DRINKING IN KOREA
Koreans like to drink. They are sometimes referred to as the Irish of Asia because they drink so much. In the past 30 years South Koreans had increasing their drinking dramatically. According to one survey, they are the world's top per capita consumer's of hard liquor. In a different survey they rank fifth in total alcohol consumed per capita. The drinking age in South Korea is 19. According to one survey, 92.3 percent of all Korean university students said they drink regularly (compared to 87 percent in the United States).
For Koreans, alcohol is a lifelong companion in times of sorrow and joy. Korean people have enjoyed making their own liquor from healthy ingredients since ancient times. Traditional liquor is often called yakju, literally meaning “medicinal alcohol,” as light to moderate alcohol use is believed to have health benefits and is offered from one person to another as a way to cherish friendships. Korea’s representative traditional liquors are makgeolli, and soju. They can easily be purchased in marts and corner stores from Seoul to even the smallest of towns. Their low price also makes them quite popular. [Source: Korea Tourism Organization visitkorea.or.kr ]
Most Koreans drink beer or soju (a relatively cheap vodka-like alcoholic drink). Annual alcohol consumption per capita: pure alcohol in liters: 12.3 liters (compared to 17.6 liters in Belarus; 9.2 liters in the United States; and 7.2 liters in Japan). percentage: beer: 25 percent; wine: 1.6 percent; spirits: 2.9 percent; other (mostly soju): 70. [Source: World Health Organization data, Wikipedia Wikipedia ]
Annual beer consumption: 42.8 liters per capita (compared to 143.3 liters in the Czech Republic; 74.8 liters in the United States; and 2 liters in Sri Lanka) [Source: Kirin Holdings Company 2016, Wikipedia Wikipedia ]
Alcoholism (deaths per 100,000 people): 1.17 (compared to 14.68 in Russia and 2.26 in the United States. [Source: World Health Organization, World Life Expectancy worldlifeexpectancy.com ]
Drinking as a Social Activity in Korea
Korean love to take part in "hoesik", outings where co-workers dine and drink together after work. Comparable to the western concept of "happy hour", many drinks are poured all around during hoesik, creating a relaxing environment. Koreans believe that you must dine together or drink together in order to create friendships and get to know one another. For that reason, they will organize groups together and arrange for events to go drinking together. Whenever there's a new student or colleague, a guests needs to be entertained, or a person is visiting from another country, it's safe to say that alcohol always makes an appearance. [Source: Inkas Admin, International Korean Adoptee Service Inc, August 14, 2013 ^^^]
Donald N. Clark wrote in “Culture and Customs of Korea”: “Drinking is an important part of Korean social interaction, especially among men. In the village there is always at least one wineshop where the farmers gather after hours to trade stories and drink from makkoli bowls or small (one-ounce) glasses. Drinking etiquette involves rounds of drinks that are traded. When a person's glass is empty he is never supposed to fill it himself. Instead, the host or someone else at the table will make sure the glass is refilled or will pass him his own glass to share. An honored guest is supposed to drink from all the glasses that are presented to him and to return the compliments by refilling the glasses of others. The result is that people at the table quickly become drunk. [Source: “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Greenwood Press, 2000]
“There are endless kinds of drinking games and there is often much merriment. There are famous occasions when the drinkers challenge each other to compose couplets of poetry within a time limit or be forced to consume another glass of wine. Drinking is almost always accompanied by singing, both individually and in the group. In the uppermost strata of society, the drinking establishments are mansions with luxurious rooms where fine food is served and the merrymakers are waited on hand and foot by beautiful young women in traditional Korean hanbok dresses.
“Since all these activities revolve around the consumption of alcohol, there is naturally a considerable amount of alcohol abuse, and Korea is no stranger to the social and familial consequences of alcoholism. It is considered inappropriate for Korean women to drink alcohol until after their children are grown up. Then it is common on social occasions such as picnics for women to get together in groups of their own. These outings are often accompanied by considerable alcohol consumption, with resulting high spirits, singing, dancing, and occasional mishaps and hangovers.”
