Dive into the culinary traditions of Korea during this food and beverage experience in Seoul. On an afternoon tour with a knowledgeable guide, you'll visit a teahouse with a museum and then learn how to make traditional rice wine in a hands-on class. Or select the dinner tour to enjoy a meal at a vegetarian restaurant known for its healthy food, followed by a visit to a popular rice wine bar with unlimited samples paired with snacks. You’ll have plenty to eat and drink on this small-group tour limited to 10 people.
Both tours start by meeting your guide in the lobby of the Insadong Tourist Information Center and walking to your first destination. At the end of your tour, you can continue on your own from the last stop; your guide can help you find the closest subway station or hail a cab (own expense), if you wish.
Afternoon tour: Follow your guide to Arumdaun Cha Bakmulgwan (Beautiful Tea Museum), located in an elegant hanok (traditional Korean home) with a small museum and tearoom. Take a look at the exhibits that detail the history and cultural practices surrounding tea, and then have a seat in the tearoom to try one of the many varieties on offer. From the 130 available, choose from types such as green, black, herbal or flower, including teas that are popular in Korea, Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka and Europe. You’ll also receive a light dessert to go with your tea.
Next, head to the Korean Traditional Wine Studio for a hands-on lesson on how to make makgeolli (rice wine). Makgeolli was originally a beverage consumed by farmers, but it has become popular with city dwellers in recent years. The wine is made of sticky rice brewed with yeast that produces a liquor with distinctive flavors. Your instructor will demonstrate the steps of the makgeolli-brewing process during a class that lasts up to one hour, and you can taste a number of different brands that the wine studio carries.
Dinner tour: With your guide, walk to a nearby vegetarian health food restaurant for a 1-hour dinner. Your meal is accompanied by lettuce leaves that you use to wrap your food and eat taco-style, as well as side dishes like kimchi, salad and dipping sauce.
After dinner, head to a nearby traditional-style Korean bar that makes makgeolli, and hear about how this traditional rice wine that was once dismissed as cheap swill has recently found a respectable following as small craft brewers produce more refined versions that have won acclaim in some of Seoul’s hottest bars. You’ll spend about two hours here, plenty of time to try unlimited makgeolli samples accompanied by anju (side dishes that pair well with drinks).