I was informed this morning that today is the beginning of Boknal (복날) in Korea. Boknal is a month-long weather pattern that brings the hottest part of the year to Korea. Prior to this, Korea’s summer was muggy and rainy. This rainy season is called jangma (장마) aka monsoon aka wearing rain boots for a large part of July.Source
During Boknal, Koreans tend to eat healthy foods to keep up their energy and strength. The first day of Boknal (today, July 19) is known as Chobok (초복) and on this day, Koreans traditionally eat Samgyetang (삼계탕) or Ginseng Chicken Soup! This ginseng chicken soup is believed to cool down the body during hot and humid days. The inside of the small chicken is stuffed with glutinous rice, ginseng shoots, and jujubes. The chicken is then boiled in a clear stock and served in an individual earthenware pot. Its pretty delicious actually, more on the bland side which is sometimes nice for the glands after all the spicy food I eat here. Perfect actually as an alternative to our usual “chicken noodle soup” when you are sick on a cold winter day. But that is not the case here ^^
Yeah, I guess it is hard to wrap your mind around eating and drinking hot soup on the hottest day of the year. My family is the same. My mother has no problem making a batch of hot bean soup in the middle of August. She’s stopped once we complained of the massive heat that built up inside every time she cooked.
This Korean costum of eating hot meals in hot weather is known as i-yeol-chi-yeol (이열치열), which literally means ‘to relieve heat with heat’.