Korean Eating: Cheongsong’s Iron Fix
Usually when one travels, whether or not the water is drinkable is a question that is high on the list of queries to be answered before departing. If the water is not, more money for buying bottled water and probably some medicine for the side effects of accidentally consuming some water should be packed. Heading down to Cheongsong, Korea, this was not a question that had topped the list, nor should it have.
However, the water in the area does have a peculiarity unlike water in the rest of the country in that it comes naturally carbonated and packed with iron.
Though carbonated, it does not come out tasting like sprite or cider, it’s just bubbly water without the sugar or flavor added. It is said to be great for treating anemia, skin issues and digestive disorders. People from across the country flock to the area to enjoy the mineral spring spas and to eat a unique dish called dalgi baeksook, or a spring chicken boiled in the mineral water to take advantage of the healthy benefits.
The special water is called dalgi yaksu and baeksook means boiled chicken. The water that is high in iron tenderizes the chicken and once the rice is added it turns a slight bluish hue and becomes a bit more sticky than normal. Ginseng, turmeric, and other fresh herbs are added to create a delicious and fulfilling meal. Add to the table some fresh mountain vegetables, other produce from the surrounding county and it makes for an amazing meal that truly shows off why Cheongsong meets the requirements of a Slow City.
A ‘Slow City’ refers to an area where the natural environment and traditions are well preserved, and the residents pursue sustainable development in harmony with nature and back in 2011 Cheongsong was given this well deserved designation from the Cittaslow International Organization. Everywhere you look the residents have maintained their traditions from preserving their white porcelain producing history and continuing to harvest delicious apples to eating and living a healthy and happy lifestyle. This city is truly off the beaten path, but worth a healthy visit.