Saturday, 16 May 2009
A night on the Makgeolli
As it turns out I had had a drink of Makgeolli the day I went to Namwon. The lady in the restaurant gave me some Makgeolli to drink. Traditional rice wine. A specialty of Namwon I was told. But it seems that everyone has their local Makgeolli.
On Thursday a group of students decided to meet at the local Makgeolli restaurant. It was not far from "my house" as they call it - house is probably not a word I'd use to describe my small room, but it was not far away.
It is a popular restuarant and was packed and very noisy. Mostly men were there as the Korean men meet and dine with their male friends on a regular basis. The ladies will be at home with the children!
We had 15 students in the end, but at first there were just 6, and the bowls for the Makgeolli were put in front of us, and some plates with snacks. Kimchi, boiled quail eggs, and various picked vegetables. The Makgeolli came to the table in a battered kettle, and someone would pour it into the little bowls to drink from.
I chose (wisely) to not fill up my bowl, and sipped quietly. Every time someone joined the group, the bowls were topped up, we'd stand up and "clink" bowls before shouting cheers and for some taking a big swig of the milky creamy liquid. It is made of steamed rice, and is quite pleasant, but I'm unlikely to become addicted to it!
By the time we had finished one or two of the group were a bit tipsy - but we went on to another place, where we continued with the party.