One of our goals for our time in Korea was to do as many awesome things as possible. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity and don’t want to squander it. So when a notice came down about a chance to make kimchi we jumped at it.
The event was put on by Rotary Club International. It was an event to make kimchi which would then be donated to a local orphanage. We knew nothing about what was going to happen or how to make kimchi. We arrived, suited up and then got to work. The fermented cabbage part was already done for us, all we’d be doing was rubbing the red pepper paste onto the cabbage which would then be put into bags, which where then put in boxes.
We settled into our table with some middle-aged women. One spoke a little English, but mostly there was a lot of gesturing as they showed us what to do, and gently scolded us when we didn’t do it right. The surprise of the morning came when my Scandinavian husband pulled out his kimchi making skills and earned high praise from the women at the table for his well made kimchi.
My skills weren’t as good. I was slow, too slow. As a result I was mildly scolded and shown how to do it correctly, and faster. I think it was supposed to be a race to see which table could get theirs done the fastest. About 3/4 the way through we stopped for a snack break. It was a traditional snacks that are always served when making kimchi. They fed us (literally – as you can see my hands were in gloves and a mess from making kimchi), pork wrapped in kimchi, and a rice flour treat rolled in sweet beans, and something, I am not really sure what it was, but I think it was fish cake in broth. I wasn’t a huge fan of that, but the other snacks were delicious! (Especially the pork with kimchi!)
Kimchi making was really fun, and really messy! Some people came in ponchos, and after doing it we could see why! I managed to get kimchi all over me even though I was covered by an apron and gloves up to my elbows! My shoes got kimchi on them as did my sweater and I even managed to get some in my hair (I was wearing a hair-net)!
Making kimchi was fun, and knowing that it was for a good cause made it even better. It was a great experience and we are so glad we did it.