Oyster Season Reawakens Traditions
It is oyster season, a time to recall the many traditions and benefits associated with the plump bivalves.
Jeon Sun-eui, a court physician to the Chosun Dynasty, wrote in a 1460 book of recipes of medicinal food for the royal family, "To relieve high temperature and stuffiness in the chest, and quench thirst after drinking alcohol, eat fresh oysters mixed with ginger and vinegar."
Oysters were a highly prized ingredient in Chosun cuisine because they were hard to get hold of, and were cooked in a variety of ways. They were eaten fresh, or grilled, cooked with rice, and were used in making kimchi.
When oyster farming began in Goheung in South Jeolla Province as recently as 1887, and a commercial farming started in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province in the 1960s, oysters became a popular food for people of all classes.
In Goheung, people enjoy eating milky soup made with oyster boiled in their shells. In Tongyeong, people eat pickled oysters with radish.