Elwood 5566

Monday Market – A Mixed Bag of Seasonal Interests

Posted in Monday Market (Theme) by 노강호 on April 7, 2011

For the last month I’ve been waiting for the appearance of mistletoe and durup in the street markets. Durup (두룹), aralia elatia can sometimes be found in places like E-Mart but it is usually on the expensive side if out of season. Mistletoe (겨우사리), viscum album coloratum, is something I’ve never seen in supermarkets, not even in tea bag form and many Koreans don’t even know what it is.

fresh mistletoe – 10.000 won (five pounds UK) which I’m told is a little expensive.

I’ve had a bag of mistletoe (dried branches and leaves) in my fridge for the last year and used it regularly during the summer when made as a tea, and chilled, it is wonderfully refreshing. Last year’s bag I purchased in May and it was already dried. Yesterday however, I saw the first bags of mistletoe and they were fresh so this morning I boiled the last of my old batch and will try the new ones in a few days. After which I will simply lay them on newspaper on my veranda and dry them out for the forth coming year.

Warning – there are many varieties of mistletoe and I’ve read the berries, possibly in European varieties if not further afield, are poisonous.  Apparently, ewes abort their young if they graze on fallen mistletoe! If you are a reader outside Korea I would be very cautious about making tea out of the next batch you see.

durup (두룹) aralia elatia

Durup, for which I can find no common English name, costs between 3000-5000W (£1.50 – £2.50) a bowl and is surprisingly tasty with a mildly nutty taste. I generally blanch them and eat them with red pepper sauce (초고추장), which can be bought ready made like tomato sauce, or with swirled in sesame oil, minced garlic and sesame seeds with a little soy sauce. I use them as a side dish. They can also be used in kimbap and pancakes but I have not tried such variations. I would imagine there are numerous other ways of using them.

a street vendor selling durup

Durup and Misteltoe will appear in street markets until about mid May after which they are difficult to find though I would imagine large markets will have dried mistletoe all year. Both are worth trying.

Don’t forget that mugwort (쑥 – sook), artemesia asiatica and mong-gae (멍개), ‘sea squirt,’ are also currently prolific.

mong-gae, or sea squirt (멍개), a delight of the deep?

For my previous posts on posts on these seasonal items, click:

durup

mistletoe

sea-squirt

mugwort

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

FURTHER REFERENCES

Mistletoe Magic (Telegraph Newspaper. UK.  Dec. 2010)

Bathhouse Basics (8): The ‘Special Event Pool’ (이벤트탕)

Posted in bathhouse and jjimjilbang culture, bathhouse Basics by 노강호 on September 19, 2010

a ‘special event pool’ (이벤트탕)

I’ve always found e-bente-tangs to be the biggest disappointment in bathhouses and always a tongue-in-cheek anti-climax. I can remember sitting in e-bente-tangs in the past, waiting for something to happen and rarely anything did. Most often, the ‘event’ I anticipated was already in play. Don’t let the title mislead you, e-bente-tang are much like the ‘Korean holiday,’ or ‘final exam,’ by which I mean they are usually the opposite of what they claim to be.

Special event pools outside

E-bente-tang are smaller sized pools which are usually mid range in terms of temperature and which  have some added feature  such as: coloured or scented water or coloured lighting radiating from within the pool. They may also uses a combination of features or have  the capabilities of a jacuzzi.The most frequent colours are green, red or blue and the most common scents are ginseng, lavender, berry, herb, mugwort (쑥) and pine.

Coloured water ‘event’ pools’

Despite being less eventful than the name suggests, e-bente-tang are great places to relax and are often one  of the pools in which you can languish for long periods without getting too hot or cold. The addition of coloured water or aromas adds  a touch of pampering to the experience.

Creative Commons License© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

High on Mugwort (쑥) Artemisia Asiatica

Posted in herbs and 'woods', oriental Medicine by 노강호 on May 16, 2010

After using mugwort in various soups, I decided to use it for the purpose of eliciting deep and prophetic dreams, which in the little research I did on this herb, is one of its claimed properties. You can find an interesting link for ‘dream pillows’ in my original article (mugwort). I bought two large bags of fresh mugwort, each the size of a carrier bag which I subsequently dried on my apartment floor after spreading them fairly thinly on newspaper. The drying process took about 5 days, each day, turning the ‘leaves’ to minimise the chance of decomposition. They entire two loads dried quickly with no decomposition at all. What started out as a large amount of mugwort quickly shriveled to around a quarter of the original proportion.

This was originally one entire carrier bag load of mugwort. it significantly reduces when dried.

I bought a small pillow, cost 4000W (£2) and taking out the inner pouch opened it and removed the filling. This I then replaced with the dried mugwort.

bagging the mugwort

In then replaced the inner pouch, now stuffed with dried mugwort, back into the original pillow. This in then inserted inside the larger pillow on my bed.

The 'dream pillow' - ready to go!

Now, strangely, as the mugwort was drying in my room, and it was quite a smell, like decomposing grass cuttings. I awoke one morning and instantly recalled a vivid dream about a boy who had left our school  a few months earlier. Why I dreamt about him, I don’t know but I subsequently forgot the dream and started my day. However, in the evening, as I was about to leave school, my boss told me that this boy is due to return to our school later in the week. Suddenly, I remembered my dream. Yes, strange!

I subsequently slept using the ‘dream pillow’ for around a week before removing it. I have a theory that the smell of mugwort, which is reminiscent of lying on a pile of grass cuttings, actually interferes with your deep sleep, causing you to hover over the kind of sleep during which dreams are more easily recalled. So, I don’t want to dismiss mugwort as a dream enhancers as total ‘crystal crap,’ because of the one odd, and vivid dream I did have. So,  next I want to try sleeping with the bag after the smell no longer wakes me up.

Tagged with: , ,