I guess only in Korea can you find a refrigerator specially made for kimchi storage – “kimchi neng-jang-go” as what the Koreans call it. “Neng-jang-go” is the Korean word for refrigerator or iced box machine. This fridge extends the “life” of your kimchi. There are different kinds of kimchi in Korea and one family probably stores a minimum of three to four kinds in their refrigerator. Other households might have more varieties of kimchi in store. In our case, we usually stock up on “paechu kimchi” (chinese cabbage), “dong chimi” (water kimchi – my favorite!), “kkaktugi” (cubed radish), and “oi” (cucumber).
Every winter season, Koreans make kimchi to last for the cold season (4-5 months?). This tradition is known as “kimjang”. In the olden times, holes are dug on the ground where vats containing kimchi are stored to preserved its freshness. This practice had been replaced with the advent of the refrigerator and of course, with the more efficient kimchi refrigerator. Kimchi stays fresher longer with a “dimchae” – another name for the specialized refrigerator. Aside from kimchi, fruits and vegetables also stay fresher inside the kimchi fridge.
Having a kimchi fridge wasn’t our idea. It was my parents-in-law’s and they are the ones who bought it for us as a gift. It has been two years since we cancelled their first order of the fridge since we didn’t think we needed it that time. Good thing my husband accepted the one they ordered on the eve of my birthday.