the World Heritage – the Hahoe folk village in Korea
The first time I heard about Andong this place is from a famous dish – Andong jjimdak(안동찜닭 安東燉雞) which you can found easily in Seoul. And I also heard something about an unique mask from villages there.
After checking some information about the folk village on internet, I did plan to visit there, but the complex public traffic made me hesitate.Luckily, my Korean friend suddenly came out the idea of visiting the Hahoe folk village in Andong where his hadn’t been yet. And that’s the beginning of our adventure in Andong.
How to go there?
It took us 3-4 hrs driving from Seoul to Andong. One thing really impressed is the highway rest stop. I thought highway rest stops in Taiwan are good enough.Even it is a little bit dirty sometimes, but with food court, convenience stores and toilets, aren’t these all people need for a rest stop?
The highway rest stop in Korea is like a small department store, no kidding. The food court is super clean and even with high-tech to display the pictures, price and calories ..of food on the screen. Many shops around for snack , clothes and drink ,.sometimes I even thought I am back to the city! We stopped to have some Korean food and had a cup of citron tea in the cold winter.
What to see?
The coldest weather in Taipei is around 9 degree, so places to see the snow in Taiwan are few high mountains on specific time only.On the way from the parking lot to the folk village, we walked through a small forest covered by snow and also saw the sunset. Amazing! Even it was freezing, I was still excited to be surrounded by this winter scene.
The Hahoe folk village (하회마을) is listed as the World Heritage by South Korea and UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The word Hahoe means swirling river. This village is built in 16th in Joseon Dynasty. And till now, the village is still well-preserved many of its ancient scene and original structures. I would say that these building structures are really similar to Chinese ones , and I also saw many Chinese words! What surprised me was seeing a Confucian(孔子)school!
Another interesting thing was couplets pasted on the door. These were written on WHITE paper instead of the red one! There is a big tree with white ribbons, my friend told me these are for praise and worship. However, in Chinese culture, we only use white couplets or white ribbon if someone ..died…oops. The culture differences still can be seen from these small parts.
The folks art such as Hahoe mask for traditional dance drama is also well-preserved here. The dance is a shamanist rite to honor the communal spirits of the village. There is a Hahoe mask dance drama festival in the end of Sep every year, which is also a great time to visit here.
What to eat?
As what I introduced in the beginning, Andong jjimdak(안동찜닭) is one the famous dish from this area. In Korean, Jjim(찜) is a term to describe a Korean cuisine cooked by steaming in the broth to reduce the liquid and make the taste stronger. For better flavour, the most important step is to marinate ingredients like meat, chicken and fish in a soup or Korean sauce first. And Dak (닭) is the word for chicken in Korean. So just from the name ,it is easy to understand this dish, right? The steamed chicken of Andong.
The dish is cooked with Chicken , various vegetables, Cheongyang chili (청양고추) and noodles or green beans noodles. But people can order a non-spicy one you cant eat any spicy food.
For me, the taste of Andong jjimdak is kind of close to a Taiwanese dish my mom often cooked, which is by red cooking(滷, or Chinese stewing) and mixing with a special taste of Korean spiciness. The way my mom cooked is with chicken marinated with Taiwanese soy sauce , and variety vegetable like carrots, Chinese pepper chili and onions.
My final note..
Actually, I thought I will die there….hahaha! It was too cold for me, and I was freezing in the end. But I have to say the trip is truly amazing. Those ancient villages has showed a totally different image of Korea. From Seoul the here, from big and trendy buildings to houses made by wood and grass, I felt like taking a time machine back and jumped into 16th century. It is a totally different world but only takes 3-4 hrs to come. The village covered by snow was so quite. We spent some time to walk around and studying it’s beauty and history. I was so lucky to have chance to visit this amazing places.
Last but not least, my dear friend , thank you for driving me there! I start to miss those adventures we had as writing this blog! 빨리 만나요!!