Traditionally, in the beginning of winter, Koreans have made kimchi for the whole year’s consumption. This event is called ‘gimjang’ in Korean. Gimjang has been one of the most important yearly household events. Many Koreans have fond childhood memories of the gimjang day, when the whole family participated in making a huge amount of kimchi and shared it with relatives and neighbors. Last month, JEONJU Food Foundation held the ‘2022 Jeonju Gimjang (kimchi-making) Culture Festival’ to promote locally-grown ingredients and celebrate the culture of kimchi-making.
2022 Jeonju Gimjang Culture Festival
The ‘2022 Jeonju Gimjang Culture Festival’ was held in Jeonju Sports Complex from the 18th to the 20th of November. The days seemed relatively warm compared to previous years. But since many Korean households have the ‘kimchi refrigerator’, the warmer days won’t be problematic for preserving kimchi.
This year’s festival was held both off-site and on-site. The off-site participants picked up the ingredients for kimchi from the nearby JEONJU Food stores. The on-site participants made kimchi at the festival. The participants are offered a bargain price for the ingredients (7kgs of napa cabbages and 3kgs of kimchi seasoning for 60,000 won; each family can purchase up to 50kgs of the ingredients). The kimchi seasoning is made by the local kimchi experts.
To use as less disposables as possible during the festival, the participants are encouraged to bring their own kimchi containers, aprons, gloves, and the like. The ingredients for kimchi are all locally-grown and safe ingredients certified by JEONJU Food.
Kimchi-making as a family event
There were many families in the festival. The pre-ordered salted napa cabbages and kimchi seasonings for each family were prepared on the table. Everyone was busy wearing apron and gloves.
I participated in making 10kgs of kimchi. I’ve done making kimchi with 300 napa cabbages in the past. I started by getting rid of the extra water from the salted napa cabbages. Then, I meticulously pasted the kimchi seasoning on each napa cabbage leaves. That wasn’t too difficult!
I heard a family saying “pretty~ pretty~” while pasting kimchi seasoning on a napa cabbage. It was cute and funny, but I had to wonder if that family would ever be able to finish in time.
Traditional, flavorsome, and fun festival
Most households will have their own tips for making good kimchi. The kimchi seasoning prepared for this year’s festival contains dropwort, one of local specialities.
The kimchi that was made during the festival was also shared with the households in need. Also, the events such as kimchi-making for children and people from overseas were also held during the festival.
Due to the recent tragedy in Itaewon, many fun events that were planned for this year’s festival were cancelled.
Jeonju Gimjang Culture Festival promotes the local agriculture, safe food, carbon neutrality, culture of sharing, and Jeonju’s traditional kimchi dishes. I wish more families participate and make fond memories of making kimchi together in the future Jeonju Gimjang Culture Festival.
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