Every Corner of Korea

Mungyeong saejae taste of old memories - Mungyeong, Gyeongbuk, South Korea

Acorn Mukjo Rice and Cheongpo Mukjo Rice

Mungyeong saejae taste of old memories

Mungyeong, Gyeongbuk, South Korea

Mungyeong Saejae is the highest and steepest bridge connecting Seoul and Yeongnam, and many people have passed through and left many stories. Although Seonbi and Bobusang were mainly visited, there were people who relied on the harsh mountainous landscape of Mungyeong Saejae. In difficult times, they ate rice with field crops and acorns such as jo and mung beans, and the old taste is saejaemukjobap. Let's enjoy the special taste of Mungyeong Saejae, now a delicacy.

People who lived on Mungyeong Saejae, and Somunan Restaurant

Mungyeong Saejae is a place where people's footsteps never stop. Although there are no people living inside Mungyeong Saejae now, there were people who leaned on Mungyeong Saejae just a few decades ago. Most of the people who lived in the mountains were able to obtain rice easily because they had farmed fields such as crude, green beans, and red beans. The field crops were sold to the market to buy rice, dried herbs and picked up acorns to save the long winter. Since the situation was so bad, it was difficult to stuff a meal with rice instead of rice. Eating a full meal was harder than a year-round event. Joe, mung beans, and acorns were the food for them.

Since ancient times, acorns have been eaten together with grated rice. It also helped to reduce the gluttony of the rice and save food. On the other hand, mung beans were one of the high-quality ingredients that were used to serve precious customers even in poverty. Mung beans were precious and expensive to harvest. It is said that the green beans made from mung beans were one of the foods that were served at the groom's house when they married. When the daughter was married, the parents took the daughter to her son-in-law and stayed overnight. At this time, at the groom's house, they prepared snacks and chestnuts, as well as every meal. It was an expression of gratitude for giving a daughter who had been raised for decades to someone else's house.
Saejaemukjobap is a food that contains the hard life of the people of Mungyeong Saejae. Located at the entrance of Mungyeong Saejae, the 'Somun Nansikdang' (054-572-2255) is serving a new jaemu-jok-bap with an old couple who passed over seventy. The story goes back to the 1970s, when the old couple lived in Sangcho-ri, inside the main hall of Mungyeong Saejae. They lived in Mungyeong Saejae and opened a restaurant only 15 years ago. However, it has been over 40 years since I started serving mukjo rice to customers. In the background where Saejae Mukjobab was born, Mungyeong Saejae played a part. In the 1970s, the number of people looking for Mungyeong Saejae increased rapidly, but there was no place to solve a meal. The old couple started to serve to the guests with acorn rice and cheongpo-muk mixed with white rice in the way they always ate. This was the beginning of the rumored restaurant.
It was also a visitor to Saejae who gave a name to a restaurant that had no name changed. In the mid-1980s, there were people visiting Mungyeong Saejae on the weekend. It was a man who started working at Mungyeong Saejae when his company became difficult and his health worsened while doing a big business in Seoul. Every time he visited Saejae, he placed a shochu and a gun at the Sanshingak under the third gate and bowed in hopes that things would go well. When I came down to Mungyeong Saejae, I always stopped by an old couple's house and ate rice, but he said that the food tasted good and praised him. Then one day, he named the restaurant, saying it would be okay to have a restaurant. That is the rumored restaurant. It is a restaurant that has already been word of mouth for those who have visited Saejae, so it is used as a trade name.

Green beans are purchased through contract cultivation
Acorns collected from around Mungyeong Saejae
Saejae Mukjo Rice with Slow Aesthetics

The old couple in the rumored restaurant is a natural person leaning against nature. As if we were treated as a precious guest when we lived in Mungyeong Saejae, we still make acorn and cheonpo-muk. Acorns are collected from around Mungyeong Saejae, and mung beans are supplied from Gaeun through contract cultivation. The process of peeling the acorns and mung beans, soaking them in water, grinding them in a millstone, pouring water, and boiling them to make jelly is quite a bit of work for an old couple once or twice a week. When he was young, he said that the acorn shell was also rubbed and steamed directly, and the acorn and mung beans that were soaked were grinded directly on the millstone. Now, the machine is taking the place of peeling and grinding the acorns and mung beans. However, it is still the responsibility of the old couple to boil and steam with a spatula by grinding the acorns and mung beans in a sack and putting them in a large pot. From the couple's appearance, the skill and devotion of the skilled workers can be seen even after the years have passed.

