Today Jungwon took us to the Korean Folk Village, an outdoor museum of more than 260 traditional Korean houses, which was built to convey the wisdom and spirits of Jungwon’s ancestors. There is also a traditional street market with showcases of traditional woodworking and metalworking, and performances of traditional dances and marriage ceremonies but we missed all of those because we were much more interested in the local dishes that they were preparing in the style of olden days and serving on raised wooden floors which were, of course, shoe-free.
First thing we tried was some Kimchijeon, a Korean pancake made of flour batter and lots of kimchi. A rather cranky-looking woman was cooking them outside on a huge griddle in an astonishing amount of grease. I was worried it would taste sickening but the end-product wasn’t as greasy as I feared and actually rather good.
Jungwon wanted us to try some Korean rice wine, and ordered a big stone bottle of that cheongju to go with our kimchi pancake. It wasn’t bad, but it was a bit too strong to drink in the hot afternoon sun. And that huge bottle held way too much wine for us to finish, especially since Yasu doesn’t drink alcohol.
After our spicy lunch we tried some more traditional Korean snacks, like some peanut goo covered in hundreds of thin threads of honey and powdered sugar, which were made right in front of us. The way they pull a big piece of honey into those minuscule threads is amazing. Yasu and I spotted some big pots cooking on some fire outside some building and took a look inside one of the pots. The cook rewarded our curiosity with a free taste of the spicy (I don’t think they have many other tastes in Korea) soup.
After satisfying out stomachs we walked around the park some more and learned some interesting things about the old Koreans. They punished their bed-wetters publicly and used urine as fertilizer.
We also tried to blend in with a group of totem poles, tried to score some points in an old-fashioned Korean game of throwing wooden arrows through some holes (which was impossible) and we tied some of our wishes to a huge wish-rock.
We ate, drank, saw and did a lot of traditional Korean things in the Folk Village, but I’m not sure if the wisdom and spirits of Jungwon’s ancestors were really conveyed to us… We weren’t really paying attention, we were too busy joking around, it was fun!