Incase you’re wondering what am I typing on top, Tosokchon is the name of a restaurant that is very famous for Samgyetang (Chicken stuffed with ginseng and rice soup) It is located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, infact just probably about 10 minutes walk away. So if you’re just around the corner (or near Insadong) you can come over to this place and have some awesome chicken ginseng soup.
Regular Samgyetang; 15,000 KRW (approximately RM43)
This is the main dish of Tosokchon. It’s made by boiling more than 30 medicinal and food ingredients such as whole young chicken, ginseng, chestnuts, pine nuts, gingko nuts, punpkin seeds, garlic, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, brown rice, barley, black beans, walnuts, jujubes and others in the soup. You can say it’s a very healthy dish considering the chicken is boiled in a milky broth of such nutritious ingredients. There are other types of chicken, such as fried ones; where they poke holes prior to serving and you pour a shot of ginseng over the chicken to have the ginseng taste.
Tea (bigger cup), ginseng liqueur shot(smaller glass) to be drank, or to be poured into the samgyetang
Ogolgye Samgyetang 20,000 KRW (RM 57)
Ogolgye Samgyetang is another dish on the menu. It’s actually black chicken. Ogolgye promotes blood circulation and improves a healthier stamina. In days of old, ogolgye has come down as a royal food. All young chicken are stuffed with plump ginseng, rice and other healthy ingredients. The ogolgye is slightly smaller compared to the regular chicken but the meat is so tender and juicy that it was literally just falling off the bones. The size of the chicken was probably about 5-6 inches in length. Really, one bowl can be shared by 2 but we went ahead and got 1 each. Not kidding.
Now, so how to get to this place?
I went there after touring Gyeongbokgung Palace, just about during lunch time. So from Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2, walk 120m towards Hyoja-dong direction, then you will see GS25 (a convenient store) on your left. Make a left turn and walk straight till you see Tosokchon. It should be quite visible as there’s always a queue if it’s lunch time.
But don’t worry about the queue. It’s a very huge hanok restaurant with a maximum capacity of 420 seats. So all in all, it took us just 5-10 minutes of queuing into the restaurant, then just about another 5-10 minutes for the food to place an order and for the food to arrive.
There are long communal tables seated on the floor. Kimchi and radish bowls are passed along the table, or just by the person sitting next to you. The ajushi passed us the banchan ensuring we have our portion of kimchi and radish before our samgyetang arrives.
That’s for 1 !!! The ginseng shot was much needed, we made a mistake later in the day and had to walk so high uphill to get to the Namsan Cable Car departure point. ppfff.. Save that story for another day.