Dog Day Porridge(伏粥)
Bokjuk (Kor. 복죽, Chin. 伏粥, lit. Dog Day porridge) refers to a red bean porridge cooked and consumed on Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏, Three Dog Days, three hottest days in the sixth and seventh lunar months). The custom of eating red bean porridge on the three Dog Days is documented in the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 1849). Although in modern Korea, red bean porridge is usually associated with the winter solstice, traditionally it was one of the three special dishes served on the Dog Days. (The other two dishes were gaejangguk (Kor. 개장국, dog meat soup) and gyesamtang (Kor. 계삼탕, ginseng chicken soup)).
According to the Chinese book, “Hanshu” (Kor. 한서, Chin. 漢書, lit. The Book of Han, CE 1), a Dog Day is characterized by the anticipation of the negative yin energy, i.e. although the day is filled with positive yang energy, negative energy can appear. Thus, evil spirits are active on this day and people should refrain from doing anything meaningful. Eating red bean porridge can repel evil forces and keep people safe.
In the middle of the 20th century red bean porridge began to disappear from the Dog Days cuisine. This change reflected the belief that food designed for stamina to cope with the summer heat was more important than eating red bean porridge. Accordingly, dog meat soup and ginseng chicken remained popular choices for the three Dog Days, but red bean porridge started to be replaced by chicken porridge.