We walked up a few flights of stairs into a small apartment building in some residential area of Seoul, a sprawling metropolis of 10 million people. Within that population of millions, we were invited into the home of a Korean man named Kim, where he and his wife taught us how to make kimchi in Seoul, the Korean staple of life.
Kimchi is a side dish for almost every meal in Korea. It is fermented, and red, and pungent, and spicy. It is an acquired taste, but I have certainly caught the flavor for it. We were told “we eat kimchi with every meal.” In fact, the people we met in Seoul were surprised that we had even tried kimchi before, let alone that I actually like kimchi. Although, I don’t think I could eat it at every meal.
How to Make Kimchi, Quick
I put on my cotton apron and tied a cotton cooking hat around my forehead. Firmly feeling like I was dressing the part of a Korean grandmother, we went to work.
Our guide, Grace, told us how it is common to learn how to make kimchi once you are married. Before that, her mother would make the kimchi. Even now, with times changing, often times people will buy the kimchi that they need. Or, will spend a day making it just before the winter, preparing large amounts, which they store through the winter months.
How to Make a Kimchi Baby
After making the sauce, we placed our bright yellow rubber gloves on to mix the sauce by hand, making loads of moist, sponge-like, sounds as we squished the sauce mixture between our fingers. Then we layered the sauce between each of the large, salted cabbage leaves. We ensured the cabbage was covered by sauce, and soppy wet.
Then, our host, Kim, asked us to raise up our kimchi so he could take a photo. He was like a proud grandfather, asking us to cradle our giant, red, sloppy kimchi babies with pride. And, I was pretty proud.
We were supported by Viator Travel in our attempt to learn how to make kimchi, as part of their Korean culture tour, and were hosted by the Courtyard Seoul during our stay, but as always, my opinions are my own.