Why Koreans Sweat Like Crazy While Eating

In summer, Koreans eat steaming hot soup to reduce body heat. Eh? Aren’t you supposed to eat ice cream in summer?

As you can see in these pictures, Korea gets REALLY HOT in summer. Some places even go up to, at their highest, 40 degrees Celsius. You can literally cook eggs on the ground outside.

Our ancestors, back in the days, wisely figured out how to overcome this madness when there was no AC: Eating hot food in summer. (It sounds counterintuitive, right?????)

Eating hot food makes your body temperature higher which makes you sweat like crazy. As sweat evaporates from your skin, a body temperature will get lower = COOLING EFFECT!

삼복 (sambok; the three dog days of summer) is three hottest days of summer in Korea, traditionally. The days are between June and July in Lunar calendar at intervals of around 10-20 days. On these very hot days, Koreans eat steaming, boiling hot nutritious, high-protein food to recover from the heatwave.

  1. 초복 (chobok) : the first day of the three dog days
  2. 중복 (jungbok) : the second day of the three dog days
  3. 말복 (malbok) : the third and last day of the three dog days

What does it mean by “the three dog days”?

Sirius, also called the Dog Star, rises like the sun on three days of 삼복 (sambok). The ancestors thought this bright Sirius causes the heatwave so they named it after Sirius.

Photo : 삼계탕, Samgyetang (chicken soup with ginseng)

The most representative food that Koreans eat on the three dog days of summer is 삼계탕 (pronounced sam-gye-tang), a soup made with a young chicken, ginseng, glutinous rice, jujube, chestnut, garlic and more. It’s full of protein, nutritious, energy-boosting, and most importantly, delicious????????

But you don’t always have to eat 삼계탕. Any soup that’s streaming hot and nutritious is welcome! Let’s eat and sweat!

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