Jayeom: A Slow Food ‘Ark of Taste’ Product

Few Koreans know about the country’s long history of ‘Jayeom’ or ‘boiled’ salt. It is such a rare and unique way of salt farming, unknown even to locals, that it was added to the Slow Food Foundation’s ‘Ark of Taste’ list in 2014.

Slow Food’s website describes the Ark of Taste as an institution that ‘travels the world collecting small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet’. It was founded in 1996 in order to help preserve valuable, sustainable produced food traditions internationally.

Korea’s Jayeom salt is one of these rare, selected food traditions.

Gastro Tour Seoul added the ‘Tuscany of Korea; Journey to Disappearing Food Heritage ‘Jayeom’ Tour to its itinerary this year in order to help show this extraordinary Korean food tradition to visitors from around the world. Unlike commercially produced salt, Jayeom salt is collected in specially-designed underground vats, and brought inside to be boiled into bright white crystals. Production in Korea was stopped post-war in the 1950s, and restarted more recently in several areas, including the beautiful coastal region of Taean. More information about the Jayeom salt boiling method can be found here.

Slow Food describes Jayeom salt as “less salty and bitter compared to bar and refined salts, and it even has a slightly sweet taste … Distilled salt helps to keep the original consistency of cabbage leaves, therefore creating a long lasting crunchy texture in kimchi.”

There are currently 70 Korean products on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste list, including the herbal spirit ‘gam hongro’ and Jeju’s native breed of cattle, ‘chik-so’.

To find out more about the ‘Tuscany of Korea; Journey to Disappearing Food Heritage ‘Jayeom’, which includes visits to incredible seafood restaurants and is especially recommended for food professionals, click here.

Veronica Kang