Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sang Soo's Herb Land

I learned last night that the largest herb theme park in Asia is 20 minutes from my apartment. Since I'd never having heard the words "herb" and "theme park" linked together, I decided that Sang Soo's Herb Land merited a trip. After receiving my 3 dollar entrance fee, the attendant found me an English guide map and ushered up the walkway to the first "tour course". The park had 20 or so "tour courses", which were basically just different points of interest, such as a millennium-old pine tree, an English style herb garden, a pond, an interestingly shaped rock, a jade mineral spring, an indoor garden, an herb resting place, an herb restaurant, and an herb gift shop.

The park boasts a collection of about 1,000 types of herbs and the resulting fragrance is the best part of the park experience. Korea has never smelled so lovely!

I ate cot-bap, or flower rice, at the herb restaurant. I was served a large bowl of edible flowers, herbs and sprouts and a separate bowl of herb rice. I was planning on taking pictures, but the restaurant manager, assuming I didn't know what to do, came over, dumped the rice on top of the pretty flowers, added a dollop of red pepper paste and stirred everything up into a less than photo worthy mixture before I could (politely) stop him. Oh well. He was trying to be helpful! The healthiness of the meal only added to my gustatory pleasure; hopefully I can convince others to go back with me for another meal. My guide map says that over 2,000 people from around the world have visited the Herb land especially to try the flower rice and that chefs from Italy and France have complimented the dish. Needless to say, Sang Soo's Herb Land is quite proud of their international reputation!

Sang Soo's Herb Land also has facilities to make special herb water, teas and other herbal products. This is the background information about the water: "Sangsoo Herb Water was made with unique know-how of medical grade of Sangsoo Herb Bioresearch Center that has a world-class technical prowess as far as herbs are concerned. Also, it is natural herb mineral water with a new concept, which is optimally mixed with diverse herb extracts (extracts from herb, herb sprout, and herb flowers) based on pure rock bed water taken out of deep inside of the underground of the pure area with SHCR process. Herb Water Therapy SHCR (Sangsoo's Homogenize Cluster-R): Special processing that stabilizes nutritions and life energy R factor in natural herb extracts for water molecule through homogenization and clusteriation processing." I bought some mint water (1 dollar) and thought it was very refreshing, but I don't know if I'm feeling an increase in the life energy R factor yet...

Dr. Sang Soo has been working since 1973 in horticulture and has received many awards and patents. His dedication and enthusiasm for his work is quite clear and the theme park is a great way to educate and expose people to herbs. At the very least, a trip to Herb Land is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.


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