Sambok – Three Hottest Days in South Korea!


If you’ve ever visited Korea during summer season, you knew how hot the weather during this season. That’s why Koreans usually go swimming in summer. However, do you know that there’s a specific three hottest day during summer seasons in Korea called Sambok? In this article, I want to share what I learned about Sambok in Korea.

Sambok is known as the three hottest days during the hottest season in South Korea. Koreans usually eat certain foods during these days. It’s just become a part of Korean culture. Read on so you can also participate and eat the same food during Sambok.

Table of Contents

Sambok 삼복

Sambok is derived from the Korean words “sam,” meaning three, and “bok” refer to “bok-nal,” which means dog’s day, referring to the hottest days of the year.

Historically, people believed that the weather these days would determine the result of their harvest.

Sambok - Three Hottest Days


Credit to yonhap

Sambok happens during the summer season in South Korea, so it’s safe to say that the three hottest days usually occur from June to August.

These three hottest days are Chobok, Jungbok, and Malbok, which all happened within 30 days window.

1. Chobok (초복)

Chobok kicks off this steamy trilogy with its arrival on July 11th. Koreans find ways to beat the heat as temperatures soar and sweat becomes an unwelcome companion.

You can try everything from indulging in refreshing foods like samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), believed to restore vitality, to enjoying bingsu (shaved ice dessert) topped with sweet red beans or fresh fruits.

2. Jungbok (중복)

Jungbok follows suit on July 21st, ten days after Chobok, when summer reaches its zenith.

This day signifies perseverance as people endure intense heat waves without losing their spirit.

Some people seek shade under big trees near riverside parks for picnics while relishing cold drinks like sikhye (sweet rice punch).

3. Malbok (말복)

Finally comes Malbok on August 11th – the last hurrah before autumn approaches! During this day, Koreans indulge in spicy dishes such as bibim naengmyeon (spicy cold noodles) or dakbal (spicy chicken feet).

The belief is that consuming fiery food helps expel internal heat and thus makes the external heat feels cooler.

What do Koreans do during sambok?


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Plenty of exciting activities associated with Sambok will make your experience truly memorable.

One popular activity during Sambok is enjoying delicious summer foods. Koreans believe in eating specific dishes on the three hottest days to help beat the heat and stay healthy.

Some popular choices include samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), yukgaejang (spicy beef soup), bingsu (shaved ice dessert), and summer fruits like watermelon.


Credit to yonhap

Another thing that Koreans love to do is enjoy water sports like swimming and kayaking. Some people dip their feet in the cheonggye stream to cool off the heat.

Traditional Sambok Food


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Historically, Koreans used to eat dog meat soup (bosintang) during Sambok; that’s why this day is also known as ‘Dogs Day.’


However, many people, especially dog lovers, have started protesting the behavior of consuming dog meat. Thus, eating dog meat during Sambok is no longer customary.

As more people start feeling ashamed to even talk about eating dog meat, more dog slaughters houses closed, and most restaurants that sell dog meat have gone bankrupt as fewer people consume dog meat.


Credit to wikimedia commons

Now, most Korean eat pork and beef instead of dog meat, so the dog meat soup has been replaced by spicy beef soup (yukgaejang) or ginseng chicken soup (samgyetang).

Sum Up

These are all I can share about Sambok, the three hottest days in South Korea. What do you think about this day? Have you ever visited Korea during these days? Let me know in the comment sections below!


Every share and every ounce of your support brings my passion for Korea to life – Thank you for visit.

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