Ulleung Oksusuyeot Chungju
Ulleung Oksusuyeot Chungju is a traditional fermented beverage made using local corn. Typical grains such as rice were difficult to grow on Ulleung Island, and so other crops such as corn became local staples. Ulleung’s local corn, which is dark yellow in color, is used to make multiple liquors, including makgeolli (diluted corn alcohol) and chungju (refined corn alcohol). To make the corn liquor, dried corn is ground in a hand mill or mortar to make corn flour. This corn flour is soaked in water for one night. The soaked flour is used to make a corn porridge, to which malt is added. The mixture is boiled until it has reduced up to 70% from its original quantity. After this process, yeast is added into the cooled porridge to ferment. Fermentation time depends from season to season, but usually takes about 10 days. Ulleung oksusuyeot chungju is sweet, mild and smooth in taste, and was typically enjoyed by people of all ages. The alcoholic drink has been produced for at least 100 years, and was popular enough to be mentioned in a local traditional folk song, Ulleung Arilang, in the lyric that translates as “lonely and bored mountain woman drinking oksusuyeot cheungju with barbequed black goat meat is flattering to me.” Today, however, the drink is not commercially sold, and is only produced on demand. With imported food and drinks from mainland Korea, many traditional products of Ulleung Island have been forgotten. These days only a few families still make Ulleung oksusuyeot chungju.