For celebrations, most Koreans drink either soju or beer. There is even a mixed drink of soju and beer called “somaek.” In the past days, people drank on specific days like New Year, thanks giving day and etc. But now they drink any time. Drinking parties are also changing. Now they are more simply having a good time and are not necessarily an event to promote good fellowship and open one's heart talking. In the 2000s drinking strong "bomb drinks" ("poktanju") became all the rage. Although bars and pubs have a steady flow of customers throughout the year, the busiest time is always towards the end of the year. In Korea, the end of a year holds a special meaning; it's a time of the year where co-workers, clubs and organizations, classmates, and any other organized groups will all get together to look back at the year they've spent together and toast to another year together.^^^
A typical night with a group of Koreans involves several "cha", phases of social activity. The first cha is usually a restaurant where people meet and have dinner together. Then the group moves to a bar, hof (beer garden) or a noraebang (karaoke) for the second cha. Sometimes the group moves to another bar for a third cha. Fourth and even fifth chas are not unusual. For the first cha, Korean barbeque meat restaurants are popular among Koreans, but any kind of restaurant is fine. ^^^
Drinking Customs and Etiquette in Korea
Drinking etiquette is important in Korea. Koreans usually don't start drinking until someone offers the toast "gumbi" — (dry glass). The Chinese and Japanese use the same word for their toasts. The word originated in Japan. Sometimes during holidays drinks are offered to deceased ancestors. The oldest person is usually served first or pours the glass first. It is not considered proper to pour the first glass unless you're the oldest person in the group or if you have the highest ranking social or work position. Also, it is polite to refrain from drinking until someone has poured your drink for you. Foreigners are generally considered guests and aren’t expected to do anything first so just go with flow and do what other people are doing, and if your unsure make eye contact with someone before you do something to make sure its okay. When drinking in front of an elder, it is polite to turn your head to the side when taking a shot or a sip instead of facing that person directly. As a foreigner if you feel this is awkward, you may just bow your head down slightly in respect. [Source: Inkas Admin, International Korean Adoptee Service Inc, August 14, 2013]
When drinking, one should not drink from the bottle or fill his or her own glass. The polite thing to do is fill someone else's glass using two hands and they in turn will fill yours. In some situations, it is rude to turn down a drink that is being offered to you. To avoid drinking to much keep you glass full. To avoid being rude accept a drink the first time it is offered to you by a particular individual. The second time he offers it is acceptable to politely say no.
When a person gives an alcoholic drink to an older person adults, he or she has to respectfully offer it with two hands. When receiving drinks from an older person again use two hands. Sometimes these rules apply to anyone. In Korea, whenever you receive something, whether it's a gift or a drink, it is considered polite to use two hands. So when someone is pouring you a drink, you should hold out your glass or shot with both hands. This goes for when you pour someone else a drink as well. You may hold the bottle with both hands when pouring, or you may hold the bottle with one hand and use the other hand to support that arm by folding it and placing that hand on the pouring arm's inner elbow. Fill empty cups immediately. In many cultures it is considered rude to not refill a person's glass before it is empty but in Korea you should wait until it is completely empty.
Korean women are not obliged to pour anyone's drink and in fact are discouraged from doing so. It is said that if a woman does this, it reflects poorly on her character as it is a reminder of the days when only women used to serve men in bars. In formal setting this rule may hold sway. Among friends rules are more relaxed and it is considered an acceptable practice.
Most Koreans eat food, known as anju while drinking. It usually consists of dried squid, French fries, sliced fruit, sweet and sour pork, or various kinds of seafood. Make sure to carefully place forks around the plate while eating anju. The traditional hangover soup consumed after a night of heavy drinking is called haejangguk.
Katarzyna J. Cwiertka wrote in the “Encyclopedia of Food and Culture”, “Alcohol is never drunk in Korea without elaborate snacking. Practically all side dishes can be served for this purpose and are called anju at such occasions. Anju can be small like French hors d'oeuvres or Spanish tapas but are not always small. Stews and large savory pancakes (chon), including vegetables, meat, and seafood, are typical snacks to accompany drinking. [Source: Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, “Encyclopedia of Food and Culture”, The Gale Group Inc., 2003]
Poktanju and Drinking Rituals in Korea
Korean look down on daytime drinking. “One shot” is the equivalent of “bottoms up.” Two shot glasses of soju in front of you is known as spectacles (two glasses look like a pair of glasses). The idea is knock them down quickly.
