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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Jeungdo Island, Sinan, Southern Jeolla: Get Salty in this Slow City.


Jeungdo Island (Hanja: 曾島), a renowned ecological tourism destination in the commune of Jeungdo-myeon, Sinan County, Southern Jeolla Province is the 7th largest of the 1,004 islands in the region. Designated in 2007 as a Slow City, it boasts totally unpolluted land and water and expansive mudflats. Its attractions include Taepyeong Salt Farm, Korea’s largest single salt farm, and the Salt Museum, located by the farm’s entrance, where visitors can learn in detail about the manufacturing process of salt. The observatory at the back of Taepyeong Salt Farm provides panoramic views of the vast seashore and a picturesque village. Around the salt farm stand around 60 weathered salt storage buildings, giving an atmospheric feel. 

Jeungdo was designated as a Slow City (first in Asia) thanks to this time-honored salt farm with its rich history. Sinan is also famous for its treasure. A fleet of ships carrying treasure is known to have sunk in the past. They were uncovered from the seas near Jeungdo in the 1970s.

Jeungdo began to produce salt around 1950. Jeungdo's sea salt has a high mineral content and exceptional taste. It is harvested by hand in the traditional way, which is the same method used by the upscale French sea salt brand, Guerande. Seawater is dried in shallow pools using only the sun and the wind. Jeungdo’s Sea salt can be purchased both in bulk and in small individual packages. Unlike processed table salt, it is rich in minerals and beneficial for your health. Recently, a new product has been released; sea salt flavored with dried seaweed. 

Jeungdo is acclaimed for its wide selection of fresh gourmet seafood, which includes sea bass and gamseongdom (or black porgy). Many restaurants serve hoe (sliced raw fish or sashimi, as it’s more generally known) and maeuntang (spicy stew made with fish, vegetables and ground red chili), which are the two seafood dishes most enjoyed by Koreans. Some also offer namdo jeongsik (a full course meal accompanied by steamed rice, kimchi and a variety of side dishes), as well as dishes made with nakji (a type of octopus with slim tentacles) that are caught from the Jeungdo mudflats. 

Keep in mind that most Jeungdo residents are Christians (Catholics, maybe?), and thus many restaurants and shops are closed on Sundays. Prepare your own meals or search in advance for restaurants that will be open if you plan to visit Jeungdo on Sunday. In addition, Jeungdo is non-smoking island. No wonder that those groceries around the island do not sell cigarettes. However, there are handful of Jeungdo people who smoke even though 80% of the residents are non-smokers.