Collecting sap into a large jug.
It's about that time for drinking 고로쇠물 (gorosoi) a drink made with water and syrup from 고로쇠나무, the painted maple. "고로쇠물 마시러 간다," or some corruption of it, is apparently what you say when you're off to drink some. Both this year and last my schools went to remote locations in Gwangyang and ate goat along with it. This year it was 염소떡갈바, goat ddeokgalbi, pictured below courtesy of my cellphone.
The gorosoi was clear, odorless, and pretty bland. No photos of it because it looks unremarkable. The meat on the other hand was delicious, and now you know where you can take me for my birthday next year.
Gorosoi is available, and thus popular, in the mountainous areas where that maple grows. It is considered "good for health," especially for the stomach. More from Gwangyang county's page:
- It was said by tradition that it is effective for stomach diseases, neuralgia, hypertension, arthritis, urinary diseases, etc.
- According to 'Book of Jangbaeksan Medicinal Herbs' in China, it is effective for neural paralysis and quadriplegia.
- According to master's thesis at Dankuk University (Cho Sun Ik, 1995), it has anticancer effect inhibiting tumor cell.
And one of the legends associated with it:
While an old man walked a mountain road, he had his leg broken and couldn't walk. Then he saw a rabbit drink sap from a tree and he also drank it for some days and his leg was cured and he could walk. So it was called Golisu, meaning 〃water beneficial to bone〃.
Jeollanam-do's Gwangyang is apparently regionally well-known for the product, and Gwangyang, Pohang, and Yangpyeong, in Gangwon-do, have Gosoroi festivals each March, so keep your eyes open for those.