As many know, Kimchi is the most representative Korean food. Koreans make Kimchi at any time but have Kimchi season around November and it is called “Kimjang (김장).” It is one of the Korean traditions to prepare food for winter when is hard to get fresh vegetables.
These days, less people do Kimjang because they can buy Kimchi from a store or get it from their moms and aunts but there are many who still do Kimjang. Also, non-profit organizations make a lot of Kimchi during Kimjang season and donate them to the poor. This culture, making and sharing Kimchi, is even listed in UNESCO Heritage.
Yesterday, I had the chance to visit the field. It was the third day of Kimjang. It takes quite a lot because people need to prepare ingredients for a day, preserve the cabbages with salt for a day, and make seasonings and put it inside the cabbages for a day.
Usually, people who make Kimchi for their family do that at home. However, since the organizations make a lot of Kimchi, they did it in a spacious place near paddy fields. It’s just them, though. The place doesn’t matter.
Many people, around 50, came to help voluntarily. Some washed and preserved the cabbages with salt, and others made the seasoning and put it inside of the preserved cabbages. They made Kimchi with over 2,000 cabbages. Usually, a family with four members eat about 10 cabbages during the whole winter (Of course it varies depending on families). So.. it’s a lot.
Look at how many cabbages are preserved. During Kimjang, you don’t just make Kimchi, but you also eat boiled pork with Kimchi.
From the top, it’s Cabbage Doenjang soup, seasoned radish which goes into preserved cabbages, and boiled pork. All of them are amazing!
For lunch on the last day of Kimjang, people who helped Kimjang gather and enjoy the feast. I was invited for lunch too 🙂
How to eat them?
- Well, put rice in the soup, mix them, and eat them together.
- On a preserved cabbage, put boiled pork and few seasoned radish and eat it.
- On a dried seaweed, do the same.
Making Kimchi is fun but my favorite is the last day’s feast! You share food and love with each other 🙂 I hope that Koreans keep this tradition well.