A few weeks ago, the Seoul Kimchi Festival was held and of course since it's been part of my bucket list, I signed up to make some kimchi! My friend and I arrived promptly at 10am excited to get messy and slather red pepper paste on some cabbage.
When we arrived and signed in, we were quickly told that we would have our very own translator! Say whaaaa, me? I get a personal translator? That's a first! I think because we were the ONLY foreigners haha ...at least for this class. We were also given a goodie bag with some equipment to turn ourselves into professional ajumma-kimchi-making chefs.
The class was taught by this lady, the Kimchi Master, who apparently is famous for her kimchi recipes. We thought she was famous especially because a bunch of camera crews wanted to get a shot of her. I've asked around and yes, some people do know her. Anyways, this is the reason why we were the only foreigners; all the ajummas wanted the secret kimchi recipe. Mmmm we should've signed up for the beginners class instead haha.
Each table was set up with all the ingredients and some other equipment we would need. I was expecting to start making it right away, but ugh, the famous lady went on and on for about 40 minutes about the recipe. The only reason I minded waiting impatiently was because I had a wee too much wine the night before and my stomach was not doing too well, especially with the strong smell of sea food. Forty minutes later the Kimchi Master left and her assistant started giving us the step by step instructions. It was a bit confusing because the translator kept messing up and everybody was doing it differently. I kept looking around to follow the steps that everybody was doing (as I am a visual learner), but it was all different! At one point I gave up and just started mixing whatever I wanted. I do what I want!
As we were making our kimchi, like I said, we were the only foreigners, so we had a bunch of camera crew people getting close and personal with our kimchi. They kept asking as us to say "I love kimchi" in Korean and kept asking what we were going to cook with it, I said "kimchi quesadillas and kimchi jiggae." One lady would not go away with her damn camera, and kept asking me to repeat "I love kimchi" over and over because I was not saying it with the fake exaggerated enthusiasm that she wanted. Again, I wouldn't have minded all the attention, but I was hungover and in a bitchy mood. But anyways, you may see a clip of me fake-smiling and saying how much I love kimchi on Korean TV.
And here's my kimchi! Delicious for my first time I gotta brag hehe. And yes, I did make kimchi quesadillas and kimchi jiggae later that week, yum!
1950's inspired kimchi-making mural
And though I didn't necessarily make the kimchi from scratch, I will cross it off my list, boom! It counts.
A shot of the kimchi-making ladies who were working non-stop.