In Korea, there are two summer traditions that I truly enjoy, perhaps more religiously than most Koreans. One of them is the 복날 (boknal or, luck day) tradition.
Now, there’s three of these luck days, Early, Mid, and Late luck days. And these usually designate the hottest times of the year. This is all based on the lunar calendar. And they just are spread out through the middle and end of summer. And on this day, since it’s so hot, you need something to fill you with energy and nutrients since the heat has obviously depleted you of them. So you eat a special chicken soup called 삼계탕 (samgyetang) which is just a whole chicken stewed in chicken broth with some specific seasoning. I forget which ones. But they’re the boring ones. I know two of them are jujube and ginger.
However, maybe you’re just not in the mood for this dish. So Koreans typically eat any kind of chicken dish on these days. Fried chicken, other chicken soups and stews. As an extreme lover of chicken, I endorse this holiday fully. I am known amongst my swimming mates as the “Chicken Killer”. Chickens, beware, I’m coming for you on these days. Today is the Late Luck Day so I am going to skip swimming class and get myself a chicken!
The other tradition I enjoy is one on rainy days.
In America, rainy days are quite gloomy as so we stay inside, drink some warm beverage, pop in a movie, and chill. This is fine in America because it’s hard to get to your friends in the rain since we all have to drive. But in Korea, we live near each other and so we often meet up and eat something special. We eat 전 (jun, Korean pancakes) and 막걸리 (makkeolli, a rice wine/beer) with friends. It’s kinda fun to call a friend up and ask to go out for this. They like it too. I wanna adapt this to America, if I ever go back, and maybe make normal pancakes or potato latkes or something for my children or me instead. It sounds fun.
Anyway, since it’s a bit of the rainy season, go out, get your beer and pancakes on! Or maybe some fried chicken. On this rainy 말복 (late luck day), I’m in need of one of these!