Green Tea Bibimbap, Naengmyeong, Ice Cream…
In the area around Boseong, many dishes have green tea added to them. When you pass the gates of the tea fields, you are sure to find some green tea ice cream. There isn’t anything special about this particular green tea ice cream, and the centre is empty. Not a great value at 1,500 won.
The second Daehan tea field sells green tea mung bean buns. Supposedly 3,000 won for four, they gave me five. This made me feel like I was getting my money’s worth.
As far as proper meal food goes, the restaurants serving food inside and outside of the tea fields appear to have similar menus. They all have green tea bibimbap, for instance. The preparation is quite different though. Inside the first tea field, a restaurant serves green tea bibimbap and green tea naengmyeon amongst other things. I didn’t even need to ask for them to be made vegetarian – they came without meat. The bibimbap was green tea on account of the way the rice was cooked. The broth of the naengmyeon had green tea added to it.
Outside, the style of bibimbap was quite different. No green tea flavouring in the rice itself, but tea leaves appeared to be in the mixture of vegetables I would stir the rice into. The side dishes were more generous. Rather than water, I got a pitcher of average quality green tea. I also bought a cup of a more expensive kind of green tea, though there were not enough leaves to make the flavour strong, even after letting it seep for a long time.
I also took home quite a bit of green tea. If you go bargain hunting in Insadong in Seoul, you pay about a third more than you’d pay in Boseong. In other words, not worth it if you are just buying 1 or 2 boxes combined with the cost of bus tickets (nearly 30,000 won each way). Unfortunately, to get the good tea, even in Boseong I have to purchase all the excess packaging as well. In addition to the high quality teas, I got green tea seed oil. It is apparently good to put on salads. It has a burning point double that of olive oil, but given how much it costs, I wouldn’t fry with it on a regular basis. Finally, the last item in the pictures below is green tea chunggukjang, a fermented bean powder very similar to Japanese natto in flavour and health benefits.