“Poktanju” (meaning “bomb liquor) is a kind of boilermaker with a glass of beer with a shot glass with whiskey inside. The drinkers drink both glasses at the same, preferably in one gulp, with the goal of getting drunk quickly. After the drinker is finishes he or she shakes the empty glass so the shot glass rattles inside. This is followed by claps from the drinker’s drinking companions. The person who ordered the drinks usually pays for them; the next person is expected to do the same. Those who do not want to participate — or are way past their limit — are sometimes forced to drink.
Choe Sang-Hun wrote in the New York Times: “Seasoned drinkers, of whom there are many in this hard-driving country, consider it the best way to liven up an evening. They even cite it as a key to South Korea's economic success - a surefire way of building productive camaraderie among employees of the country's mighty conglomerates.... Evening in, evening out, office workers chug bomb drinks shouting either "one shot!" in English, or "gun-bae" in Korean, meaning "dry your glass." Then they hold up the mug and shake it like a bell to prove that it is empty before passing it to the next drinker for whom it is replenished. The ritual takes the mug around the table again and again, turning a drinking session with South Koreans into a true test of stamina. [Source: Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times, August 27, 2005]
Poktanju culture boosted South Korea to one of the world’s top per capita whiskey consumers. As of the mid 2000s, South Koreans drank about US$1 billion worth of whisky a year. Ballantine’s 17 years was one of the most popular brands used in poktanju. Commercials were aired on television that urged drinkers to stop drinking poktanju “to keep ourselves steady.”
“Bomb drinks have their die-hard supporters. Hwang Chang Kyu, president of the semiconductor division of Samsung Electronics, was once quoted as saying that the key to Samsung's triumph over Japanese competitors had a lot to do with the drinking culture of Korean office workers, if not with the bomb itself. "Unlike Japanese workers who are said to go home right after work, South Korean workers come up with various excuses to go and have a few bombs," he reportedly said a few years ago. "Without the bomb drink, I don't think we could have built the teamwork we have. And it's not an exaggeration to say that we used our teamwork to offset disadvantages we had against the Japanese."
Banning 'the Bomb'
Choe Sang-Hun wrote in the New York Times: “There is a campaign here to discourage the concoction, which various critics have long condemned as a national scourge - a hazard to health and national productivity and a facilitator of corrupt back-room dealings. "It's widespread especially among politicians, government officials, businessmen, prosecutors and military officers, among the so-called leaders of society," said Park Jin, a legislator from Seoul and a member of the opposition Grand National Party. [Source: Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times, August 27, 2005]
Park initiated the campaign among lawmakers. After an evening of downing bomb drinks, "it's difficult to have a sound and fresh morning," Park said. He should know. Park admitted that he used to drink 5 to 10 mugs of the fiery mixture in one sitting. "You retch, run for medicine and sneak out to rest in a public bath house. It's not a productive way to spend a morning, whether you are in the government or in a business."
“So far, 40 lawmakers have forsworn the bomb drink in the National Assembly, among whose members the concoction is as much a tradition as are their famous political harangues on the legislature's floor. The country's economy and defense ministers are sponsors of the campaign. Separately, lawmakers are pushing a bill that would tighten penalties for drunken driving. The abstention drive comes as the drinking habits of some public figures have raised eyebrows. In recent months, politicians, prosecutors, judges and journalists have been humiliated after getting into drunken brawls, being caught driving under the influence or allegedly taking bribes during drinking bouts. In July, the prosecutor general, Kim Jong Bin, urged prosecutors to quit the bomb drink.
Pojangmachas, Hofs and Drinking Places in Korea
Beer is consumed in beer hall-style pubs called hofs and soju is often consumed in alleyway orange tents know as pojangmachas. There are a variety of other kinds of bars, including wine bars, jazz bars and places that specialize in specific kinds of alcoholic drinks. Most restaurants serve beer and soju. It is customary to eat food while drinking, and most bars and drinking establishments expect you order some side dishes to go along with your drinks. In many parts of Korea, bars are not allowed to stay open past midnight. Those that do stay open often are allowed to because their owners bribe the police.
