Tosokchon (토속촌) ~ Jongno-gu, Seoul

The itinerary for the entire trip was diligently compiled by Pauline while Wei Chee was our finance manager. Me? I was the navigator and photographer. Together, we were probably the most efficient team with excellent trip pre-planning, budget planning and the most food-eating ever!

Our first meal upon touchdown in Korea was samgyetang (삼계탕/계삼탕), a summer dish loved by Koreans of all ages.

Tosokchon card

Click the card for a larger image!

It’s super easy to get to the shop, just follow the directions in the card above and look out for the entrance for the shop at the end of this post.

Said to serve the best samgyetang in Seoul, the restaurant was quite full when we got there at lunch time but service was prompt and the staff were helpful in making sure you got a table. I’ve read that an occasional queue forms outside the restaurant when they get exceptionally busy.

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True to it’s traditional roots, the restaurant had a traditional setting where you sit at low tables with a pillow beneath you.

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Wooden fixtures and semi-translucent sliding doors added to the entire traditional feel.

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Help yourselves to the side dishes of pickled radish and kimchi.

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Before most meals, they’ll give you wet towels for you to clean your hands because most food require your hands (there’s a lot of wrapping food in various vegetables in most of our meals). Next to that darker cup of tea is a strong ginseng ‘shot’. We were curious and had a tiny sip and boy was it potent!

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Within 10 minutes, 2 boiling pots of soup with an entire stuffed spring chicken arrives.

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Inside the chicken, you’ll find glutinous rice, red dates, an entire ginseng root, ginkgo and white sesame Sprinkled on the chicken are black sesame seeds and pine nuts. You’ll just have to be a little barbaric and tear the tender meat off the bone and to gain access to all the delicious fillings in the chicken.

The chicken had multiple flavors of sweet and bitter from the red dates and the ginseng and the meat closest to ginseng actually had an even stronger ginseng flavor. For an extra oomph, pour yourself some course salt and pepper and sparingly dip the chicken in. There’s something about this combination that excites the taste buds and add to the flavor of the chicken.

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We tried the soup without the ginseng shot first and it was a tasty and rich broth, thickened by the starch from the rice. After the shot, it was even better. The ginseng flavor was just right with the broth and we finished almost every drop of the soup. The meal ended with a satisfying sigh.

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From the top – 21,000 won for a pot of black chicken ginseng soup, 15,000 won for the normal variation, 28,000 won for a pot of chicken soup with 100-year-old Korean mountain ginseng.

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Click to see the description better!

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Wei Chee and Pauline in front of Tosokchon.

Tosokchon is highly recommended by many food blogs and I concur!

Other reviews can be found at kampungboycitygal, moonberry, Pig Pig’s corner.

Please bear in mind that most of the time, we ordered 2 portions for 3 people and that some places have a minimum 2 portion policy for 2 pax or more.

Here’s a summary of what we ate during our trip, click the image below for a larger view.

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Kindly compiled by my extremely efficient travel finance manager, the excel sheet for the above image is available here.

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