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Saturday, February 14, 2004

(Korea nostalgia) Makkôlli in Chônju (Jeonju)

The brisk, cool taste of makkôlli is something I sometimes miss being away from Korea; most of the other tastes are available here. One can get even soju by adding 1/3 of water to vodka-like liquors, but it's something I've grown away from lately. But a bowl of cold makkôlli after a sweaty mountain climbing! These reminiscenses come from an Ohmynews travel article, in which the writer visits Chônju (Jeonju)
막걸리 탁주(濁酒)는 농주(農酒)로도 불리며, 노동주(勞動酒) 또는 서민주(庶民酒)로서 소주(燒酒)와 함께 오랜 동안 사랑을 받아왔다. 예로부터 '밀주'라는 것이 '밀'로 담근 술이어서가 아니라 관청의 미곡(米穀) 절약 차원에서 단속이 심하여 끊고는 살 수 없거나 농사와 제사 축제 때 꼭 필요한 음식이라 비밀리에 또는 처절하게 몰래 숨겨가며 가양주(家釀酒)로 담가먹던 '밀주(密酒)'라는 뜻이다.

Tongtongju of Chônju ⓒ2004 김규환 (Picture linked from Ohmynews)

The writer refers above to the situation in which makkôlli had to be brewed and drunk in secret from authorities, who were responsible of the enforcement of rice saving measures. That gave makkôlli yet anothe name, milju (密酒), "secret liquor". The novelist Jo Jung-rae (Cho Chông-nae) in his Han'gang also writes of the makkôlli brewed of other than rice (was it wheat?), which had no taste. My mother-in-law is supposed to brew tasty makkôlli - too bad I haven't yet gotten to taste it.

(For Finnish speakers, "riisikilju" is what best defines the drink.
Alcohol and Korea - that is a lengthy subject, something to have an entire blog about.

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