Hof is the Korean version of a German beer hall, and is regarded as a typical Korean bar. Beer is the main drink, and the selection of beer is usually limited to Korean brands, but other kinds of drinks are also available. Hofs vary a great deal in atmosphere and price. Most serve pitchers of beer and customers are usually required to buy an anju food dish. Fried chicken and french fries are the most common items on the anju menu and prices are relatively inexpensive, with a 500cc mug of beer costing only about 4,000 to 6,000 won and anju ranging from around 12,000 to 20,000 won. [Source: Inkas Admin, International Korean Adoptee Service Inc, August 14, 2013 ^^^]
Min-sok-ju-jum (traditional Korean bars) are very similar to the Japanese izakaya. They typically have a wider selection of "anju" and Korean alcohols than a hof and are more expensive. Typical anju includes pajeon (a savory Korean pancake), spicy stews and stir-fried dishes. In addition to beer you can get soju, makgeolli and other kinds of rice wines. The amount of anju is usually very generous.
Nightclubs are generally very expensive and not very common outside of Seoul and Pusan. They often have a floor show and are located at major hotels. Discos are generally expensive. Koreans usually dance within a group instead of with partners. Guests usually pay for a table and are expected to buy food as well as drinks. Casinos can be found in about a dozen hotels in Seoul, Pusan and Cheju Island. Most of them primarily serve foreigners. Hostess Bars are where men pay extra for their drinks so that they can be flattered and served by young hostesses, who are generally not prostitutes. There are also host bars.
Hotel Bars are lounges or bars found in first class hotels. The atmosphere is cozy, and many of them are located on the top floors of hotels, where there are wonderful views of the city. Suljips are crowded, noisy, Korean-style bars where men go to drink soju and dong dong ju after a hard day of work. Noeraebongs are karaoke-style singing rooms. Very popular in South Korea, they consist of rooms large enough for a group of friends and are rented by the hour. You can bring own food and drinks. There are also karaokes.
Pojangmachas ("covered wagons") are unique Korean drinking establishments. They are small two wheeled carts protected by an orange tents. Koreans gather here to eat squid and barbecued chicken anuses, drink soju and beer and socialize. Most carts have wooden benches where the customers sit. These mobile restaurants were introduced during the Korean War (1950-53) when many buildings were destroyed and it was easy to throw up a tent. Most modern pojamachas are pretty basic but some have candelabras and piano players.
Pojangmachas typically seat about ten people. Often found along rivers, on sidewalks and in back alleys, they serve soju and , beer and often specialize in a certain kind of food. Korean seafood dishes, chicken dishes, and barbeque pork dishes are just some of the things you'll find on the anju menu. Although a pojangmachas look like they should be inexpensive, they often are not. Anju dishes and drinks are often more than they are in a bar. Make sure to ask in advance how much things cost. [Source: Inkas Admin, International Korean Adoptee Service Inc, August 14, 2013]
Drunks and Heavy Drinking in Korea
Many Korean men get so drunk they pass out on the streets and leave street pizza (patches of vomit) all over the sidewalks. Once on a ferry from Japan to Korea, I saw a Korean man get so drunk he started masturbating in a room with several hundred people and had to be carried away kicking and screaming by security guards.
According to the New York Times: “Knocking back... drinks is something of a national pastime in a country where the rate of car accidents caused by drunken driving is about 10-fold higher than any developed country, according to the Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004 by the World Health Organization. Alcohol-related traffic deaths in South Korea have increased an average of 12.7 percent a year. Over the years, studies have shown alcohol causing a significant amount of chronic liver disease among South Koreans. [Source: Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times, August 27, 2005]
When the Koreans get drunk their complexion becomes flushed, a trait they share with Japanese and other Asians. also share. About half of all Asians lack an active enzyme which breaks down acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical derived from ethanol found in most forms of alcohol. As a result when they drink they often get sick to their stomach, or at least turn red in the face. Most westerners have this enzyme; consequently they need to drink much more to feel its effects. [Source: Boyd Gibbons, National Geographic, February 1992]
Many woman drink for the first time when they are in university and have a difficult time holding their liquor. It is not unusual to see passed-out women dragged out of bars or discos, and sometimes women die from alcohol poisoning.
