[TRAVEL KOREA] Seoil Nongwon : Origin of Fermentation and Slow Food

Korea is well-known for its slow food like kimchi and chili paste (gochujang) and Seoil Nongwon located in Ansung City embraces its characteristics of Korean food. First of all, “nongwon” means a farm or a garden and obviously, various farms and plantations can be found in Seoil Nongwon.

As I entered this farm, I found out how peaceful this place is. Around it are trees, grass, and plants that seem to give a clear answer to how this place was freshly made. It was a good place to look into how fermentation of pastes were done and try out Korean vegetable dishes called “Namul”.

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It was a cloudy day and drizzling but the atmosphere was perfectly suitable with this place. It was early May in the afternoon yet the cold breeze of air still remained in the air.

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Found this restaurant near the entrance, It was the only restaurant inside the garden.

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Inside the restaurant were designed traditionally with Korean cabinet with drawings.

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I was surprised when the dishes came out because there were around 20 side dishes. Most of the dishes were “Namul” which is vegetable side dishes, tofu, kimchi, Korean pancakes and stew. In the picture are soybean stews, “Doenjang Jjigae” and various types of vegetables.

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I found this bell-like thingy hanging on the wall inside the restaurant. These are bells called “Wonang” worn by cows to track their location and not to lose them.

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When leaving the restaurant, I found this poster on the wall saying this place was a shooting place of Korean TV series “Feast of the Gods”.

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I found this weird pine tree with one of its main branch being supported by a wooden support.

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I saw hundreds of Korean style pots which contains various Korean pastes like “Doenjang” and “Gochujang”. “Doenjang” is a soybean paste fermented for couple of days, months or years like how kimchi is being made. “Gochujang” is a chili paste made from red chilies. It takes a long time to finish the fermentation of these pastes that is why they are called slow food.

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I found this rope and wondered what this is. My research shows that it is traditionally done and it is said to draw a line for a sacred place.

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I found a number of pear trees along the way. Korean pear is one of my favorite fruit yet it was my first time to see pear trees.

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I found this farm is quite small but the fact that it’s free to enter and the place is so peaceful made it more attractable. It gave me an opportunity to try out different fresh vegetable dishes and slowly made food and rest peacefully outside of fast moving world.

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