Interesting Korean food: Otdak Samgyetang (Sumac Chicken Soup)

I might be the first blogger to write about Otdak. It is boiled chicken soup like Samgyetang, Korean ginseng chicken soup, but different in ingredients. While the normal Samgyetang is boiled in water with other types of Korean herbs, Otdak is with Sumac, which has a little bit of a kind of poison which makes you feel itchy.

When you eat it first, you need to take a medicine which prevents you from rashes. Some people always need to take medicine before eating Otdak and others do not. I took medicine for the first couple times and then quit taking it and I was fine. It depends on the individual.

Why do people eat it if they even have to take medicine? It makes your body warm, helps your digestion, and gives you energy. It is considered a health food in Korea.


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Some restaurants give you Otdak with rice and other ingredients stuffed inside of a whole chicken like Samgyetang, and others just give you the chicken like the one in the picture above. The similarity is that they boil the chicken with sumac branches.

Therefore, the color of the soup looks different from the normal Samgyetang.


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Look at the soup. It is much darker than that of Samgyetang. The darker the soup is, the more rich and healthy it is. I would say that the soup in the picture above is quite rich.

When you eat, you dip the chicken in salt, just like Samgyetang. Other than the Sumac, it is very similar to Samgyetang.


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Fresh Kimchi can’t be missed. I prefer eating it with Kimchi to dipping into salt.


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After eating the chicken, the server will put rice in the soup and boil it for several minutes until it gets thicker and becomes porridge. Since the soup is rich, the porridge is rich too, and so delicious.

So interesting, right? Who would put poisonous Sumac in their food for health other than Koreans? However, I personally love this food. Don’t get scared, and give it a try.


Cham-ot-gol (참옻골)

경기 화성시 향남읍 서봉로 325-14 (325-14, Seobong-ro, Hyangnam-eup, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do)


Price: 53,000 KRW for four people portion

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