Watching Cheongpomuk picking, I will see how hard and time-consuming the process is to complete the jelly. Suddenly, I was wondering how many servings would be made if one said mung beans. “Grandpa, how many people can you eat when you pick Cheongpomuk in one green bean?” When he asked, he pondered and said, "I have never thought about it while picking up a jelly." It is Young Quan who has completed business for more than 40 years and has never considered it. However, the appearance of a spatula stir-free to make a tangled jelly seemed to show the true craftsmanship, “aesthetics of slowness”.
A figure holding a sack of green beans
Pour the green beans over the pot to boil
Stir the green water to prevent it from sticking to the pot.
Various dishes, pickles, and herbs, such as indigenous side dishes, are made by grandmothers with sincere touch. The side dish is the same as the side dish you ate before. People in the city often watch Sae Jae-Mukjobap and ask what kind of side dish it is. If you don't know the old and old stories hiding in the ordinary life of a mountain village, acorn and apocalypse are just meaningless delicacies for people.
Cheongpo Mukjo Rice
Acorn Mukjo Rice Cake
Delicious grated acorn rice
Mungyeong's nature and renewable energy experience, Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecology Hall

Around Mungyeong Saejae, there are plenty of things to see, such as the Mungyeong Saejae trail leading to Joulek, Jogokwan, and Joryeonggwan, as well as the Mungyeong Ceramics Exhibition Hall at the entrance of Mungyeong Saejae, Confucian Culture Center, Old Road Museum, Mungyeong Omija Experience Center, and Mungyeong Saejae Open Set. Let's take a look at Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecology Hall, which is closest to Somunan Restaurant.

The Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecology Hall consists of two floors. The 1st floor was decorated with a video theater where you can see the nature of Mungyeong as a video, and a new and renewable energy exhibition hall where you can experience new and renewable energy. The second floor is an exhibition space where you can tour various biological resources of Mungyeong from the birth of life. The new and renewable energy exhibition hall is a space where you can feel the importance of new and renewable energy necessary to deal with the energy crisis and experience new and renewable energy. Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecological Park can monitor the energy produced in real time by utilizing wind, solar, solar, and geothermal heat. In the experience hall, you can experience various renewable energy such as natural light, wind power, solar cars and street lights, and geothermal experience. Under the assumption that there is no electricity, I finally feel the preciousness of energy as I go through a dark tunnel. Around Hwagyewon, there are Hwagyewon, Rock Seokwon, Mandangyiwon, and traditional ponds. There are pavilions, benches, and wooden decks all over the place, making it a good place to stroll.

Promenade around Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecological Center
Traditional garden around Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecology Hall

The Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecological Park begins by crossing the bridge at the Mungyeong Saejae ticket office, leading to the first gate of the Mungyeong Saejae, Jouleul. Mungyeong Saejae flower garden, ecological wetlands and ecological ponds, wildflower gardens, and other deck walkways are impressive. On the way down from the end of the visit to Mungyeong Saejae, cross the bridge on the right side after exiting Jujukwan, and you can take a look around Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecological Park.

Mungyeong Saejae Natural Ecology Center Renewable Energy Exhibition Hall
Wind power experience at the renewable energy exhibition hall
Travel information


* Self-driving

Jungbu Inland Expressway Mungyeong Saejae IC → Turn left at National Road No. 3 toward Mungyeong Saejae → Saejaero → Turn left across the Saejae Bridge from the Mungyeong Ceramics Exhibition Hall → Somunan Restaurant

* public transport

Seoul → Mungyeong: 14 times a day (06: 30-20: 00) from Dong Seoul Terminal, takes 2 hours

2. Restaurants around

Somunan Restaurant: Acorn Mukjobab, Cheongpo Mukjobab / 876 Saejae-ro, Mungyeong-eup, Mungyeong-si / 054-572-2255

Mungyeong Sanchae Bibimbap: Sanchae Bibimbap / 913-14 Saejae-ro, Mungyeong-eup, Mungyeong-si / 054-571-3736
Mungyeong Saejae Road: Hanjeongsik / 7 Gakseowit-gil, Mungyeong-eup, Mungyeong-si / 054-572-3392
Cheongun Jumak: Beef Gukbap / 40 Cheongun-ro, Munkyung-eup, Mungyeong-si / 054-571-0771
Mungyeong Yakdol Hanwoo Town: Korean beef charcoal grill / 2426, Mungyeong-daero, Mungyeong-eup, Mungyeong-si / 054-572-2655 / www.문경약돌한우타운.kr


Mungyeong Tourist Hotel: 32-11 Saejae 2-gil, Mungyeong-eup, Mungyeong-si / 054-571-8001 / http://www.mghotel.com/sub6/index.htm

STX Resort: 509 Cheonghwa-ro, Nongam-myeon, Mungyeong-si / 054-460-5000 / http://www.stxresort.com/

National Leisure Camping Site (Smurf Village): 47, Saejae 1-gil, Mungyeong-eup, Mungyeong-si / 054-572-3762 / www.mgcamp.or.kr

※ The above information was created in August 2013, and may be changed later, so be sure to check it before you travel.
※ Information, such as text, photos, and videos used in this article, is copyrighted by the Korea Tourism Organization, and unauthorized use of the article is prohibited.