Thursday, September 15, 2011
I’m back from my travel down in the south and I want to share some of the stories and shots with you. For Koreans, it’s time reserved for family but for foreigners, it’s a good holiday opportunity to explore Korea. I travelled around the southeast and up to Ulleungdo and Dokdo, which I’m going to save for later.
I enjoy travelling through small towns in Korea where I can get the real feel that I’m in another country, which I easily forget when in Seoul. Markets, no matter where you travel, are a must visit to look deep into the culture. People who have been to Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, the big markets in Seoul, must know what traditional markets are like but those in small towns are different again.
One of the things that amazed me the most is the elderly vendors trimming and cleaning vegetables, probably picked from their gardens. You think you will have to pay for their labour, but they sell at a cheaper price than supermarkets. The market was full of various vegetables including mountain plants called “namul(나물)”, and seasonal fruit such as apple, pear, grapes, plum, peach and fig.
Eels seem to be in season too. It was interesting to see the live ones, and I got confused for a second whether they were the same as grilled eels that I used to eat at Japanese restaurants. The last picture is gangang gejang(간장게장), which is raw crab picked in soy sauce, and I often wonder how it is possible to eat raw crabs just after a few days in marinade. Fascinating!
The busiest of all was rice cake shops selling various cakes for the ancestral ceremony for Chuseok. The first picture in the top left is of songpyeon with four flavours, plain, pumpkin(yellow), ssuk(쑥-green, mountain herb), and mulberry. What you see also is pine needles that songpyeon is steamed with. One of my favourite Korean cake is the white cake topped with black sesame and it is leavened with makgeolli and very light. The last one is barley bread and it had a rustic look and taste.
I hope you stay tuned for my next story, which I don’t even know what will be as I’ve just started to organise my photos.
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