A representative Korean traditional cuisine in the world
Yeongyang-Gun district office / 2015

A first recipe book, Eumsikdimibang

Eumsikdimibang is the first recipe book to be written in Hangul(Korean alphabet) about 340 years ago. 

It is also a brand name of 'Korean traditional noble Yangban family's cuisine', which has been developed by the Yeongyang county in Gyeongbuk province to get it established as a 'world renowned cuisine'.

Eumsikdimibang is a recipe book which was written by Lady Jang Gye-hyang from a noble Yangban family. She wrote it for her descendents in Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do province 340 years ago. This book introduces various food recipes, stored, fermented food and food storage tips of a noble family in Gyeongsang region in the mid-and late period of the Joseon Dynasty in the 1600s.

Eumsikdimibang is the first recipe book written by a woman in East Asia, and is the first one in Hangeul as well. Before Eumsikdimibang, there had been several books on Korean cuisine. However, they had all been written in Chinese and had dealt with the subject very briefly. But, in Eumsikdimibang Lady Jang Gye-hyang introduced a variety of special recipes which she had herself created herself or which had been handed down from ancient times. This book, including “how to cook flour-based food, Ddeok (rice cake), fish & meats” and “how to brew various alcoholic beverages”, is very valuable literature to study and gives us insight into Koreans' dietary living in the mid 17th century.

Eumsikdimibang = Eumsikjimibang

Eumsik Dimibang is a recipe encyclopedia and it means ‘Recipes for tasty food’. In ancient Korean ‘Ji’ was pronounced as ’Di’.


On its cover, this book was originally titled as ‘Gyugonsieuibang’ in Chinese letters.

However, when you turn over the cover, you will find another title of ‘Eumsikdimibang’ in Hangeul. The book cover seems to be added by her husband or her descendants to give some formality and meaning.


Eumsikdimibang = oldest existing cook encyclopedia in Hangeul

This book is a 30-page manuscript including the front and back covers. It encompasses 146 kinds of recipes, stored & fermented food, ways of storing food of a noble Yangban family in Gyeongsang-do in the mid- & late 17th century.


Eumsikdimibang = first as an empirical recipe book!

Prior to ‘Eumsikdimibang’, other cookbooks also had been existing. However, most of them had been written in Chinese and had introduced food too briefly to reproduce the exact recipes. On the other hand, this book has been written in Korean and describes each dish in detail, including the recipe and even cooking utensils. It is so practical and 340 years later people can still cook traditional food using this book.


Eumsikdimibang = a textbook for studying Korean traditional cuisine

Prof. Yi Seong-wu, an expert in Korean food history and researcher in ancient food recipes, highly praised this book: “As the oldest cookbook written by a woman in Asia, it has a very special meaning in the world's food culture history”. It is very important to make a comparative study on dietary living between the past and the present. As a guidebook which allows to discover ancient recipes that almost disappeared, its value is tremendous.

Author of Eumsikdimibang, Lady Jang Gye-hyang(1598~1680)

In the 31st year of King Seonjo's reign Jang Gye-hyang was born in Geumgye-ri, Andong, Gyeongbuk, and passed away in Seokbochon(Dudeul village), Yeongyang, Gyeongbuk at age 83 during the 6th year of King Sukjong's reign. In her later years her third son, Galam Yi Hyeon-il was recognized as Salrim, a great scholar who had been living in seclusion, and was later appointed to Ijo Panseo, minister of Personnel. Therefore, she was conferred with a Pumgye of Jeongbuin.


Lady Jang Gye-hyang left paintings, grass characters and embroidery works that implies her excellent talents, besides poetries about human cultivation of one's mind, right studies and training of one's character.

Jeongabocheop(handwiting scrapbook) : It is an 8-page scrapbook for poems which Lady Jang Gye-hyang wrote when she was around ten years old. It is also called 'Palryong Sucheop' since auspicious clouds and eight dragons are embroidered on page four and five. Lady Jang's Seongineum and Sosoeum are found in here. And Yi Hyeon-gyeong and Mok Man-Jung, scholars of Namin school in the late 18th century added epilogues admiring her writings.

