Adventures in East Asia

A Homage to Pickled Cabbage - The Kimchi Field Museum

In the land of kimchi, it felt like a homage to make a trip to the small Kimchi Field Museum at the COEX mall and try to understand more about the pickled cabbage and its health benefits! To say nothing about the fact that it was close to where we were staying and it happened to be pouring with rain outside at the time...


But I'd not be giving the place full credit as it turned out to be a nice little visit with a couple of highlights.

The museum was on the second floor of the COEX mall and out of the way, so visitors certainly can't stumble across it by accident (unlike the aquarium). Entrance cost 3,000 KRW (£1.50) each and we ended up spending forty five minutes there. Not surprisingly, the place was pretty quiet with only a trio of other visitors. Probably because of its location.


As you'd expect, the history of kimchi is documented as are models depicting the process of making kimchi (including the fermentation process) and the different styles of kimchi that exist (coming from different regions of Korea).


Near the entrance, there was a gallery showing artistic visuals of the fiery cabbage as well as a quirky media installation showing animated line-drawn diner's hands projected onto a white-clothed table bearing printed plates of kimchi.




One of my favourite displays was the soy-jar terrace which apparently is a "back garden" that most traditional Korean homes have. Stocked with earthenware jars, they're filled with soy sauce, red bean paste and soy bean paste.


As a sunny, well-ventilated place, the soy-jar terrace harbours warm and happy associations for Koreans and thus it was believed that this area of the home was important to the family's well-being. Cleaned every day and with the jars polished, a well-kept soy-jar terrace was thought to make the family prosperous.

A mannequin wearing a traditional Korean costume was displayed along one wall such that visitors could pose with her.


The Kimchi Field Museum was developed and is run by the Pulmuone Corporation and as producers of kimchi, it wasn't surprising to find stocks of their products on hand, packed in special kimchi fridges. It was nice - and appropriate to see a few samples on offer in the kitchen for visitors to try though.


The kitchen also contained a microscope hooked up to a tv showing microscopic lactic acid bacteria which is key to the "health" of kimchi. Here's a short video showing what these looked liked.

On our way out, we passed through a photo gallery showing a wide choice of kimchi recipes. Kimchi hot dog anyone?


More photos of the Kimchi Field Museum on Flickr.

This entry posted in : Food. History. South Korea.

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