Tosokchon (토속촌 / 土俗村蔘雞湯) - Ginseng Chicken!! (Seoul, South Korea)

Gyeongbokgung Palace and National Folk Museum of Korea > Tosokchon (토속촌 / 土俗村蔘雞湯)


Right after our “royal” experience at Gyeongbukgung Palace, we made our way via the Gwanghwamun Gate to Tosokchon (토속촌 / 土 俗村蔘雞湯) – a renown Korean restaurant known for its signature chicken ginseng soup that is made with glutinous rice, gingko nuts, ginseng, garlic and jujube (all stuffed inside the chicken!).

On our way to some nice Ginseng Chicken!

We actually made a wrong turn (rather we walked too far out), but there were nice police officers around to help out with the directions! In fact, one of the nice officers actually walked us to where the restaurant is located as it was on his way.

By the time we arrived, as expected, as it was nearing lunch time a crowd was starting to form. So it might be wise to visit the restaurant during non-peak hours to save your save the pain wait. It also started to rain, so I brought out my trusty ‘cute’ umbrella I bought from Taiwan, and share with the one who was more willing to on the food than an umbrella (haha). Thankfully it was not a heavy downpour.

No that's not my umbrella

It took us about 30 minutes to get inside and seated. Inside the restaurant was a bustle of activity with waiters/waitresses ushering in patrons in hurriedly into rooms which seat quite a few people. Tosokchon has a rustic Korean theme to it, rooms with sliding doors and shoes left outside the rooms. With even a garden (tree and plants around it), with the rooms surrounding it.

Interior. Getting ushered into the rooms

Once seated inside (on the floor), it was time to order the food! Tosokchon serves mainly ginseng chicken, but there are other dishes such as roasted chicken (which we only realized when the table next to us ordered, so we did not get the chance to taste it) and pancakes (e.g. seafood) Korean style. Tosokchon serves 2 types of ginseng chicken soup: black or white (the normal) chicken.

A bustling of activity - hungry diners and busy servers!
hungry hungry people
Table setting
That would be the menu

We ordered one of each ginseng chicken, DramaQueen had the normal one while I had the black chicken (everything about the chicken is black from skin to bones). So what did the soup contain? Well, chicken of course. Chicken that is served in a claypot surrounded by delicious steaming hot ginseng broth and stuffed with glutinous rice, nuts and other yummy stuff.

Ginseng Chicken
"Normal" white chicken
Ginseng Chicken
Filled with nuts, rice and all things yummy! - very tasty
Ginseng Chicken
Black Ginseng Chicken Soup - the healthier choice (being lean and having lesser fats), but a little blend
Ginseng Chicken
Still it's good and very filling indeed
Each of us received a small cup that contained ginseng wine, which packed a mean ginseng-alcohol punch/ aroma. You can add that and the small bottle of ginseng shreds into the soup for that extra oomph. On comparison, the normal one was more flavorful and tasty (sweet), while the black chicken was a little more blend (but had that health taste to it, since black chicken is supposedly leaner).

Both were delicious, but I would recommended the normal one if you want to have a more enjoyable experience. It is said that one portion is good enough to feed two ladies, but I guess we have big appeties? I finished most of mine (the black chicken) and DramaQueen being a connoisseur of chicken meat left nothing but the bones. Lol

In addition, we ordered haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), which was pretty nice and much larger than we expected. Although yummy, the pancake was a bit on the dense and heavy (flour) side, which is not bad if you like it, but eat too much and you might get ‘tired’ or it.

Seafood pancakce
Really big piece of seafood pancake - it can be a meal on its own!

That’s what the (free-flow self-service) kimchi is for!

Kimchi in a pot
Doesn't it make you hungry? Well, I am :p

The entire bill came up to bill came up to about 60,000 won (I think) and was paid on the way out where the counter is located. It may not have been the cheapest meal we had in Seoul, but it was a very satisfying one (and really not that expensive, especially if you have eaten in restaurants in Singapore). One thing you do have to get used to is sitting on the floor while eating, which gets uncomfortable after a while. Also with all the activity, it can be a little daunting having to get the attention of the waiter/waitresses just to place an order, but no worries just be 'brave', get their attention and make your order. :)

What acts as a bill indicator (kinda like a table number) & apparently the menu is on the  flipside
Counter area and on the way out. All that ginseng!

According to the Korea Tourism website, Tosokchon is open all year round and has a seating capacity of up to 420. This is a must if you want to eat some nice Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (since DramaQueen a.k.a Chicken Gourmet has given her approval).

Worry not if you can't understand Korean, they have staff who can converse in Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese. For English speakers, there the photos in the menu so it should be fine with a tinge of adventurousness? ^^ Calling any English speakers who have been here, please share your experience!

Tosokchon (토속촌 / 土俗村蔘雞湯)

Tel: +82-2-737-7444
Operating Hours : 10:00-22:00
Address: 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울 종로구 자하문로5길 5 (체부동)

Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2.
Go straight about 170m and turn left onto Jahamun-ro 5-gil Road.
Tosokchon (토속촌) is located 10m ahead on the left.


via Gwanghwamun from Gyeongbokgung Palace
(more about the directions here)


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