Are you ready to experience a unique Korean culture? The Seoul Kimchi Festival is going to be held this weekend from November 6th, 7th and 8th. The main event is Kimjang (Hangeul: 김장) ~ the culture of making kimchi. Kimchi preparation takes about a year ~ from spring when seafood are harvested and processed into fermented shrimp (새우젓: sae-u jeot) and anchovy sauce (멸치젓: myeol-chi jeot). In the summer, sea salt is prepared for the brine or kimchi salt bath. In late summer, red chili peppers are washed, dried and ground to make red pepper powder. Come fall, the vegetables are readied for the big event ~ kimjang!
Kimjang is a tiring but a satisfying event for the ajummas. At our household, kimchi making takes about two days. On the first day, we shop for the vegetable ingredients (napa cabbages, radish, green onions, leeks, peaches) to be used for the kimchi. At night, the huge napa cabbages are salted and soaked in a salt bath. On the second day, we cut the other veggies and prepare the sauce. Our winter kimchi usually lasts for about 6 months ~
The Seoul Kimjang Festival’s main event is kimchi making at Seoul Plaza and hundreds joined last year.
NGOs shared their time to make thousands of kimchi that were distributed for the less fortunate citizens of Seoul.
There were churchgoers and even just groups of women (and men) who joined in the largest event of making kimchi.
Aside from the kimjang, there are other events and exhibits during the festival. Last year, I participated in a cooking class for “dosirak” or lunch box food. It was all free ~ the class, the ingredients and I also got to take home a bag of freebies from the sponsor. We made bulgogi kimbap and a green salad with shrimp and persimmon.
I will be participating again at this year’s Seoul Kimjang Festival ~
Everyone is invited to join the events and you could register for the activities at Seoul Kimchi Festival 2015. Aside from kimjang and cooking classes, there would be exhibits of the different kinds of kimchi ~ and of course, a market for those who’d rather buy their kimchi than experiment on their own 🙂