Wednesday, November 26, 2008


'Tis the season for kimjang (김 장)! Ask people worldwide what comes to mind when they consider Korea and you're likely to hear "kimchi", the famous side dish of spicy, fermented cabbage with a powerful taste and a distinct smell, especially on your breath a few hours after you've eaten it! Kimjang is the centuries-long practice of making loads of kimchi to last through the winter. The custom has become less commonplace in modern times, as today's career women simply don't have time for the hours upon hours of washing, chopping, stuffing, and storing, and buying imported varieties in supermarkets is cheaper (and easier) than making the real deal. Still, many Korean homes are equipped with a refrigerator designed specifically to hold massive amounts of the accoutrement. Some families continue to store kimchi outside, buried underground. Since the trademark dish is served with nearly every Korean meal, making enough to last a family three or four months is surly a daunting task. My "Worldwide Friendship" co-host, Haewon Yoon, recently toiled with a group of friends for two days, turning 200 cabbages into kimchi. She was nice enough to take my camera along to capture the event.

This is how it all begins. Haewon and friends used about 200 cabbages for this year's kimjang. The entire process takes about one week. Day 1 is spent washing the cabbages, preparing other ingredients, and soaking the cabbages in salt water.

Just a few of the many tubs of ingredients.

Haewon, middle, and friends, preparing cabbages, radishes, and onions for kimjang.

The cabbages are halved and soak in salt water overnight before being stuffed on Day 2. Kimjang can be great exercise; Haewon came into work bemoaning sore limbs after two days of throwing hundreds of cabbages around.

Here, Haewon is mixing up kkakdugi (깍 두 기), another popular side dish, made of cubed daikon radish, red pepper, garlic, onion, and spices.

On Day 2, many gloved hands stuff hundreds of cabbages with red pepper powder, fish sauce, minced ginger, garlic, and green onions to create the delicacy widely regarded as one of the world's healthiest foods. After the stuffing, the kimchi will be packed in plastic containers (or earthenware jars, traditionally) where it will ferment. It's ready to eat in about a week and stays good through the winter. In fact, many people prefer aged kimchi over the freshly-made.

Over 2,000 volunteers came together outside Seoul's City Hall last week to make 58,000 cabbages worth of kimchi to be donated to underprivileged families. (Photo courtesy JoongAng Daily)


성수 said...

안녕하세요 애비
Hi Abby~

좋은 경험을 하셨네요
You seems to have a good time

애비는 매운것을 좋아하니까, 김치도 좋아하시겠네요
I think you like kimchi because I know you like spicy food.

저는 매운걸 잘 못먹지만 김치는 맵지 않다고 생각합니다 :)
and I don't like spicy food. but I think kimchi is not spicy :)

나는 김치를 좋아합니다. 깍두기도요
I like kimchi. and kkakdugi too.

한국 사람은 김치없이는 못산답니다. ^^
Korean is no live without kimchi ^^

얼마 전, 제가 사는 집의 주인 아주머니도 김치를 담그셨고
A few days ago, my house's host maam had kimjang.

충청도에 계시는 부모님께서는 김치를 보내주셨어요
and my mother who is live choongchung-province(충청도). she sended kimchi to me

좋은 글과 사진 잘 보았습니다.
Your post and picture is nice.

즐거운 주말 되세요~
Enjoy weekend~ & thnak you for reading :)

Vic in Long Beach, CA said...

Are you in Korea, or "overseas" now? Abby's photos are always very good! I wonder what camera she uses.

She once had photos of herself, in a bikini. She is "not very hard on the eyes!" (slang, meaning "very pretty"!)

Are you going to school? I ask, only because I work for the California State University (at) Long Beach.

Have a great weekend!!

Seongsu Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seongsu Kim said...

Hi Vic(is this your name right? ^^;)
Are you Abby's friend?
I live in korea(always), I am cameraman and film editor for KBS World web page.
And.. maybe, I will going to university a few years later.
I hope to learn 'Directing', and I heard Abby made some documentaries.
These days, I learn english. but I don't know that I am going to overseas.
I didn't leave from korea.
Hmm... I had to ride Airplain only one time for traveling 'jeju island' there is southside korea and have very beautiful look out.
Anyway, I don't know Abby's camera...(sorry), but I remember that camera was small and handy.
Ask to Abby about detail things ^^ I think Abby is good journalist.
Nice to meet you. and have a great weekend too~

ps. Many koreans are thinking orange when they listen 'California' ^^ I think there is awesome place.

안녕하세요 빅(이름 맞죠?)
애비 친구이신가요?
저는 한국에 살고, 애비와 같은 회사에서 카메라맨 겸 편집자로 일하고 있어요
그리고, 아마도 나는 몇년 뒤에 대학에 갈 것 같아요
나는 연출을 전공하고 싶고, 애비가 다큐멘터리를 만들었다는 이야기를 들었어요.
영어를 공부하고 있긴 하지만 외국에 나갈지는 의문이예요;
저는 한국을 떠나본 적이 없답니다.
한국의 아름다운섬 제주도를 여행갈 때 비행기를 타긴 했었지만... :)
아무튼, 애비의 카메라는 잘 모르지만, 가볍고 가지고 다니기 좋은 카메라 였던것 같아요
자세한건 애비에게 물어보세요 ^^ 애비는 훌륭한 기자입니다.
만나서 반갑습니다. Vic씨도 멋진 주말 되세요~

추신. 많은 한국사람들은 캘리포니아 하면 오렌지를 생각한답니다 ^^ 그곳은 멋진곳일것 같아요.