). As opposed to the original dish, gungju-ngyakgyetang is known for having an abundance of healthy herbal ingredients with medicinal properties. Take a seat and enjoy a large bowl of boiling samgyetang for 16,000 won or gungjungyakgyetang for 18,000 won.
◎ Phone: 051-555-2464
◎ How to get there: Suan Station (metro line 4), exit 5. Walk straight five minutes. Enter the alley near Cheongmyeong Pharmacy at the five-way intersection. It is on the right.
■ Otbada Jeonbok Samgyetang (옻바다 전복 삼계탕)
Located in Yeonsan-dong (neigh-borhood), near Busan City Hall, you can find Otbada Jeonbok Samgyetang, a restaurant specializing in samgy-etang. The most popular menu items among local office workers include jeonboksamgyetang (abalone and ginseng chicken soup) and otsamgyetang (ginseng chicken soup with Chinese lacquer tree bark). Abalone is a large marine mollusk, recognized for its low fat and high protein content. Another healthy ingredient is Chinese lacquer tree bark, which has been known to increase stamina. Have a taste of samgyetang for 13,000 won or dig into some otsamgyetang for 15,000 won.
◎ Phone: 051-862-3307
◎ How to get there: Yeonsan Station (metro line 1), exit 2, next to Nonghyup Bank.
▲ Grilled hagfish is the perfect size for dipping. (Source: Moon Jinwoo)
Gomjangeo - a uniquely healthy fish dish
Gomjangeo, or hagfish, is one of the most unique fish Busanites enjoy. At first glance, they look similar to eels, but they are completely different in that they do not have eyes nor jaws. Due to its bizarre appearance, many visitors are hesitant to try it. However, it is rich in vitamin A and protein and is commonly served grilled with a choice of spicy sauce or salt. The best places around town to check out these healthy grilled dishes are at Jagalchi Market, Dongnae Market or Haeundae Market.
■ Original Bonga Gomjangeo (원조 본가 산 곰장어)
The most famous hagfish restaurant in Dongnae Market, and arguably one of the best places to enjoy hagfish with your friends, is Original Bonga Gomjangeo. Sought-after menu items include the salted grilled hagfish and the grilled hagfish with spicy sauce. The latter is more popular due to the complementary taste of the sauce and the fish. After all the hagfish are sold out, they close. So, despite their schedule, the earlier you arrive, the better. Prices range from 30,000 won for two servings to 70,000 won for more than four servings.
◎ Phone: 051-533-8377
◎ How to get there: About a 5-minute walk from Suan Station (metro line 4), exit 7.
■ Famous Gijang Gomjangeo (이름난 기장 산 곰장어)
In front of Haeundae Beach and inside Haeundae Market, there are several grilled hagfish restaurants. The walls of these popular places often pay homage to the celebrities, who flock there during the Busan International Film Festival, with autographs on display. This locale is one of the most famous hagfish restaurants because of the unique way this dish is cooked. Hagfish is grilled on a pan covered in foil and seasoned with spicy paste. You can add rice or udon noodles to any remaining spicy paste for a delectable side dish.
If spice isn't your thing or you'd like simply like to try hagfish's unique texture without the bite, you can choose salty seasoned hagfish instead. The price is the same with spicy ones. An extra-large set is 55,000 won, a large set is 45,000 won, a medium set is 35,000 won and a small set is 25,000 won.
◎ Phone: 051-742-8201
◎ How to get there: Haeundae Station (metro line 2), exit 3. Walk straight for about 7 minutes.