In 2012, South Korean soju and beer makers began placing warnings against drunken violence on their bottles Hite-Jinro, the nation's top maker of soju and the second-largest beer seller, said it began labelling soju and beer bottles sold in Seoul with messages reading: "No more drunken violence! Let's improve wrong drinking culture!" [Source: AFP Relaxnews, July 13, 2012]
AFP reported: “The joint campaign with Seoul police aims to curb alcohol-induced violence and other rowdy behaviour, a spokesman said. Street brawls, family violence and other crimes involving drinking are common. But courts often give lenient punishments to offenders who acted under the influence. In 2009 a court sentenced the rapist of a child to 12 years in prison, rejecting prosecution calls for a life sentence on the grounds the offender had been drinking. The decision sparked national fury. "We felt tremendously responsible for social problems caused by drinking... we will help with efforts to change our drinking culture to a more positive one," said a sales manager at Hite-Jinro, quoted in Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
The Korean hangover cure is a soup called haejangguk (“stew to cure a hangover”). Ingredients: 5 cups water, 10 dried anchovies, A piece of dried konbu/seaweed, about 4 inches square, 1/2 tsp. smashed garlic, 1 green chili, 1 tsp. salt, 2 fistfuls of sprouts. Sesame oil Instructions: 1) Pour the water into the pot and add the seaweed and anchovies. 2) Bring it to a boil; then discard the seaweed and anchovies. 3) Add the sprouts and boil for 1 minute; then add the garlic, salt and chili. [Source: Travel Channel]
Restaurants usually serve a brownish clear drink made from water mixed with barley or cooked rice. Many people drink the same thing at home. Ginseng drinks are popular as are various kinds of tea such as citron tea served with lemon slices and pine needles. Korea sells its own brands of soft drinks as well as Coke, Pepsi, and Fanta. A wide a variety of hot and cold drinks are available from vending machines which can be found everywhere in Korea.
Katarzyna J. Cwiertka wrote in the“Encyclopedia of Food and Culture”: “Porich'a, scorched-rice tea made by boiling water over the rice that sticks to the bottom of the cooking pot, used to be the most important daily beverage in Korea. Today, along with water, it remains an important drink to accompany meals. [Source: Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, “Encyclopedia of Food and Culture”, The Gale Group Inc., 2003]
According to the “Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World”: “Unlike China and Japan, Korea was never a tea-drinking nation. Historically, China and Japan had to boil their water for it to be fit to drink. Korea's water was pure, which led them to discover other beverages, such as ginseng and ginger drinks (made from herbs of the same name), wines, and spirits. Soo Chunkwa (ginger drink) is often served on joyous occasions during the winter, and especially at New Year's. [Source: “Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World”, The Gale Group, Inc., 2002]
Annual coffee consumption per capita: 1.28 kilograms (compared to 12 kilograms in Finland, 4.2 kilograms in the United States and .5 kilograms in Thail [Source: Wikipedia fusiontables.google.com ]
Types of Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Eumcheong is the name for non-alcoholic beverages in Korea. Korean soft drinks that have been around for a while include shik'e (sweet rice punch) and sujonggwa (cinnamon, persimmon punch) and crab-apple juice. Energy-giving tonics with ginseng, special mushrooms and antler shavings sold in tiny bottle are popular pick-me-uppers in South Korea.
▪. Among the well known non-alcoholic drinks in South Korea are: Bacchus-F (non-carbonated energy drink by the Dong-A Corporation); Cham Doo (cereal drink made from 15 grains produced by Lotte Chilsung); Chilsung Cider (colorless, lemon-lime soda produced by Lotte Chilsung); Coco (coconut-flavoured juice bottled by the OKF Corporation); Da Jun Moon Dynamic (energy drink produced by Lotte Chilsung); Ginseng Up (ginseng-infused health drink produced by Ilhwa Company Ltd.); Hi-Sec (grape and orange juices with fruit pieces distributed by Ilhwa Company Ltd.); Hong Gee Won (juice made from the Yong-Gee mushroom, produced by Ilhwa Company Ltd.); Hyeonmi Cha (made from roasted brown rice and sweeteners); ILAC (carbonated jelly drink and line of juices produced by Lotte Chilsung); [Source: Wikipedia]
