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July 20th, 2010


I’m having a great time exploring Korean cuisine lately. In doing so, I’ve been Googling a lot of restaurants. I came across the website for Keumsan Samgyetang, a restaurant that began in Korea and has since moved over here. They specialize in Samgyetang, a kind of soup made with whole young chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in ginseng and other junk.

Now, you could always just go to the website yourself, but I’d really like to point out a couple of things.

A good place to start is the menu bar across the top, which includes such categories as “Keumsan Story,” “Delicious Service,” and “Know How.” Keumsan Story tells the reader about the Taste of Samgyetang, and how the recipe came to be. The “legendary taste handed down for 20 years” is the result of “endless trials to keep the taste of Samgyetang. While running the business of chickens for 15 years,” the site continues, “to pray for the repose of mercilessly sacrificed chickens’ souls and to bloom of their youth, we will keep developing the better taste.” Appetizing, no? The story goes on…

“I have given so much torment to chickens. I have burnt over 300 chickens before,” confesses the chef. But he’s confident that Samgyetang is what he was put on this earth for and wants to pass down its secrets to his son. But: “I don’t know whether he really likes this job or he is just thinking this job position as his escape from studying. Anyhow, I am cool there is someone who wants to inherit mrecipe.” And we, dear chef, are cool that you are telling us so much about the world of boiled chickens! For further reading, I recommend you check out the bottom of the page, which explains how the two primary menu items are made. (Hint: One involves a green marsh snail that can cure your liver.)

The Delicious Service section lists the menu items (the aforementioned stews, as well as fried gizzard, spicy marsh snail sashimi, and the ever-popular “chicken cooked in an electric oven” to name a few) and explains the delivery service (“Picnics, Sports meetings, or any events, you are more than welcome.”) It is here that we also get some insight into the ingredient selection process. “It is difficult to choose delicious chickens weighing of about 420g with tender and juicy meat since they are rare,” the Chef explains. “We use chickens … making no more than 20 eggs per month. … On behalf of a farm, they must be just useless beings for the farm since they cannot make enough eggs.” I take this to mean that, while they don’t want to rob the farmer of good egg-producing stock, they have no problem abusing the “useless” chickens by insulting them before they hack them up and boil them. How bold, Korea.

But the two highlights of this section are easily: “If Korea gets united, I will deliver to the top of Mt. Baekdu!” (Here’s hopin’, man!) and the 10% discount offered on “Chicken’s Day.” Whatever that is.

Finally, the Know How section. It’s really more of a Samgyetang FAQ page. He firsts asks himself “Have a secret of the recipe?” and answers himself thusly: “Of course, yes. We have it.” But don’t worry, folks, “I am not going to keep it under my coffin.” I’m unclear on why What the hell does that mean? isn’t the very next FAQ.

He closes with the basic steps for creating his famous Samgyetang. This includes such delightful phrases as “after cleaning of the chosen chickens,” “if it is stored without ice, even a dog can’t eat it,” and “If you make broth roughly, you will get the roughNready taste broth.”

There are more sections of this site that I haven’t even begun to look at. So please, visit Keumsan Samgyetang and see its wonder for yourself.

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