“Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli” is Korea’s first folk wine.
Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli was designated as Korea’s one and only “Traditional Folk Wine” among many Korean rice wines as it is known for applying the traditional Korean brewing method. This rice wine, produced in a clean area of Geumjeongsanseong Village located at an altitude of 400m above sea level, can be characterized by its deep and complex flavor created using natural yeast and bedrock water in Geumjeongsan Mountain.
The origin of Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli can be traced back to the Joseon Dynasty during King Sukjong’s reign. Geumjeongsanseong Village used to be on land unsuitable for rice cultivation. This forced villagers to make a living by producing yeast and makgeolli. Geumjeongsanseong Fortress was built in preparation for the invasion of Japan. At that time, laborers building the fortress managed to appease their thirst and get strength by drinking Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli. After the construction of the fortress, these laborers went back to their hometowns and started to brew rice wine without forgetting the taste of Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli. That’s how this special makgeolli gradually spread across the country.
Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli has been produced by sticking to the traditional brewing method that involves stepping on yeast at the rice wine brewery in Geumjeongsanseong Village. In this village, you’ll see people shaping yeast into thin, flat, and round loaves on a blue burlap bag. These loaves, formed line by line, look like enormous sugar-filled griddlecake dough.
These loaves get fermented in a yeast fermentation room with high temperatures, and then placed in the garden under the sunlight so that any leftover moisture can evaporate. Once the yeast gets dry, it is added to freshly- cooked hard-boiled rice and the clean water from Geumjeongsan Mountain in a huge container with warm temperatures. Later, you will see many bubbles popping to the surface. It’ll gradually get fermented and ready to be served.
Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli, made with the stepped-on yeast, is best- characterized by its thickness and unique flavor, created by dozens of microorganisms. Unlike regular makgeolli, which is less sticky and pourable like water, Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli is viscous. In addition, unlike some makgeolli that tastes “sweet,” Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli is sour and tart with high acidity. This makes it taste thicker, softer, and deeper than other rice wines.
Any place famous for its rice wine must also offer mouthwatering snacks that go well with the rice wine. Many folk snacks perfectly fit with the Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli. The most famous are acorn jelly salad and Dongnae-style green onion pancake.
Acorn jelly salad, known for its nutty flavor, and fresh, crispy-textured kimchi are the must-have menus on a table with makgeolli. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to swallow a piece of sweet, sour, and pungent acorn jelly salad with a bowl of thick Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli. A green onion pancake is the pinnacle of the snacks that go well with makgeolli. Dongnae-style green onion pancakes are particularly known for having a large amount of seafood and spring onions. They are crispy outside and soft inside, which makes them a perfect fit for makgeolli. You’ll fall in love with the pleasant scent of the spring onions as well.
If you want to try Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli, you can visit any snack stall in Geumjeongsanseong Village, Dongnae Pajeon Alley, and Dongnae-gu. At the foot of the mountain neighboring the Pusan National University, you can also find several local diners specializing in Geumjeongsanseong Makgeolli, Dongnae-style green onion pancake, acorn jelly salad, and noodle soup. If you decide to visit Pusan National University, you’ll have an unforgettable experience of enjoying the rice wine on a low wooden bench in the forest next to the school.