During a recent trip to Ganghwa Island with Hana Tour ITC, we planned to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). However, due to heavy fog, we made our way down countryside roads to Farm Story (왈순아지매)*, a quiet little farmhouse that offers cooking classes with various local flavors. We were about to embark on a seaweed making experience.
In the driveway stood a friendly ahjumma 아줌마, a Korean auntie, who ushered us inside her makeshift kitchen. She explained that she grew all of the vegetables and collected all of the seafood from her own backyard. Looking behind us, we could see how this was true, as the surrounding landscape was pure countryside. Seeing this only made us more excited to get cooking.
First, visitors will wear proper kitchen attire: rubber gloves, a face mask, and a hair net. You will then spread a layer of chapssal 찹쌀, sticky rice, over dried vegetables, seaweed sheets, and fish. I went for dried pumpkin, beets, and seaweed – skip the pollock, fellow veg heads!
Following this, the guide will demonstrate how these become dehydrated in a process that takes around 6 hours. As we did’nt have 6 hours to kill, she provided us with some she had dried yesterday. This is why advanced booking is highly recommended!
Using a deep fryer is not for everyone, so please don’t feel pressured to do so. If you’re feeling brave, you can flip each piece until the coating becomes a bubbly, white shell around the snacks. Leave them to soak on a sheet of paper towel, and you’ve got yourself the perfect mid-day snack.
We munched on our treats over a cup of incredible turnip tea, which visitors can also purchase. Like old friends meeting after several months, we chatted with the auntie about her life on the island. She happily told us about her family, running a farm, and her passion for food.
Farm Story is a wonderful way to start the day on Ganghwa Island. The food and tea were both outrageously delicious, and it was even better knowing that we made it ourselves. The seaweed making experience is also fun and relaxing, with little to no pressure. It also helped that it was a truly authentic experience, with a final result that was as wonderful as our kind-hearted teacher.
*The Korean name comes from a comic strip publication that lasted from 1958 to 2002.
Address: 인천 강화군 강화읍 월곳리 171-1 | 171-1 Wolgot-ri Gwanghwamun-eup Gwanghwamun-gun Incheon
Opening Hours: By reservation