I haven’t posted in a while. Sorry about that everyone. After Japan, Nicole and I took a weekend off to just relax and recoup. We were worn out from Japan travels and ready for a break, but after a weekend off, Nicole and I were itching for something fun to do. Luckily the Gwangju Kimchi festival was the very next weekend.
But First, What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented dish made of vegetables and seasoning. There are many different varieties of kimchi including radish, scallion, and cucumber, although the most popular is cabbage. When you eat out in Korea, kimchi is always a free side dish served with the main meal. Typically it comes in a little white dish along with several other sides.
On Korean holidays like Chuseok, Koreans make lots of kimchi to share with their relatives and eat throughout the year since it ferments and gets better with age.
Nicole and I are big fans of kimchi and usually buy some while we’re at the grocery store. Its spicy and sour, but goes well in soups and omelets. It’s also a very good source of vitamin C, which is helpful in a country largely devoid of citrus.
Kimchi is such a staple of Korean culture that it has its own appliance. Families will typically have a refrigerator and a separate kimchi refrigerator with several fermentation and temperature settings.
The Gwangju Kimchi Festival
Nicole and I decided to visit Gwangju’s famous Kimchi Festival in Jungoe Park to find out more about this fascinating aspect of Korean culture. The festival ran October 5-9th this year and included lots of festivities and crafts. Nicole and I visited with two of my co-teachers, Sarah and Alyssa. We got there in the afternoon and walked around sampling the different Kimchis. Each booth had a table with several pounds of kimchi and a plate of samples at the front. People would walk by and take a sample and possibly buy some. Nicole and I picked out a variety we liked and bought 1 Kg. We also picked out some souvenirs for our families, which I can’t describe as they’re likely reading this.
The Gwangju Blog Kimchi Festival Scavenger Hunt
Every year as part of the Kimchi Festival, the Gwangju Blog hosts a scavenger hunt for the expat community. Nicole, Alyssa, and I entered this year as team SuperLate. The name came from the fact that we signed up the moment the contest started and not in the several weeks leading up to the contest. As part of the free scavenger hunt, we all got giant orange t-shirts and a list of clues to go find. To get points during the scavenger hunt, we had to take a picture in front of the clue or performing the assigned task.
The three of us spent the afternoon running around doing all sorts of traditional crafts like ink rollings of Kimchi ingredients or making fried kimchi or looking for a trashcan, a rare site in Korea.