There's olive oil in Europe and here's perilla seeds oil in South Korea

신태섭 기자l승인2020.07.17l수정2020.07.17 15:51

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▲ Komega / CEO Jeong Hoon-baek

Interest in perilla seeds oil is growing fast among healthy life stylers because the linolic acid in the oil is known to help remove cholesterol and the rich vegetable omega 3 helps prevent Alzheimer's and breast cancer. 

The history of perilla seeds oil in South Korea goes far back to the Smanhan Kingdoms era which ended in 236 AD. Widely eaten by people of the Goryeo Kindgom, Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province, made it a local speciality with pride as it hosts the Eumseong Perilla Seeds Festival every year. 

Komega raw perilla seeds oil

Located in Eumseong County, Komega is a South Korean company famous for producing raw perilla seeds oil. Komega CEO Jeong Hoon-baek is the one who first developed the raw perilla seeds oil extract by low-temperature compression technique unliked the then prevailing roasting to extract method.

This is because the process of low-temperature compression does not produce benzopyrene, a cancer-causing agent. In other words, Jeong makes the oil in the way our ancestors made from a thousand years ago. The amount naturally is small but the smell is deep and freshness intact. For this reason, the oil is often cited as 'blue-backed fish on land' for rich vegetable omega 3 which is healthier than animal omega 3. 

Spreading excellence of Korean raw perilla seeds oil

Jeong started producing organic perilla seeds oil from 2013 in Eumseong County. But it was 2003 that he first started making this precious oil. Back then, the term raw perilla seeds oil were new to people. 

When put his business on good track, he traveled all over the world to spread excellence of Korean raw perilla seeds oil. Komega's raw perilla seeds oil won the gold prize at the World Oil Competition held in Paris, France in 2012. 

Prior to this, Jeong's raw perilla seeds oil wrote the history to be the first to be exported to Japan in 2008. Osak TV and NHK flew to South Korea to film Jeong and healthy effect of raw perilla seeds oil which resulted in increasing export to not only Japan but to 6 countries with surprising 600,000 USD sales. It is notable that back then, Japanese did not eat raw perilla seeds oil until Jeong made it known to them.

Decorated with prizes 

Jeong listed his name in the Sinzisikin 2015 and the 6th Industrialist 2016 in recognition of his contribution to spreading excellence of made in Korea to the world. It is also worth mentioning his receiving of the Prime Minister's prize for export in 2015 and the silver prize at the Palate Awards Belgium 2016. 

There are around 200 perilla seeds oil farmhouses in Eumseong County of which Jeong is purchasing the whole produce from 100. Yearly 3,000 visitors home and abroad including government personnels and chefs are touring his own farm to learn a thing or two, according to Jeong.

While Jeong is working on writing a book of his knowledge and experience, his three sons are busy expanding the business. Cafe_Perilla, run by the eldest son in the county, is visited by yearly 25,000 people who wish to taste the unique perilla powder latte. 

"If there is olive oil in Europe, there is raw perilla seeds oil in South Korea" says Im.


신태섭 기자  tss79@naver.com
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