Korean Noms – Pajeon
Recently, we took another short drive up to Suncheon, the city just north of us. We love taking day trips there as we are constantly discovering new things to see and do. This time, the game plan was to go to the Naganeupseong Folk Village just west of the city.
The folk village is surrounded by a fortress that was first built in 1397 and there are still around 100 families that live there. The majority of the residents are, in some way, linked to the tourism of Naganeeupseong and host various attractions at their houses from pottery making to portraits in traditional Korean garb.
Getting there took us down a winding highway through the mountains and the views were stunning. Sounds of drums greeted us when we arrived and we hurried off in the direction of that alluring sound. Just outside the fortress walls we found a troop of dancers playing instruments and performing a dance in a large park. Wearing the performer regalia from the Joseon Dynasty, their presence, performance, and joyful smiles were a welcome sight as we entered the historical village.
Being late Autumn, the leaves were just starting to change. With such beautiful scenery, we walked through the village and along the fortress walls for quite some time. The village is comprised of two types of hanok houses. Giwajip (houses with tiled roofs) occupied by the nobility and chogajip (houses with straw-thatched roofs) inhabited by the peasantry. As we passed by one chogajip, the smell of pajeon filled the air.
Pajeon is something you don’t pass up. Ever. This Korean pancake dish is made from green onions and pan fried. It is simplistic and oh so good. Typically served wherever there are hikers, it is the perfect post-hike snack. Other ingredients, depending on the variety of pajeon, include seafood, meat, and vegetables. Many people eat pajeon as a type of anju, food you eat whilst drinking. The best drink to go with your pajeon is of course, makgeolli. Makgeolli is a type of rice wine that has a milky white color and is typically about 6-8% alcohol.
The pajeon being served was haemul pajeon, which simply means a seafood version of this pancake. Typically, it is not our favorite, but this time it was to die for. The makgeolli was actually dongdongju, which has a higher alcohol content. Though we tried to eat slowly for maximum enjoyment, it was soon devoured.