I love tea.
I have studied tea with the Chinese tea master to become a tea sommelier about the history, different types of tea, storage methods, how to make, taste and discern whether it is a good tea or not. Studying tea is a never ending story. Tea and its culture has the longest history among food and beverage that human beings consume nowadays. Throughout the history, because of this precious plant, camellia sinensis, the world had significant wars such as Boston Tea Party (1773) and Opium War (1839 – 1842). We can talk more about the history of tea later.
However, this post isn’t about tea. It is about tea snack. In Asian philosophy, we believe that the earth is made of two opposite forces, yin and yang (ie. man and woman, light and dark, negative and positive, life and death). These two contrary forces are not conflicting but rather complimentary. They coexist together as light does not exist if it weren’t dark. I strongly believe that the key of well-being is balancing these two forces in life. Being excessively exposed to one side, in regards of idea, object, food or anything, can destroy the balance.
Tea and tea snacks are a small example of yin and yang. Tea helps you expel bad energy from your body, which is considered to be yin, while tea snacks supplement with yang energy to keep the balance. In afternoon tea, we drink tea with a different assortment of sweet and savory, because drinking tea alone can make one’s stomach burn.
Besides cakes and sandwiches of the western culture, there are many different tea snacks in Asia. Those include nuts, fruits, rice cakes, red bean custards and many more! I’ve decided to visit Sowoldang, 2.5 hrs away from the Seoul station by KTX train for its warm homemade tea cakes.
Ms. Ryeo-gang, the founder of Sowoldang, makes all the tea snacks by herself ever morning. She only accepts one table for lunch and dinner and you need to make a reservation ahead. I went there for lunch and she and her mother treated me not only with warmth but also with the organic lunch table and many tea & tea snacks.
lotus in the garden
Sowoldang (嘯月堂) means
a house with a full of humming and singing with joy
zishahu (chinese tea pot) for brewing the welcome tea
Chungdam Cha (Korean fermented tea from Sowoldang)
Chungdam Jam (homemade jam made with tea leaf)
welcome tea and bread with homemade tea-jam
Hi, it is Joo 🙂
during the interview
lotus stem straw! amazing!
Steamed sticky rices wrapped in the lotus leaf (my favorite!)
organic lunch table for two
small dishes of kimchi, soy marinated lotus roots, soybean paste soup, smoked pork belly with salads
When I asked for more salad, Ms. Ryeo-Kang went out to her garden and picked some greens to make right in front of us!
coin shaped tea (yeop cha) from Sowoldang
Powder Green Tea (Mal cha)
Lotus shaped tea snack (inside red bean)
After the whisk, beautiful foams rise on the surface
tea tree flowers
Oriental Beauty (Dong Fang Mei Ren) , another tea from Taiwan (blue tea)
Queen Elizabeth II took a sip of this tea for the first time and named it as “Oriental Beauty” for its exquisite flavor.
The good Quality of Oriental Beauty Oolong has 5 different colors in tea leaves. Do you notice different colors?
I love these antique blue tea cups
Another tea snack with Oreintal Beauty Oolong
Chestnut cookies, amazing!!
homemade red bean jelly
Not too sweet, just perfect.
This is the only cookies that last for more than 2 days from Sowoldang since she does not put any chemical preservative.
Name Card (嘯月堂 Sowoldang )
Gift for my parents (4 pieces or 10 pieces)
The Second tea room
in the garden
The trip to Sowaldang was a perfect get-away from the city. It just made me very calm and serene. That is the beauty of tea.
It is sad that Korea does not have many distinct tea snacks. That is why I admire Ms. Ryeo-gang for her creativity and patience in preserving the tradition yet creating a whole new culture.
I would say it is definitely worth traveling down here to stop by Sowaldang on the way to Gyeongju or Busan. Because she doesn’t put any preservative, her homemade tea snacks cannot last more than a couple of days. That is why, besides her sweet red-bean jelly which can last for 7 days, any of her other beautiful and delicious tea snacks cannot be shipped nationwide. The only way to eat them, you have to come down to get it! I will write a post about a day trip to Gyeongju, which used to be the ancient capital city of Silla Dynasty (57 BC – 935 AD). Gyeongju is one of mry favorite cities in Korea where you can visit many historical sites of the ancient time. I would recommend staying in Gyeongju for a night and visit Sowoldang by a car (30 ~ 1 hr of driving).
- Main Location : Seohagurang gil 210- 11, Dooseomeon, Uljugun, Ulsan, Korea
Second cafe : TocToc Factory 1F, Samsandong 204-11, Namgu, Ulsan, Korea
- Phone : +82 52-262-3013
- Price : Farm to table lunch with tea & tea snacks 40,000 KRW