SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean rice wine holds a higher concentration of proteins, vitamins, citric acid and other components than sake or wine, a study by the Tokyo University of Agriculture has found.
The results were explained at a press conference held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on November 16. “Tokyo nodai”, as the agriculture institution is colloquially referred to, undertook the study, which was the subject of a special request from the South Korean agricultural sector.
The research team examined four rice wines, referred to as ‘makgeolli’ in Korean, and compared the makeup with that of wine and sake.
As expected, wine contained neither yeast nor lactic acid bacteria, caused by its long aging process that eliminates the presence of such microbes. ‘Nihonshu’ (Japanese term for sake), was found to contain yeast but no lactic acid bacteria, which is killed off during the creation process.
Measured concentrations of lactic acid in nihonshu, which is considered to be the source of the drink’s acerbic yet sweet taste, were reported to be 1.2 to 1.9 times lower than in makgeolli.
Levels of citric acid in wine were also found to be lower than in makgeolli. Compared to the 0 to 500 mg/l in wine and the 50 to 150 mg/l in nihonshu, the examined makgeolli products had an average 607 mg/l.
In a similar vein, makgeolli had 2.8 times the quantity of protein and 11 times the quantity of folic acid – also known as vitamin B9, an organic compound involved in cell metabolism – than nihonshu. Makgeolli had 6 to 11 times more of the former and 5.5 times more of the latter than wine.
Makgeolli became popular in Japan on the strength of the Korean cultural boom in the late 2000′s, racking up a record $48 million in exports in 2011. Though the figure remains unsurpassed, South Korea’s traditional alcoholic drink remains well-regarded in Japan.
The Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp has stated it will pursue concerted marketing efforts to raise awareness of makgeolli in South Korea’s neighbor to the east.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)