S. Korea to begin shipping ginseng chicken soup to U.S. after 10-year effort

July 31, 2014
chicken soup, samgyetang

Samgyetang is considered one of the healthiest dishes as it contains Korean ginseng. (Yonhap)

(Yonhap) — South Korea will begin exporting its traditional ginseng chicken soup “samgyetang,” a famous local dish consumed to better endure summer heat, to the United States next month after 10 years of efforts to enter one of the world’s biggest poultry exporting market.

The first-ever shipment of samgyetang to the U.S. will depart the country’s southern Busan port early next month, according to Harim, a local food company that specializes in poultry products, on Thursday.

The first shipment of six containers will consist of two types of ready-made products — frozen and air-sealed packages — that can both be easily prepared by heating or boiling. They will be made available in the U.S. market from as early as Aug. 15, first through Korean grocery stores, Harim said.

Samgyetang is considered one of the healthiest dishes as it contains Korean ginseng. It is also considered a favorite summer time dish among the vast majority of Koreans who believe in the timeless principle of fighting heat with heat.

The origin of samgyetang is still debated, though historical records show that Koreans enjoyed a similar type of chicken soup from hundreds of years earlier. As it is served now with ginseng, it most likely became popular in the late 19th century.

The start of exports to the U.S. comes more than 10 years after the South Korean government filed an official request with the U.S.

South Korea was included in the list of countries eligible for exports of poultry products to the U.S. in March after the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service confirmed that South Korea’s food safety regulations and standards conformed to those of the U.S.

Harim, however, noted South Korea’s exports of poultry products to the U.S. would not have been possible had it not been for samgyetang.

The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and consumer and also the world’s second-largest exporter of poultry products. South Korea imports tens of thousands of tons of U.S. poultry products every year, meaning American products have price competitiveness over those produced here.

“Under such conditions, selling South Korean poultry products in the U.S. market is anything but normal in a sense. And this, in a way, means that samgyetang clearly has more to offer than just price competitiveness,” the company said.