Jeju’s volcanic origins influence everything from the weather to its cuisine. A case in point is its naturally occurring volcanic stone salt flats. Gueom village, just west of Jeju City, has an excellent example of this on display.
Drone clip shows Gueom at 10 seconds in:
The sogeumbillet are where eruptions of lava cooled in a regular, roughly flat formation near the ocean. Islanders made use of these areas to very efficiently evaporate sea water on the dark basalt rock.
In Gueom, thanks to this happy coincidence of its volcanic characteristics, the salt flats there totalled about 5,000 square meters, producing 17 tons of salt annually.
The salt it produced — an important preservative and lucrative commodity for its villagers — was for the most part sold year round. But in early winter when soybean paste, or gimjang, was being made by islanders, salt was in great demand.
Gueom was the fourth largest salt producer out of Jeju’s 23 salt farms.
Did you know?
Given that Jeju’s haenyeo women divers played central roles in the island’s economy and social structure, it should come as no surprise that there was a tradition of bequeathing the sogeumbillet to the eldest daughter of the family. All this in the midst of the very patriarchal, Confucian structure of Korean society!
Please note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, traveling to Jeju is problematic. In the meantime, we are highlighting some of the island’s attractions. We sincerely hope you will visit Jeju once it is safe to do so.
• For all your Jeju travel and safety information: www.visitjeju.net