Mega Vita Millennium McCol (cola made from barley, produced by Ilhwa Company Ltd.); Milkis (carbonated milk in five flavors produced by Lotte Chilsung, available internationally); Misofiber (apple-flavoured fiber drink produced by Ilhwa Company Ltd.); Natural Soda (mineral-rich soft drink produced by Ilhwa Company Ltd.); Pine Bud (pine leaf extract beverage produced by Lotte Chilsung); Richard's Cafe (pre-made coffee available in 6 flavours from the OKF Corporation); Sac's (three flavours of fruit juices produced by the OKF Corporation); Sikhe (traditional drink made from fermented rice produced by Lotte Chilsung); Sparkling (flavoured water available in 8 flavours from the OKF Corporation); Today's Tea (brand of teas in many flavours distributed by Lotte Chilsung); Vita 500 Vita Power (vitamin drink, available in two varieties, produced by Lotte Chilsung); Volcano (energy drink produced by the OKF Corporation). [Source: Wikipedia]
Tea in Korea
Drinking tea is not as big in Korea as it is in China and Japan. Annual tea consumption per capita: .17 kilograms (compared to 3.2 kilograms in Turkey;.23 kilograms in the United States .57 kilograms in China) [Source: Wikipedia Wikipedia ]
The indigenous Chinese tea plant Camellia sinensis, the source of white, green, oolong, pu-erh, and black teas, arrived with the spread of Buddhism from China (ancient Yue) in the late Three Kingdoms period (about 1,100 years ago). Tea gained some popularity and a variety of different teas were created, leading to the development of a unique tea culture that is specific to Korea. When the Joseon Dynasty (late 14th century) began, Confucianism overtook Buddhism, and in time, tea consumption declined, replaced by beverages like sikhye and sujeonggwa. It wasn’t until years later in the 1960s-1980s that tea started to reclaim its title as one of the nation’s favorite beverages and became more readily available. [Source: Korea Tourism Organization visitkorea.or.kr\=/]
Among the common teas consumed in Korea are green tea, ginseng tea, herbal tea, ginger tea, arrowroot tea, Chinese quince fruit tea, marmalade tea, citron teas and various grain teas. Shi quan da bu cha is an herbal tea said to have medicinal benefits such as warming the body and helping reduce anemia. Simmered for up to eight hour, it is made from more than 10 tyes of oriental herbs, including jujube red dates and walnuts. On hot days gokkam ju jeong gwa is recommended, It is a cold, sweet drink made from dried persimmons, ginger and cinnamon. [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun]
There are four types of traditional teas in Korea: green tea, medicinal herb tea, fruit-based tea, and grain-based tea. Saenggangcha (ginger tea), insamcha (ginseng tea), and ssanghwacha (medicinal tea) are teas made of medicinal herbs or other traditional ingredients. Fruit-based teas include daechucha (jujube tea), yujacha (citron tea), omijacha (Schizandra tea), mogwacha (Chinese quince tea), and maesilcha (plum tea). Grain-based teas include yulmucha (adlay tea) and boricha (barley tea). Teas from dried flowers or leaves can be made by boiling the flowers or leaves for 3 to 5 minutes. Teas from fruits, roots, or bark are brewed for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on whether the ingredients are whole or in powdered form. If the tea includes hard seeds or a mixture of various herbs, the boiling time will be longer. Tea is best prepared using soft water with a low mineral content and containers made of glass or ceramic, not metal. \=/
Coffee Shops and Tea Houses in Korea
Coffee Shops are different from their counterparts in the West. Customers come her to relax over a cup of coffee and many coffee shops specialize in a certain kind of music such as classical music, hard rock or jazz. They serve desserts but not meals.
Tabangs are tea houses and have traditionally been places where people hang out and socialize and have relaxed conversations. Korean teahouses vary quite a bit from place to place. They typically charge around US$4 ot US$5 dollars for tea and rice sweets and offer black tea, 10-herb mixture (“good for a lift”), ginseng tea, quince tea. ginger tea and plum tea (“for relief from fatigue”).
Describing the ritual at a Korean tea house presided over by a paengju, or tea maker, dressed in a long silk robe, Jonathan Kandell wrote in Smithsonian, “From an intensely heated stone pot, the paengju ladles boiling water into a small ceramic tea vessel and then pours more steaming water over the outside of the vessel to keep it near boiling as the tea brews. The first brew is tossed out because it contains dust and other detritus that cling to the tea leaves during the tea’s long fermentation. Over several subsequent brews, we savor the rich, earthy taste of the dark red tea. The heated floor, a tradition of Korean houses, keeps my legs from cramping and adds to the tea’s comforting effect.”
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.
Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in July 2021