At more than 2,000 years, Andong is sometimes referred to as the Capital City of Korean Spiritual Culture. Perhaps the main attraction in the city is the Andong Hahoe Folk Village, where local cultural heritage has been preserved and is shared with visitors.
Andong the capital of North Gyeongsang Province. It is the largest city in the northern part of the province with a population of 167,821 as of October 2010. The Nakdong River flows through the city. Andong is a market center for the surrounding agricultural areas.
Since the 1970s Andong has developed rapidly, although the population has fallen by nearly seventy thousand as people have moved away to Seoul and other urban centers. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it became a tourism and cultural center.
Andong is known as a center of culture and folk traditions. The surrounding area maintains many types of traditions and the Andong Folk Festival is held in mid-October every year. One of the most famous aspects of these cultural festivities is the Andong masks.
However, it is foodies that will most enjoy a visit to Andong. The city boasts all kinds of local specialties, starting with a famed chicken and noodle dish called jjimdak. Andong is also home to a special type of alcohol called soju, so have a sip before you depart the city.
Local specialty foods
Andong has famous local foods that originated in the city such as heotjesabap, Andong jjimdak, Andong soju (a rice wine), Andong sikhye (a punch), Geonjin guksu (a noodle dish), and salted mackerel.
Heotjesabap is a variety of bibimbap, served with soy sauce (ganjang) instead of the gochujang (hot pepper paste) that is more commonly used. Heotjesa bab consists mainly of several types of namul (young sprouted vegetables) over white rice. It is also served with grilled fish, shark, and jeon (Korean pancake). The dish originated in Andong. The term, Heotjesa bap literally means "dishes for fake jesa" that are ceremonies for death anniversary and ancestor veneration held in Korea. The reason it is considered fake is that it is not covered in incense ash, as would happen to any food sacrificed in a jesa ritual.
Andong jjimdak is a variety of jjim (a Korean steamed or braised dish), made with chicken, cellophane noodles, and various vegetables marinated in a ganjang (Korean soy sauce) based sauce. The name literally means "steamed chicken of Andong." There are many speculations on the origins of the dish. One is that it is a specialty food of the inner rich village of Andong during the Joseon period, prepared and eaten for special occasions. The more likely explanation is that during the 1980s in the Dak golmok (닭골목, literally "chicken alley") of the "Andong Old Market," restaurant owners there made a dish including ingredients that regulars demanded, which became the current Andong jjimdak. Restaurateurs in the area claim it was invented by five local old women who had limited chicken supplies and wanted to stretch it out. The most plausible speculation among existing assumptions is that merchants of the Dak golmok at the market created the dish to keep their position against the rapid expansion of Western fried chicken shops.
Andong Soju is a specialty of the region. It is made with natural ingredients, unlike mass-produced brands, it was historically used for medicinal purposes, and was developed during the Silla dynasty. The traditions of Andong Soju were almost lost during the '60s and '70s due to government legislation, but they were brought back by Cho Ok-Hwa, the current skill holder. Andong soju was traditionally made by the wife of a household, and she passed down the secrets to her daughters-in-law.
Mackerel is another popular local delicacy. Caught downstream where the Nakdong River meets the sea, in ancient times the fish would spoil before being brought further inland. Using special salting techniques, Andong was the furthest inland the fish could be brought, so aristocrats would travel to Andong especially for the salted fish.