Lady Jang Gye-hyang and Eumsikdimibang(Korean)
Lady Jang Gye-hyang and Eumsikdimibang(English)
Lady Jang Gye-hyang and Eumsikdimibang(Japanese)
Lady Jang Gye-hyang and Eumsikdimibang(Chinese)

Characteristics of Eumsikdimibang

Out of the total 146 items in this bookfifty-one are dealing with making alcoholic beverages - that is about 35 percent of this book . Apparently in those times, brewing alcoholic beverages was a very important job for housewives of the upper class. Treating guests well was considered a significant virtue.


How to store peaches, eggplants and jerkygives us a glimpse at how Korean ancestors stored their food in times when there were no refrigerators. The fact that the manual of “how to cook out-ofseason vegetables” was drawn up, we can conclude they enjoyed out of season vegetables and fruits by simply growing them in a greenhouse.


Mandu and Guksu (noodle) vary depending on its ingredient and shape.Side dishes are also various. There is a food like jelly made of boiled down cherry and sugar. Among meats there are more cuisine of dog and pheasant meats rather than beef. At that time a cow was a valuable asset which was mainly used for farming. Therefore, dog and pheasant meats were more popularly used instead of beef.


Jang Deuk-man(1684-1764)in the Joseon Dynastypainted the scene of table sets for royal banquet in ‘Gisa Gyeonghoecheop’. Some of them were also introduced in ‘Eumsikdimibang’. In particular, there are also very special recipes for such as sea cucumber, abalone and Jaratang - also called Byeoltang -, Ungjang which was precious food for even Chinese royalty. It is likely to believe that people reproduced the delicacies which they had tried in the palace.


Gochu (pepper) was first introduced in ‘Jibong Yuseol’ (1613) in Korean literature,Seeing that Gochu was not mentioned at all in ‘Eumsikdimibang’. It is clear that Gochu was not introduced into this region at that time. According to this book, we can conclude that Cheoncho, black pepper and mustard were used for a hot and spicy taste, and that ginger was used more frequently than garlic.


Meats, seafoods and vegetables were largely used for‘Neureumi’. It seemed to be an original form of Nureumjeok which is dredged with flour and pan-fried. Food made of Donga and Oe seemed to be popularly used, however, they are almost extinct today. There are two kinds of egg recipes: Nantang and Gyerantang. Garnish soft-boiled eggs with boiled water or Jangguk (soup with flavored with soy source) and served it adding vinegar up to today.


In Eumsikdimibang sixteen ‘Matjlbangmun’ are mentioned. ‘Matjil means a village's recipe’. The author's quest for delicious foods and delicacies, going from village to village and reproduce them, is outstanding.

Reasons why the Eumsikdimibang gets favorable reviews

  - The exquisite harmony of flavor and scent of seasonal food!

  - Food is medicine! It has an effect of preventing and even curing diseases!

  - Energetic for 365 days, make you feel refreshed!

  - The Korean chef cooks with his heart!


Prepare raw chopped cucumber, radish, Cham mushroom, manna lichen, pyogo mushroom, and mung beans plant. Boil and tear chinly balloon flower, clover, dried slices of young pumpkin, shepherd's purse, dropwort, spring onion, edible shoots of a fatsia, bracken, spinach, gourd, egg apple and pheasant meat. If there is no ginger, use dried ginger or vinegar-pickled ginger. Season with pepper, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, flour and chop all sorts of ingredients to thin pieces. Fry each with oiled soy sauce and put on a wide bowl by mixing some together or separating. Sprinkle an adequate amount of chopped pheasant meat on it and cheoncho, pepper and ginger as well. Filter thick paste to have moderate taste. Add sesame oil and flour. If the taste is good, boil it over once. Do not make the source thick. As for wax gourd, parboil quickly when it is fresh. For coloring, use ballon flower and cockscomb for red or wild grapes. There is no need to get all those materials above. Just do with the materials that you can get easily.


