While some drink mulled wine (vin chaud) as a cold remedy in winter, Koreans have ssanghwa tea.
Both are great, but I’ll explain ssanghwa-cha in this post, because I grew up drinking it. (✿◠‿◠)
Let’s check out this mysteriously bitter, sweet and nutty concoction!
What is Ssanghwa Tea?
Ssanghwa Tea is a traditional Korean medicinal herbal tea, which is a simplified version of Ssanghwa Tang (this is more like hardcore medicine).
Ssanghwa means “combining the yin and yang energy into one”.
Made by decocting a blend of white peony, foxglove, angelica, cnidium, cinnamon and licorice, you can enjoy this Korean tea with walnuts, pine nuts, dried jujube and/or egg yolk as toppings.
It has a slightly BITTER and SWEET taste, and works wonderfully as a meal replacement.
Ssanghwa Tea is beloved by older Koreans, but I’ve enjoyed it since I was a kid.
And yes, I was that strange one sipping and savoring herbal medicine without needing candy to wash it down.
Why do Koreans drink Ssanghwa Tea with egg yolk?
Okay. So, not every Korean drinks ssanghwa tea with egg yolk.
This culture belongs to my parents’ generation during the 70s-80s at dabangs (old coffee shops).
Back then, they put an egg yolk on top to neutralize the bitter flavor and add nutrition. Also, eggs were almost as expensive as beef in the past, so they were pretty special.
If you want to try it at home, make sure to use only the freshest egg yolks for the best results.
What are the health benefits of Ssanghwa Tea?
Ssanghwa Tea helps boost energy, prevent colds and relieve fatigue.
Ssanghwa Tang works great for fatigue relief, osteoporosis treatment, hair growth, anti-inflammation and pain relief.
When you’re looking for the hardcore medicinal version, make sure to get Ssanghwa Tang at a Korean pharmacy.
Ssanghwa Cha is technically a tea, which is not intended for pharmaceutical or medical purposes.
📌Tip! If your body runs a bit hot, it’s better to avoid Ssanghwa Tang since its main ingredients are composed of medicinal herbs that boost heat. This just means it tends to have a warming effect on the body that’s great for winter.
What is the Ssanghwa Tea recipe?
An easy way to enjoy Ssanghwa Tea is to buy Ssanghwa-cha packages from a Korean market. Or, an even easier way would be buying a bottle of ssanghwa-cha at a pharmacy in K-town.
If you want to decoct or brew it from scratch, ask for Ssanghwa Tea ingredients at Asian herbal shops. This way, you can make it healthier and less sugary.
Once you have the ingredients, all you need to do is: boil them in water, remove them, pour tea into a cup, and add the toppings you like.
You can also use Ssanghwa Tea or Tang when cooking pork dishes like Jokbal (boiled pig’s trotters) or Sooyook (boiled pork slices) to get that authentic flavor at home.
Where can I try Ssanghwa Tea?
Ediya coffee shops sell ssanghwa tea under the name, “Black Herbal Tea”.
It’s their take on traditional ssanghwa tea for all generations, focusing on the delicate aroma and nutty flavor.
Rumor has it that their blend is perfect for first-time drinkers. It has a nice jujube aroma and the balanced flavor of bitterness and sweetness, without being overly sweet.
Dried jujubes and pine nuts are also served as toppings.
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