Friday, April 15, 2011

Korea and Kimchi

About 20 or so years ago, at the last minute, I was invited to travel with my daughter Becky to Korea to visit my other daughter Judie who was at that time in the Air Force.

The Korean Travel and the military had arranged for a package deal to encourage family members to visit Korea.

Hurriedly I applied for my passport and before we knew it, we were on our way. Judie met us at the airport and escorted us to the Hamilton Hotel where many visitors stay.

The next day, Judie took us to the local shopping mall to experience how to barter and get the best prices.

The area was lined with family businesses who each would rent a stall to display their wares.

One thing we quickly learned is that the Korean people love to negotiate. Judie told us that they all understand the words, “Better price!”

Most of those we met could understand and speak a bit of English.  It was the taxi drivers limited English that frightened us, but we always ended up where we wanted to be.

That evening Judie again escorted us to a banquet at one of the local restaurants. It was there that we were introduced to Baechoo KIMCHI along with a delicious meal.

The flavor was hard to describe but it was pickled and hot. Before long we were enjoying the tangy taste of Kimchi. We learned that the Koreans prepare their Kimchi and then cure it in large crocks, sometimes underground.

The juice is wonderful for a sore throat and they claim it will cure other ailments as well.

I wondered if the spicy hot vinegar flavor of the Kimchi worked the same way as my mothers home made remedy.

Mother made her own salsa using tomatoes and hot peppers from her garden. In the event of a cold, she would down a tablespoon full of her delicious hot stuff, and it would burn out all the cold germs. I kid you not!

I searched for a Kimchi recipe and will include a simple one that I discovered, but do take a look here for an education about Kimchi.

This post has been entered in Ann Kroeker’s Food on Fridays at
Please visit her site and gather up some delicious and nutritious recipes.

Here is a recipe you simply must try - - -

3 lbs Baechoo (Korean cabbage) or regular white cabbage
4 cups water
1 cup salt

1/2 cup shredded white radish (cut 1/8 inch thick and 2 inches long)
1 cup shredded green onions (cut in 1 to 1 1/2 inch strips)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbsp cayenne powder
3 tbsp salted anchovy juice or salted shrimp juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Remove outside 3 or 4 leaves of cabbage and set them aside. Cut cabbage into quarters lengthwise and put the quartered cabbage into a large deep pan.

Combine 1 cup salt and the 4 cups of water and pour over cabbage. Let it stand at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the cabbage softens. Remove cabbage from pan; rinse the cabbage well with fresh water. Let it drain.

Combine shredded vegetables with garlic, ginger, cayenne, salted anchovy or shrimp juice, sugar and salt and pack mixture between the cabbage leaves. Put the cabbage into a jar and cover it tightly. Let it stand at room temperature for 2 days to ripen, then store it in the refrigerator. It stores for about 2 weeks.

This post has been entereed at  in an interesting collection of Multi-cultural stories.  Inferior Mother is the Hostess.


Anonymous said...

Good story

Anonymous said...

How awesome Hazel, thank you!
Love, Vicki K

Ann Kroeker said...

Sounds like you acclimated quickly to the Korean culture and appreciated the sights, smells and flavors! I can imagine some Americans I know (some I'm related to) scrunching up their noses and making an "ewww" face after tasting something so different from what I usually serve.

Thanks for introducing a new dish to me!

Anonymous said...

Hazel, thanks for being a part of the writing project. It's so neat to hear everyone's stories. I remember after a choir tour to Korea (we went when I was a student at Baylor for an international choral festival), my suitcase smelled like Kimchi. :) I wasn't as brave as you were--and left the taste to my imagination.