Samgyetang - the combination of the two words of ginseng (sam) and chicken (gye) - is a variety of tang, Korean soup, which mainly comprises chicken, ginseng, sweet white rice, garlic, and jujube fruits. It is not clear exactly from when people in Korea began eating Samgyetang; however, there is a record that people in the Goryeo Dynasty ate Samgyetang as a food to restore their health.
Since the early Iron Age, chicken were used as a food ingredient, and there is a record that ginseng started to be exported to Japan since the Baekje kingdom.
Thus, it can be presumed that prior to the Goryeo Dynasty (A.D. 918 ~1392), there was a cuisine made of chicken and ginseng.
<Umsikdimibang>, the first recipe book in Korean language published in 1670, contains the recipes for Yeongyezzim (chicken steamed dish) and Sujeunggye (chicken steamed dish). <Choseonyorigyebub>, Korea’s first modern recipe book published in 1917, introduces the whole chicken recipe, which is very similar to the current recipe for Samgyetang. As such, Samgyetang has been referred to in various ways over the years; however, what the cuisine represents –a good food is tantamount to a medicine – has been the same.