The fleshy root of a slow-growing perennial plant, ginseng is both a food and one of the world’s oldest and most popular herbal medicines. Koreans love ginseng for its health-giving properties and we use it sparingly, because it’s usually quite expensive. Find it in the refrigerated produce section of Korean grocery stores, and choose roots with the fewest blemishes. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Do not substitute dried ginseng.


fresh ginseng

fresh ginseng for sale in front of a herbal medicine shop on Jongno, Seoul

Recipes that use fresh ginseng (susam):


  1. shuchee malaysia joined 10/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi, Maangchi,

    If I were to purchase the fresh ginseng from the market, can I bring it back to my country? Is it illegal to do that? How long normally can the fresh ginseng be keep in the fridge? I would like to cook samgyetang at my own country. Do you recommend me to purchase the pre-packed ingredients or to buy fresh ginseng?

  2. Toto Bonn, Germany joined 6/10 & has 37 comments

    I love ginseng and I love samgyetang.
    By the way, I always thought the korean name for ginseng was “Insam” and not “Susam”

  3. Veron Lau Singapore joined 8/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Myla,
    Is there any fresh ginseng selling in Singapore?

  4. Maangchi, My mother grows and cooks with two ginseng like plants. I am trying to find more information on this, but do not know how to spell it. One sounds like “dosari” and the other like “da duck”. She said it is very good for your health. It tasted excellent!

  5. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    Did they put dried ginseng in the package? If so, they shouldn’t! Fresh ginseng that’s what you need. Use just one root in each serving, Otherwise, the soup may be too bitter for you.

  6. i used the samgeytang packages, and the chestnuts and ginseng were too hard. i think they should be boiled longer before making the soup to make them edible. the fresh ginseng and chestnuts probably don’t need to be cooked longer.

  7. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

    The package of samgyetang contains small chicken, rice, jujubes,some soaked rice and a ginseng root. right? Yes, You can use it.

  8. i already went to korean grocery,but they dont have a fresh ginseng they only have a package of samgyetang recipe i plan to make samgyetang tomorrow, is it ok if i used it???

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