“[…] You cannot do that, it’s like asking a Korean not to eat Kimchi”.
The speaker paused. I shifted slightly on my chair and looked at the group of ladies sitting around the table with me. There was a slight giggle of surprise then it was clear that everybody understood. Had you entered the room in that exact moment you would have not guessed that the talk being delivered was about the job market in Korea rather than Kimchi but anyone who has spent longer than the average length of a holiday or a quick business trip in South Korea would appreciate this metaphor to a deeper level.
Yes Kimchi is an important food in this part of the world. Kimchi in South Korea is not just food, it is a tradition, it is a way of life.
As for many things Korean before I came to live in Seoul, I really didn’t know anything about Kimchi yet now I appreciate that if you want to understand the culture a bit more then you also need to understand Kimchi, the relationship Koreans have with it and the many possible permutations of cabbage and other vegetable things can go through.
Because truly if you think that all Kimchi is the same, then obviously you don’t know Kimchi.
In autumn, when the trees turn into beautiful colourful paintings and the hot sumer weather is replaced by crisp, sunny and bright days, Koreans get busy making Kimchi for the winter.
This is the period of a special event called Gimjang. This is a great season to learn a bit more about one of the many interesting facets of Korean culture and customs for example by attending the Kimchi Making and Sharing Festival.
Below is a copy of the leaflet that I have created for my second mission as a Global Seoulmate.
It’s time to learn more! Can you Kimchi?