Many people recover from the stress of city life by simply looking at the beautiful scenery of rural areas. The food they can enjoy in the villages comes as an extra bonus. In continuation of the topic we started in the October issue of Korea AgraFood, introduced below are several representative villages where one can experience rural life, relax, and enjoy various dishes made with the agricultural produce of the season.
# Gapyeong in Gyeonggi Province, Feel the Generosity of People in the Countryside
Gapyeong County in Gyeonggi Province is well-known for fresh water and clean air as well as splendid scenery. In every spot of this picturesque area, people can experience nature, beauty, and delicious food.
9Majigi Village in Gapyeong County will remind those who are traveling with children of their own hometowns. The village boasts majestic views and offers a variety of experience programs that one can hardly find in the city. These include picking apples, pounding rice cakes, playing in the stream, crossing a stream on stepping stones, catching freshwater fish, observing insects, and finding constellations in the night sky.
After the activities, we recommend trying the local stir-fried chicken with tofu. This spicy dish is for those who want to have both hand-made tofu and fried chicken at the same time. For more attractions in the area, visit Ihwawon and Jara Island and try a rail bike.
# Jeungpyeong in North Chungcheong Province, a Cure if You Miss Your Hometown
Stressed by the tight schedules in our daily lives, we often turn to nature and delicious food. Jungangol, a gateway to Jeungpyeong County, is famous for tasty agricultural products. Many tourists come here throughout the year to enjoy hiking, strolls in the woods, and a drink from a refreshing mineral spring.
Buying salted napa cabbage cultivated on local farms, pounding injeolmi (traditional rice cake made of glutinous rice and coated with bean flour) with a mallet, making three-color sujebi (pasta soup), ginseng kimchi, and three-color tofu, and digging up sweet potatoes are just a few of numerous experiences awaiting visitors at the village.
Jeungpyeong County is renowned for its ginseng. You can buy different kinds of ginseng and red ginseng products in many stores and the Chungbuk Ginseng Distribution Center. The area is also famous for red ginseng pork, which comes from pigs raised on feed mixed with leftovers of red ginseng.
# Wanju in North Jeolla Province, A Greed Wave Filled with Iris Scent
In old times, Koreans washed their hair in iris water on Dano (the fifth day of the fifth lunar month), believing this will cure their skin problems. Modern people can try iris-themed activities in Changpo Village, located in Wanju County, North Jeolla Province, next to the huge iris fields with a total area of almost 14,000 m2. While watching the green waves formed by the wind in the field, you will feel the delicate scent of iris. The water in the river nearby is so clean that you can observe otters and insects. In addition to washing hair with iris water and making iris soap, try feeding the freshwater fish and fulling clothes in the traditional way.
The biggest pride of the village is the band of elderly women who demonstrate a percussion performance when fulling clothes. The band has been formed in 2006, and you can see their performances only in Changpo Village. Try also making your own bibimbap with edible greens picked by villagers in surrounding fields and mountains.
# Muan in South Jeolla Province, Farming and Art Go Hand in Hand
Woodpeckers and fireflies came back to Worlsun Village when local farmers changed to eco-friendly methods. The name of the village was derived from a Chinese phrase meaning “a Taoist hermit with miraculous powers who reads a book while locking the moon in the clouds.”
Artisans specializing in natural dyes and calligraphers also returned to the village, and it has now become a village of artists. They host exhibitions and operate programs related to arts and crafts, such as making ceramics and aromatic candles and applying natural dyes. Visitors can also participate in various farming activities—picking sweet potatoes, plums, and kiwi, making tofu, catching fish, harvesting barley and onion, and so on.
At the local marketplace, one will find many regional products: bracken, green onion, garlic, plums, king oyster mushrooms, lotus leaf tea, spinach, peppers, and beef of Korean native cattle, and many more. Bordering the sea, Muan County is also rich in marine products.
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