No, it’s not an alien in a bottle. That funny looking clump of roots belongs to the Ginseng plant, an herb well loved by Koreans for its energy boosting properties. The funky looking root is also known to boost immunity, improve stamina, relieve stress and enhance memory, and its been used in everything from ice cream to hair products.
The most common way to eat ginseng root is either raw or lightly cooked, but due to its bitter flavor, some people prefer it as a tea or in a capsule form as a supplement.
Shops selling ginseng roots are common, and can be found in virtually every neighborhood of Seoul, but be prepared to shell out big bucks for the prized herb.