Samgyaetang and Electrocuted Chicken

Geum Gok Samgyetang 
(금곡 삼계탕)
Downtown, Daegu

The Good+ Nutritious soup
+ Tender chicken
+ Fancy setting
+ Convenient location
The Bad  - Limited menu
- Limited sides
Best for: Dates, lunch or dinner, health boosting    

 Samgyetang is another Korean dish with a strong sense of purpose.   It's name translates to ginseng (삼) chicken (계) soup (탕).  This trifecta of healthiness is usually eaten to battle sickness or stockpile nutrients for hot days.

In fact,  Koreans traditionally eat Samgyetang on the three hottest days of summer (초복, 중복, and 말복), as determined by the Korean equivalent to the Farmer's Almanac.  Served in a steaming-hot stone bowl (돌섯), along with the ginseng, dates and other veggies, Samgyetang supposedly raises the body's temperate.  This helps the body on a hot day according to the "fight fire with fire" theory (이열치열 in Korean).  Luckily here at Geum Gok there's a fan at each table.

Geum Gok's menu is limited to two dishes.  First, their specialty, the nutritious Samgyetang, which includes a whole chicken stuffed with rice and veggies in a bland white broth.  It's \12,000 for one person, or can split for two if the second item is also ordered.  They also offer plain chicken that's fried via electrocution (전기구이).  Order a whole chicken (웅마리) for \12,000 or a half (반마리) for \6,000.

It may not be the most humane method, cooking a chicken by electric chair, but it certainly one of the most delicious.  It also seems to be one of the healthiest.  The skin is crispy despite not being breaded, and the meat is tender and juicy despite having no oil or grease.

Side dishes are limited to spicy garlic, kimchi'd radish and pickled radish.  The waitstaff will serve some delicious plum tea (메실차) for dessert. 

The restaurant has been alive and prospering since 1989.  That says a lot in a city where restaurants open and close weekly.  Especially considering it occupies a large lot of prime real estate in the center of downtown.  Geum Gok is actually a well known meeting spot among locals.  Further contributing to its fame is being declared a "Good Restaurant" (모범음식점) by the city government.  Expect the place to be crowded around lunch and dinner times, especially on the hottest days of summer.

As for the setting, Geum Gok is extremely fancy, a popular spot for dates.  The waitstaff are also extremely formal and polite.

Geum Gok is located directly in the center of downtown, across from Coffee Bean, at the intersection just past Thursday Party 2.  From Jungangno Station (중앙로역), walk out exit two and make an immediate left.  Walk to the end of that road, at the 2.28 Park, and make a right.  It's two blocks down on your right.

The Address is: 대구광역시 중구 공평동 46-5
See map

If you're interested in some tastier, less-healthy chicken, try:
  • Spicy chicken stew (jjimdalk), near Samduk Fire Station
  • Spicy chicken stir-fry (dalkgalbi), near the stage downtown
  • Chicken Gizzards (dalkddongjeep), at Pyunghwa Market
  • Amazing fried chicken (Wong-Ju), near the stage downtown

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