Monday, August 29, 2011

Hadong, South Korea- A Recognized Cittaslow, Hadong Tea- A Slow Food

Hadong, South Korea is a special place. Unlike most places in Korea its pace is, well, a lot slower. Slow enough to be recognized as an official Cittaslow, a slow city, promoting the slow food and slow movement. It is special in a sense because it is the only recognized slow tea city in the world. The contrast in the pace of life is quite stark from the rest of the country with its speed trains, tech savy population, and fast pace lifestyle. As a reaction to this almost unavoidable pace of life, Korea has done much to support the slow food and slow movement and in 2009 five slow cities in South Korea were recognized by cittaslow including the Akyang village of Hadong.

When you think of it though, all villages throughout Asia that grow and drink tea in the traditional way are, in fact, slow cities. The problem is that almost all tea areas and cities have since mechanized and/or used some sort of fertilizers/ pesticides in at least some aspect of the tea production in the area or have lost some aspect of their traditional tea culture. This is what makes Hadong so special- it is really hard to find these unnatural (and obviously so much 'faster') ways of growing and producing tea. The slow tea movement of Hadong is essentially a modern revival and trendier renaming of what is traditional growing, producing, preparation, and consumption of tea- nothing more. What is sad is that a certification agency is needed to protect and promote these things and that they are not simply protected and promoted for their own sake.

Boseong is usually the tea producing area that first comes to mind for Koreans because of its relationship with Korean pop culture. Hadong is slowly gaining national and international notoriety for exactly the opposite reasons. Handong is setting a excellent example of how tea areas, towns, and cities throughout Asia can preserve and promote their traditional tea culture.


Thanks to Alex Zorach of Alex Zorach's Tea Blog and his post on "Tea as Slow Food" and to Gingko of Life In Teacup and her post on how to enjoy tea (or noodles) in the spirit of slow food. They motivated one to put these old notes jotted down years ago into a post. Please do have a look at thier great posts for more on the subject of slow food and tea.

Double Peace

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