I had the pleasure of joining up with a tourism group called WinK (when in Korea) who set up this awesome kimchi making event.
The Kimchi making place was at a venue about 15 minutes walking distance from Dunchondon station on line 5 (the purple line).
We walked in to a big open room with a few Korean ajummas (term for a married woman) already going at their own batches of kimchi and a table set up so we could begin ours.
Our WinK host was the lovely and talented Sunny, who graciously taught us the ancient Korean secrets to making good kimchi. Sunny taught us a very simple way of making kimchi, then she taught us her way. It’s really up to the person to choose what flavour they are going for. Some prefer more spice, while others prefer the garlic and some, the salt. There is also the option of adding vegetables like onions and carrots, or adding anchovy oil and/or shrimp paste – all up to the cook to put in or leave out.
Once our tutorial was finished, we were told to try our hand at it!
The time-consuming part of making kimchi is that you must soak the cabbage heads in salted water for 10 hours. Once that is accomplished, the art of mixing the spices to create the sauce and massaging it into the cabbage leaves is quite meditative. Women traditionally make the kimchi for the family and usually their extended family too, so if I had a big family to prepare for, it may not seem like such fun. Sunny told us that some women prepare 50-100 heads of cabbage into kimchi, but for those with smaller families, they only need to prepare about 10 heads. In our case, we prepared two halves, equal to one head each to take home. I felt really happy and satisfied when I was finished, like I accomplished a real life skill that I will take with me in life.
Special thanks to WinK and to Sunny who was our amazing teacher and braved the task of tasting our first attempts to help us get the flavour ratios right. Couldn’t have done it without you Sunny! Cheers to a great day of learning and awesome food.