Have you ever been rice shopping at a Foodtown near your home? Actually these days, every big supermarket has a variety of rice. You might not be able to count the number of types of rice. South Korea is famous for rice products and there are similar foods in Japan, but I would like to let you know about the festival of rice cakes which happens in South Korea. This festival takes place every year in many places, including Seoul, the capital city, and other place around the country.

Everywhere I looked there were people making rice cakes in many shapes and flavours. Through the big glass window of the shops, passing people are able to watch the rice cake-making process. Curious tourists waited in a long line for the chance to step onto the main stage where they could hit the rice dough with a huge mallet and make rice cakes themselves. The louder the sound when they hit the dough, the wider their eyes and the happier they seemed. This performance looked a lot like a rural market.

Visitors tried some free samples before they bought the ones they liked. By watching their faces you could imagine how the rice cakes tasted. Someone said ‘It’s like chewing gum’ while smiling.

Many stallholders had come there to sell their products. A number of people were moving along both sides of a series of stalls. Everybody who had taken part in the exciting events was listening to the folk music which filled the whole street. Bilingual volunteers helped many tourists from near-by Japan and from English-speaking countries. So, if you’re interested in food and culture, this festival extends a warm and genuine welcome to you.

by Heeran, an Upper Intermediate student at Languages International Auckland