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Kimchi finds fans in Washington

2012/09/23 | 131 views |  | Permalink | Source

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Ahead of this year's Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival, various kimchi-related events took place from September 13 to 16 during the Korean-U.S. Festival in Virginia. Participants included members of the Gwangju Kimchi Bus team (pictured) as well as Chef Philip Lee, owner of the Kimchi Taco Food Truck in New York City, who together created a fusion-style kimchi dish for the enjoyment of festival goers (photo courtesy of Gwangju Metropolitan City).

Korea's iconic staple food kimchi drew crowds near America's capital city last weekend.

The overseas events for the 19th Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival took place from September 13 to 16 in conjunction with the tenth annual Korean-U.S. Festival in Centreville, Virginia, just 32 kilometers west of Washington, D.C.

The three-day festival, held in advance of the official Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival which will open in Gwangju, Korea from October 13 to 17, began with an international kimchi conference that gathered experts from the public and private sectors to discuss issues such as the scientific functionality of fermented foods and health benefits of kimchi.

Organized by the World Institute of Kimchi (WiKim) in partnership with Gwangju Metropolitan City and the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival Committee, the international kimchi conference featured special guests such as Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf, Korea's Consul General Yoon Soon-gu, and Dr. Karen Hulebak, former chair of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for the establishment of international standards for food production and safety.

Other welcomed participants at this year's Kimchi Culture Festival included members of the Kimchi Bus team, which has traveled around the world for over a year introducing kimchi to new audiences. Chef Phillip Lee, owner of the Kimchi Taco Food Truck in New York City, joined together with the Kimchi Bus to develop a fusion-style kimchi dish, proceeds from which were donated to the Korean-American Association of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Marja Vongerichten, host of the PBS show The Kimchi Chronicles, also took part in the festival, during which she and Lee, together with the Kimchi Bus team, were designated as official ambassadors of kimchi.

Visitors to the Korean-U.S. Festival that took place from September 13 to 16 in Virginia were treated to a Kimchi Culture and Marketing Event, which included kimchi-making demonstrations as well as kimchi-tasting and sales booths. Over a ton of kimchi was sold during the event (photo courtesy of Gwangju Metropolitan City).

Meanwhile, at the equally popular kimchi-tasting and sales booths, for which a one-ton shipment of kimchi had been delivered from Gwangju, the long lines of locals scooped up all the wares by the second day of the festival.

Notably, one Gwangju kimchi company signed an MOU with local American company Five Day's Market to arrange for over 50 tons (or approximately USD 530,000) of kimchi-related exports.

Gwangju kimchi has long been renowned for its high quality and distinctive taste, attributed to the over-three-year fermentation process and special ingredients such as sun-dried salt and cabbage grown in the loess soils of Jeolla-do (Jeolla Province).

More information on kimchi and the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival can be found at the website of the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival Committee.

By Kwon Jungyun Staff Writer

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