September 17, 2014 13:05
Korean seaweed has captured the attention of the Wall Street Journal on the occasion of the island of Wando in the southwest of the country hosting the world's first international seaweed expo.
The Sunday section that brought it to readers' attention introduces unique customs and cultures of countries around the world and has covered topics like Belgian taxi drivers sprinkling holy water over their cars and roads for safety.
In the U.S., eating seaweed is still something of a novelty.
The expo was held for a month from April 11, and featured a wide range of products related to seaweed, from food and skincare products to bioethanol fuel.
Seaweed is regarded as superfood in Korea, the paper wrote. "Algae remain something of a global novelty as a daily diet, but in Korea seaweed (also called marine microalgae) is taken seriously as an elixir."
"Sea-mustard soup is traditionally a must-have for mothers after giving birth. The abundant iodine in it helps women restore blood and it heals wounds, Korean doctors say. It is also customarily eaten on birthdays for Koreans of all ages."
The newspaper added that one of Korea's most famous golfers, Choi Kyung-ju, hails from Wando and regularly eats seafood to maintain his health while on tour.
Young people who left for bigger cities in search of jobs are returning to Wando, as the income of seaweed growers has risen with expansion of the industry.
Seaweed is more than just another industry, but "a source of rejuvenation" on the island. "People in their 20s and 30s now account for more than a fifth of the island's population -- in contrast to other rural communities in [Korea], where residents' average age is 60 and children have moved to the city," the WSJ added.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com