Haenyo: Korea’s women of the sea

Haenyo: Korea’s women of the sea | CNN Travel.

The haenyo divers: Korea’s women of the sea

With younger generations seeking modern careers, this ancient fishing tradition has been left to women up to 70 years old, and faces a tough future as tourism encroaches

Often referred to as Korean Mermaids, haenyo (women divers on Jeju and Udo Islands) can dive up to 20 meters, holding their breath for several minutes as they harvest the sea bed for abalone, sea urchin, octopus and seaweed. Yet such work in a prevailing Confucian society didn’t sustain itself without considerable costs. The haenyo of Jeju and Udo Island have fought for years protecting their rights against men, governments and even armies in order to make a living from the sea.

And such traditions are now facing extinction. With government officials ramping up efforts to promote tourism to the islands, and with a younger generation of women eager to head to the mainland in search of education or simply a more modern way of life, the once highly revered trade is tapering off.

In the 1960s, there were over 30,000 haenyo diving daily off the shores of Jeju and Udo Island. Today, those numbers barely amount to 5,000, with two-thirds being over the age of 60. With the heydays of the 1970s well behind them (seafood exports to Japan filled the pockets of divers, allowing them to send their daughters to school and pay for prime coastal settlements), haenyo are becoming too old to continue, and there’s no younger generation to follow in their footsteps.

Goh Soon-ja, 62, sets out with her team to a “hunting spot” in the early morning on Udo Island.

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40 Korean foods we can’t live without | CNN Travel

40 Korean foods we can’t live without | CNN Travel.

hangover stew

Hangover? Forget hair of the dog, sip blood of the ox.

1.Hangover stew (해장국)

Given Korea’s dedicated drinking culture, it’s not surprising that Korea’s hangover-curing culture is equally as developed, from pre-drinking drinks to post-drinking drinks to a glorious array of spicy and steamy stews and soups.

Made from a beef broth, with cabbage, bean sprouts, radish and chunks of congealed ox blood, the deeply satisfying taste does wonders to kick-start your sluggish brain in the morning.

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