Destination: Nonghyup Rice Museum (Seoul, South Korea)

PART of the food manufacturer’s PR effort, the Nonghyup Rice Museum (쌀박물관 – ssal-bak-mul-gwan) seems better suited for a elementary school field trip than a tourist. That said, it’s nearby a subway station and a reasonably interesting look at a site few non-Koreans visit.

An interesting chart showing what 1 되 (dwi, or a wooden box holding 1.8 liters) of rice is worth. In the 1950s, 600 grams of beef; in the 1970’s, a kilogram of pork; in the 1990’s, a hamburger, and in the 2000’s, a fancy cup of coffee.

Some interesting varieties of Korean food from around the provinces. If you’re a Korean geography buff, you may realize that 함경도, 평안도, and 황해도 (Ham-gyeong-do, Pyeong-an-do, and Hwang-hae-do) are up in North Korea. This museum makes no difference between the North and South, so when / if the unification comes, this place won’t have to change a thing.

Going up to the second floor for the rice library – slim pickings for all the room they seem to have.

Nothing like anthropomorphic food.

Plenty of rice products to choose from – not pictured are some tea offerings at something that resembles a cafe.

Spin the cubes and learn more about the company’s wide product line. Perhaps strategically, this was just high enough for most elementary-schoolers to stand on their tiptoes (or the lighted base) to have to spin.

As this was more a spur-of-the-moment, why-not-we’re-already-here sort of stop, it’s certainly not part of any tourist itinerary I’ve ever read. Give this place a pass, unless you can read Korean and are captivated by pictures of rice.

Ratings (out of 5 taeguks – How do I rate destinations?):

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Directions to the Rice Museum: take line 5 of the Seoul subway system to Seodaemun station. Take exit 5 to street level and walk about 50 meters; you’ll see it on your right. Admission: free. For more information, see (Korean only).