Prepare a spring chicken that has tender flesh and wash thoroughly removing the internal organs and feathers. Filter sweet paste through a sieve and season with shredded Jaso leaves, spring onion, rakkyo, ginger, pepper and cheoncho. Mix it with flour and soy sauce. Put this into the stomach of the chicken and wrap with rice cloth. Put this in an earthenware and double boil it in an iron pot. When it is cooked tender, take out and cool down. When steaming, use light flour sauce seasoned with several spices. The sauce should be light to soak chicken in.


Remove feathers and bones from a chicken and pound hard the buttocks and the middel of the chest. Fry it with a half small bowl of oil to cook and then boil it. Add diced taro. When the meat gets tender, take out hte meat and the taro. Season the soup with soy sauce and put the meat into it again. Boil it over to remove the smell of intestine. Mix two scoops of flour with water. Shred cucumber. Put thin spring onion and Korean leek by a fistful amount. When the powder gets thick and begetables are cooked, arrange begetables and meat side by side on a wide plate. Shred fried egg and put on a bowl of soup. Also, season with ginger and pepper befrore serving.


Chop pork to thick and short pieces and season with oil and soy sauce. Cover it with flour and fry. Season it with pepper before serving.


Cut fish into thin slices. For stuffing, pound manna lichen, pyogo mushroom, pine mushroom, raw pheasant meat and pine nuts together and fry with soy sauce and oil. Put it into the slice of fish and make dumplings. Cover them with mung bean powder and steam.

Donga nurumi

Slice old wax gourd thinly and season. Boil shreded fig and season with manna lichen, pyogo mushroom, cham mushroom and pepper. Wrap it with the sliced wax gourd. Ske it and steam. Mix soy sauce with oil, flour and pheasant meat juice, pepper and cheoncho. When serving, remove the skew bar and add the sauce on it.


Pick lotus root sprout in summer and early autumn and wash thoroughly, Parboil quickly and remove the fibroid material. Shred it to 2.5cm-long pieces and mix with oil sauce and vinegar. Do same to the root. Add soy sauce, oil and flour sauce and roast it.

Deagu Ggeopjil nurumi

Wash cod skin and dice. Chop manna lichen, pyogo mushroom, cham mushroom, pine mushroom, and pheasant meat to be thinner than vegetables and season with pepper and cheoncho powder. Then mix it with the diced cod skin. Then dissolve flour in water and boil with pheasant meat sauce and flour. Panfry it with chive and it will be tasty.


Pell off raw deodeok and pound it. Then put in water until the bitter taste gets lessened. Pound it again and soak it in the water coming out. Cover it with glutinous rice flour and fry it in boiling oil. Then preserve in honey.


Grind mung beans with millstone and soak in water. After a while, peel the husk off and grind with millstone again. Then pass it through fine fabric and leave. If it is separated to powder with water on it, pour away the water. Do it again and dry the remains. When it is completely dried, pound once and pass it through a sieve. When cooking it, knead a hop of the powder with water. Be careful not to make it too thick. Put it into a large brass bowl by a spoonful and float the bowl on hot water. When the spoonful of dough is cooked, put it into cold water and chop. Serve it with iced Omijacha. If you have no Omija, fry and pound sesame and pass it through a sieve. If cooking soup with the sesame powder serve with the cooked dough in it. With 18 liters of mung beans, you can make three measures of mung-bean powder.


Mix the petals of azalea, rose, and peony with glutinous rice flour and buckwheat powder and then knead it with water. Fry it on an oiled pan little by little and then cool it down for a while. Spread honey on it for serving.


Wash a doe of non-glutinous rice and pound. Make cake with the powder and cool down. Add a bowl of water and a doe of nuruk(it contain yeast and saccharogenic amylase) powder to the cake and knead thoroughly. Wash 18 liters of glutinous rice and steam to be done 4 days later. When it is still warm, draw the crude liquor and put this into a jug. Wrap the jug with blankets and leave in a warm place and wait till it is done. If you want a bitter taste, do not wrap the jug and leave in a cool place. For more amount, measure the materials according to this instruction.

