September 15, 2011 11:07
Visitors can see 1,000-year-old ginseng and get a glimpse of the past, present and future of the growing industry at the ongoing 2011 World Ginseng Expo, which runs until Oct. 3 in Geumsan, South Chungcheong Province.
The 32-day expo will feature seven exhibition halls and four booths offering 59 programs of practical activities to stir interest in one of the country's favorite natural health products.
The hall themed on Korean ginseng provides information on ginseng including its history, effects and use. Popular in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as in Korea and the U.S., ginseng comes in a variety of species. Its roots can be used variously as an aphrodisiac to treat sexual dysfunction in men, as a tonic for type II diabetes, or as an ingredient in energy drinks, among other applications.
At several theaters within the hall, 4D animations stimulate viewers' senses while expounding on the wonders of Korean ginseng. The 10 minute-long animations come replete with special effects such as mist, lightning and wind, and are shown 30 times a day.
For the more medically minded, a hall equipped with models of human organs explains how ginseng is absorbed by the human body through a series of family-friendly interactive programs and puzzles.
Han Chan-hee, executive director of the expo's organizing committee, said it was planned as a well-being festival aimed at encouraging a healthy lifestyle as well as an event to promote the domestic ginseng industry.
The expo also provides an excellent opportunity to sample healthy foods made with ginseng, with ginseng fries emerging as the most popular snack so far this week. Tired from traipsing around the exhibition halls, visitors commented on how refreshed they felt after trying some of the fries, washed down with a glass of ginseng wine.
Other culinary highlights include ginseng seafood pajeon (green-onion pancake), ginseng seolleongtang (beef stew), and ginseng noodles. Snack carts in various parts of the town are also selling these for visitors who have not had their fill within the expo site. Dishes cost an average of W 2,500 (US$1=W1,110).
For more detailed information, log onto the expo's webpage at www.insamexpo.or.kr.
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