2.5 months in Seoul, South Korea
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Ganjang Gongjang
"간장공장 공장장은 공장장이고 된장공장 공장장은 된공장장이다”
"Ganjang gongjang gongjangjang-un gan-gongjangjang-eego dwenjang gongjang gongjangjang-un dwengongjangjang-eeda"

Say it really fast.. can you do it?

Ganjang = soy sauce , one of the most consumed products in Asia
Gongjang = factory
(dwenjang is soy bean paste)

Sempio is the top producer of soy sauce in Asia. Yesterday my class went to the Sempio factory, located in the countryside, to see how soy sauce is made!

The first thing we saw was boxes and boxes of Sempio soy sauce, being prepared for delivery to everywhere from Germany to Seoul.

When we walked into the conference building we got to try one of Sempio's new products, a cold drink made out of.... VINEGAR.
Yes, vinegar. It also contains black honey. It's surprisingly really good-- sweet, sour, and cold. The rice vinegar drink is supposed to have lots of uses-- an everyday health drink, a mixer with soju, and a hangover remedy.

Can you tell which one is the real person...?

Haha, we all had to wear white hair nets and lab coats for the tour:

Looking up at the giant soybean silos.. they put the soybeans in here to ferment and grow bacteria! Then when the beans are all furry and white with live cultures, Sempio boils them for consumption. Hm... I never knew that I was eating live bacteria in my soy sauce and bean paste.

My 3 Sunsengneems (teachers). From right to left- writing teacher, reading teacher, and speaking teacher. Awww, so cute ^.^

The presentation that Sempio gave us at the beginning was somewhat boring... also I only understood about 60% of it. Here's part of it in video format below... turn up your volume and see if you can decipher what she's saying:

Then we watched a BIZARRE British animated movie about a woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to an infant which immediately dies. Here's a particularly shocking scene:

Yes, you are seeing multiple knives plunge into a baby! The woman's imagining things that could happen to her yet unborn child, such as electrocution, suffocation in a plastic bag, and death by being burned under a spilled pot of boiling oil on the stovetop. ^.^; This was part of a cultural film festival thing.

No photos were allowed inside of the actual factory... basically there were big vats of steaming, fermenting, or roasting soybeans. The smell was yummy!

And then it was time for lunch, which we ate in the Sempio cafeteria.

Jun is so happy he's dancing while deciding what to eat.

Ca-uri's quite pleased as well!

Okay, I admit that I was probably the happiest =p

Seriously, I have to get a job at Sempio just so I can eat in the employee cafeteria.. you get reallllyy good kimchi, just the way I like it: not too fermented or soggy, fresh tasting with lots of crunchy little baby pieces. You also get the "yulmoo kimchi", or summer kimchi, fried salted pieces of kelp, these little hush-puppy type things with ketchup, curry rice, and dwenjang chigae (stew) made from Sempio's best bean paste. Mmm..

Our class:

It's called the Angel Class because we're just that great O:-)
....actually it's because we meet in room 1004. The number 1004 is pronounced chun-sa (chun means 1000 and sa means 4). And chunsa means angel in Korean... haha.. because we're *soooo well-behaved* ^.^;;

When it was time to leave, we each got a present from Sempio:

Containers of soy sauce, bean paste, dipping paste, red pepper paste, and Solomon's seal tea! All of my favorite Korean foods.. I just have to go to Grand Mart and buy some cucumbers and red leaf lettuce to eat with them.

Food factories aren't generally on tourists' top attractions, but they can be a lot more interesting than museums or nature scenes! If you come to Korea, I definitely recommend going to one :) Plus you get free food..

I'll post about last night in a bit.. Koreans v. Swiss >.<


posted by Jane @ 12:24 AM  
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