Dudeul, a time-honored village on a hill and a hometown of tradition
Dudeul village

In this Dudeul village a Gwangjewon was located in the Joseon Dynasty. Therefore, the village was named as ‘A village where a Won was located in Dedeul’, and it was also called Wondudeul or Wonri. In 1640 (the 18th year of reign of King Injong) Seokgye Yi Seok-myeong felt shame about the Byeongja Horan (the second Manchu invasion of Korea) and came to this village. Seokgye's fourth son, Sung-il succeeded his father's business. As the number os his descendants and relatives increased, it became Jaeyeong Yi family clan's village. Seokcheon Seodang (village school) which was built by Seokgye and his old house still remain on a knoll adjacent to the village. On the rocks along the stream of Hwamae flowing in front of the village, his fourth son, Hangjae Yi Sung-il's handwritings of Nakgidae and Syeosimdae remain in perfection so far. In addition, there are a traditional house experience hall, a monument dedicated to Jeongbuin Lady Jang, a courtesy training center and the Gwangsan Literary Institute.

Traditional house experience hall

Traditional house experience hall in Dudeul village is a unique place where you can taste Korean traditional cuisine including a Joseon noble family's cuisine which is reproduced based on ‘Eumsikdimibang’, the oldest cookbook in Hangeul in Korea. Only fresh vegetables and seafood which grow in a clean environment are used, and healthy, simple foods are presented nicely. You will be also served with Korean tea with a mild aroma and flavor, and open up your hearts and look inside. Why don't you try wellbeing diet with nutrient, fresh ingredients, prepared with a cook's whole heart.

Traditional house experience hall
Traditional house experience hall
Traditional house experience hall
Jeongbuin Lady Jang Courtesy training center

Named after Lady Jang Gye-hyang, the courtesy center have provided programs for students and adults so that they have a chance to learn traditional culture such as etiquette and tea ceremony.

Jeongbuin Lady Jang Courtesy training center
Jeongbuin Lady Jang Courtesy training center
Exhibition Center for Jang Gye hyang
Exhibition Center for Jang Gye hyang
Exhibition Center for Jang Gye hyang
Exhibition Center for Jang Gye hyang
Exhibition Center for Jang Gye hyang
Exhibition Center for Jang Gye hyang
Eumsikdimibang Education center

The center runs programs that raise awareness of Korean traditional cuisine. From healthy food items such as Donga Seon, Donga nureumi and Donga jeok to pomegranate stew, fish dumplings and cod skin nureumi, visitors can try their hand at cooking traditional Korean food and taste them.

Eumsikdimibang Education Center
Eumsikdimibang Education Center
Eumsikdimibang  Exhibition Center

51 food items that are featured in Eumsikdimibang are made into models and exhibited, along with their recipes. A video that gives an explanation on Eumsikdimibang can also be watched in four languages (Korean, Japanese, Chinese and English).

Eumsikdimibang  Exhibition Center
Eumsikdimibang  Exhibition Center
Seokgye Goteak

Seokgye Goteak is an old house of Seokgye Yi Si-myeong who lived in the reigns of King Injo and King Hyeonjong of the Joseon. The house is layed out with an earthen partition between-shaped Sarangchae (men's part of the house) and Anchae (inner part of the house). This layout gave a feeling of ‘teuljip’(a house with a square garden at the center). It also has a structure of 'Samryangga' (a style of roof) and a 'Gamsil' (a place for keeping a spirit tablet) was installed in the back of Sarangchae. This 320-year-old house has been designated as Forklore Material No. 91 by Gyeongsangbuk-do province.

Seokcheon Old School
Gwangsan Literature Research Center

Established on May 12, 2001, the Center seeks to conduct more systematic research on literature and foster academics in the field. Dudeul Village was used as a background of Gwangsan’s literature and has set the stage for life’s dramas in his works, most notably ‘That Winter’, ‘You will no longer be able to return to your hometown’, ‘Geumshijo’ and ‘For the Emperor’. The center houses 6 classrooms, an auditorium and study and serves as the venue for various lectures on literature and literary discussions, as well as meetings with writers.

Eumsikdimibang Alcoholic Beverages Experience Center
Eumsikdimibang Alcoholic Beverages Experience Center
Eumsikdimibang Alcoholic Beverages Experience Center
Eumsikdimibang Alcoholic Beverages Experience Center
Credits: Story

Curation — Yeongyang-gun district office staff

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