Burdock 우엉 Monday Market
Recognize this plant? If you’re British, it is fairly common and though simply a thistle to many, burdock, is a household name to most adults over 40. Burdock is a biennial plant the flower heads of which are burrs. When I was a boy these were infamous for sticking to your clothes and hair. However, since the advent of paedo-paranoia and personal computers, I would imagine younger generations have little experience of them. Incidentally, it were these burrs and the plant seeds that inspired George de Mestral to investigate their properties in the 1940’s and which subsequently led to the invention of Velcro.
In Britain, Burdock is probably most renowned as an ingredient in Dandelion and Burdock drink which has been popular in the UK since the 13th century and though it never had the same appeal as Coca-Cola or Pepsi, it joins the ranks of cult classics such as Tizer and Irn Bru. Burdock has various uses in herbal medicine. In Britain, it was also used as a food but today this practice lies in the domain of the more adventurous. (Burdock recipes UK)
In Korea, burdock taproot is a fairly common sight both in street markets and supermarkets and a bundle of whole root (통우엉),will cost around 2000-3000 Won (£1-£1.50.) The roots are used to make various side dishes and as a vegetable in soups etc.
Burdock root as a pleasant taste, is slightly crunchy with a little woody texture and a nutty-earthy taste.
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