▲ Jeju's food is closely entwined with its cultural heritage such as the haenyeo. Photo by Darren Southcott
Korea’s regions each have their own unique food flavors and Jeju’s were all on offer at Baume Couture, Shin Jeju, on Thursday Dec 18. Jeju Tourism Association invited guests to enjoy a number of representative foods courtesy of an exhibition and buffet.
Through the province’s food visitors can better understand its people, society and history, and such storytelling is seen as key by tour officials in popularizing the cuisine.
Although many Jeju foods are available widely in restaurants such as gogiguksu (meat noodles) and heukdwaeji (black pork), others such as kongjuk (bean porridge) and swindali (a fermented rice beverage) are not as easily found. This was lamented by local food researcher Yang Yong-jin in his guest lecture.
“Tourists come and say: ‘I came to Jeju and I want to eat Jeju food.’ Nowadays visitors have a kind of bucket list and they want to try Jeju food. There is nowhere, and it is a shame,” he said.
▲ Jeju traditional food is set to be actively promoted by local tour officials. Photo by Darren Southcott
He stressed how everything from the local pottery to harvesting practices influenced Jeju’s food culture, differentiating it from the mainland and enshrining traditional wisdom. The lack of interest in this, particularly from local people, disappoints him.
“Using traditional methods, from the rice, to the soup and even the side dishes, let’s go back to the traditional ways,” he urged.
Among the attendees was Ahn Eun Joo, general manager of the Jeju Olle Foundation. Ahn hopes that more such events can be held in the future, particularly targeting mainlanders and others outside of Jeju.
“In the future I think there is a need for far more [events like this]. More events in more diverse forms and locations will increase the number of people coming to Jeju to eat the delicious food,” said Ahn.
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