Simple and Filled with Devotion to be Even Beautiful
Ninety Nine Partitions, Traditional Food of Seongyojang
It is the beauty of our Korean-style house. At the Korean-style house, the stories of simple people are melted down as much as the breath of maintaining time. Same goes for the Seongyojang located at Woonjeong-dong, Gangneung of Gangwon Province. Seongyojang is a house where the art of Korean-style house is revealed well. More people visit during summer vacation and people keep visiting here even in winter pouring with snow. Seongyojang built during Joseon Dynasty is graceful and has elegance. The ninth descendant couple of Gang Baek Lee and Ju Yeon Hong are maintaining this place until now.
Her mother in law taught her family food such as ‘Tofuseon’ or ‘Jeonchesu’. She says that “my mother in law used to scold me if there are even few centimeters of error while slicing radishes or ingredients. She taught me by saying try it like this, try it like that, take it out and slice it. She used to say ‘okay’ when the food was delicious after I seasoned it. She used to yell out that the score is 100”. Her grandmother in law was also good at cooking
‘Tofuseon’ with Tender Scent of Nature that Has Overcome Time
They say ‘seon’ in a word ‘Tofuseon’ is a name originated from ‘something which is good for our body’. It is a unique food which only exists in our country. It is a traditional food of boiling or steaming for a short period of time after putting in minced beef with pumpkin, cucumber and eggplant as filling. The ‘Tofuseon’ of this family is nicely filled with the scent of nature. The beef, chicken and manna lichen densely packed between soft tofu provide chewy sense. One chunk of Tofuseon is a nutritional food for inland expedition to last for several days. Ms. Hong says “the seasoning is only done with salt. I use the salt by purchasing bay salt taking out the bittern and stir frying the sale. “I rarely use sugar. I use the persimmon tree at the back of Seongyojang. While the water drains if I put ripe persimmons in the basket, I use this”. The food of head family of Seongyojang is a well-being slow food.
‘Jeonchesu’, the Food Even Filled with Dignity by Making with Devotion
There is dignity in ‘Jeonchesu’ made with devotion. While ‘Jeonjesu’ stands for shish kebob roasted by seasoning whole chicken, pheasant or fish, this family makes it with chicken legs. It is roasted by marinating overnight after making knife marks on the chicken legs and putting in various seasonings. The top part is wrapped with Korean paper to be easily eaten. “The ancestors in the past didn’t like their hands stained with oil. So they made handle with paper of various colors.
Ms. Hong came to this place from Seoul in 1992. Her husband Mr. Gang Baek Lee was a devoted son. He came to his mother Ki Hee Seong’s side when his father Ki Jae Lee has passed away in 1980. His mother was more than 70 years old at the time. The eighth eldest housewife Ki Hee Seong was a famous figure in Gangneung. She maintained Seongyojang and participated in various activities such as tea culture exchange mission. Mr. Gang Baek Lee opened the Seongyojang following the life of his mother.
“When I came down here in 1992, the house was leaking, tiles were falling down and had ill appearance. I planted and trimmed flowers thinking about my grandmother who used to like flowers.” He thought Seongyojang should be made into ‘the house where guests come and the place to communicate with people’. He is making effort for the old houses to become places of communication by creating ‘Korea Old House Cultural Property Owners Council’.