복날 (bok nal): the dog days
It’s summer in Korea and yesterday was one of the hottest days ever (in my book) even if it wasn’t a “bok nal” or “dog days”. “Bok nal” refers to the three hottest days of summer, based on the lunar calendar. This year, the first bok nal called “cho bok” is on July 15; the second one called “jung bok” is July 25 and the last one, called “mal bok” is on August 14. On these days, Koreans prepare special food said to strengthen the bodies during those hot days.
“Boshintang/mongmongtang/yeongyangtang” or “dog stew” is eaten for the “bok nal”. Koreans believe that dog meat ensures good health during the summer days. Now, most prefer to have “samgyetang” or “ginseng chicken”, a spring chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled with ginseng roots, chestnuts, dates, garlic, onion and leeks. I just love samgyetang that I have it not only in the summer but during the cold days as well. I love eating it with newly made kimchi!
During the summer season, Koreans prepare special food to cool them down. More on this later.
Here’s a recipe for samgyetang/ginseng chicken from the koreankitchen.