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Mayor Park of Seoul welcomes mission chiefs at the Royal Court Kimchi Event

LOCAL AUTONOMY

A preliminary to 2013 Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival Oct. 5-9

Mayor Park of Seoul welcomes mission
chiefs at the Royal Court Kimchi Event

Mayor Park Won-soon said that he gave a hearty welcome to the ambassadors and other distinguished guests at the Royal Court Kimchi-making at the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul on Sept. 7, 2013, which was a preliminary event of the 2013 Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival and that the welcome was given also by a good-omen butterfly that flew about the Kimchi-making site. Park made the remarks when he saw a beautiful yellowish white butterfly flew in when started his congratulatory remarks.

From left: Chairman Kim Sung-soon of the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival, Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Mayor Kang Un-tae of Gwangju Metropolitan City, Mayor Park Won-soon of the Seoul Special City, President Mrs. Han Bok-nyeo of Royal Court Food Institute, Charge d’Affaires Bakhtier Ibragimov of Uzbekistan, Director Kim Sang-Ho of Gwangju Culture Policy Office, and Deputy Head of Mission Minister-Counsellor Branko Marjanac.

Park noted that Kimchi was one of the best health foods of the world, and expressed hopes that Kimchi will be registered by the UNESCO as noted natural food of the world for good health.

Park’s speech was followed by one by Mayor Kang Un-tae of Gwangju City, who said in part: “Gwangju is the home of premium Korean Kimchi in that it produces top-quality cabbage, radish and other materials as well as the favor-creating pickles of anchovy, shrimps, yellow Corbina and octopuses. The vegetables grow in the best-fit soil and the marine products from the long coast lines that the region has.”

▲Mission chiefs and other senior diplomats try their skill in Royal Kimchi making.
It was a preliminary event of the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival slated in the Gwangju Metropolitan City on Oct. 5-9, 2013 hosted by Mayor Kang Un-tae of the Gwangju Metropolitan City.

Attending the event from the Korean society, besides Mayors Park and Kang, were Chairman Kim Sung-hoon of the Organizing Committee of the Gwangju Kimchi Festival, Managing Director Kim Sang-Ho of Culture and Tourism Policy Office of Gwangju City, Director Hwang Hye-sung of the Royal Court Food Institute and CEO Mrs. Kim Soon-Ja of Hansung Food Co., Ltd.

From right: Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul City, Mayor Kang of Gwangju, Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria and President Mrs. Han Bok-nyeo of the Royal Court Food Institute

Participants from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps included Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Charge d?ffaires Bakhtier N. Ibragimov, Minister Counsellor Branko Marjanac of Serbia, Counsellor Vitalii Chepeliuk of Ukraine and Third Secretary Abdulla Hareb Alshamsi of the United Arab Emirates.

The Royal Kimchi-making event was held in the form of re-enactment of the Royal Kimjang (Winter Kimchi-making) that took place under the instruction of the Head Court Lady (played by President Mrs. Han Bok-nyeo of the Royal Court Food Institute) who commanded a group of the Royal Kitchen court ladies and each who was assisted by one or two kitchen helps.

In fact, however, the court lady did not actually make the Winter Kimchi but assisted the foreign mission chiefs, Korean VIP guests and their spouses who actually made Kimchi.

Before the Kimchi-making was over, each court lady prepared a transparent plastic jar with a lid, put what her guest made in the jar and gave it to each of the participating diplomats and Korean VIP guests and their spouses to take home as a gift.

Following the Kimchi-making, the diplomats were invited to a luncheon at a classy Korean-cuisine restaurant near the British Embassy in Seoul. The menu included Neobiani (genuine Joseon Dynasty roast beef slices which have become Bulgogi today), Bibimbap and a wide variety of Kimchi.

Speaking at the luncheon, Mayor Kang said that it is important to use the best-quality materials for making good Kimchi but that they were not actually the deciding factor of the taste of Kimchi. “It is the hand (skill) of the Gwangju women who wanted to prepare the best food for their husband and other members of her family.” (See excerpts from the speech of Mayor Kang at the end of this article.)

Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria made a return speech expressing his appreciation of the invitation to the mission chiefs and other senior diplomats to have their experience in Kimchi making. He said that Kimchi is now very widely known in the world as an excellent health food as well as in Korea and that he personally had Kimchi at home.

From right: Mayor Kang of Gwangju, Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul City, Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.

Excerpts from the speech of Mayor Kang Un-tae of Gwangju City:We had a meaningful and rewarding time together experiencing the Korean Winter Kimchi Culture at the Gyeongbok Palace of the Joseon Dynasty in Seoul together with the Honorable Ambassadors, other Senior Members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps and the distinguished Korean and international guests.

Kimchi has an implication of sharing among neighbors and egalitarianism. I am wondering if we can find an occasion better fitting the expression.

From right, front row, Director Kim Sang-Ho of the Gwangju Culture Policy Office, Mrs. Nada Marhabac (wife of the Serbian DHM0, CDA Bakhtier lbragimov of Uzbekistan and CEO Mrs. Kim Soon-Ja of Hansung Food Co., an unidentified Korean guest, Mrs. Chepliuk and DHM Chepliuk of Ukraine.

We have made Kimchi before on many occasions. However, today it is much different in the fact that today we had explanations and demonstrations personally given by Important Intangible Asset President Mrs. Han Bok-nyeo, which added to our love and pride for Kimchi.

If today’s Kimchi Experiencing Event helped you take a stronger interest in, and love for, Kimchi, I would never be happier as the mayor of Gwangju, the home of Kimchi.

Helpers of the Royal Kitchen court ladies slice radish and mix radish shreds with hot pepper powder and various other ingredients, including picked seafood.

The Gwangju Kimchi is known as the best Kimchi of Korea.

The secret of it comes from the fact that we use radish and cabbages grown on a fertile farm of dark yellow soil, sun-dried salt, salted fish and various other top-quality Kimchi materials produced in the Gwangju region, as well as the Kimchi-making skill of the Gwangju women.

Today at this luncheon, we brought here the genuine Gwangju Kimchi so that you can personally sample it.

Soon before we begin our meal, they will bring here and serve us the top-quality White Kimchi of Gwangju that is noted for exceptional taste and flavor. Please try it.

A traditional korean dance troupe presents a Joseon Dynasty court dance welcoming the foreign mission chiefs and other VIP guests at the Seoul Special Event of the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Fastival.

In Korea on the winter Kimchi-making day, the Koreans have this custom. The villagers gather together and make Kimchi together. Not only do they make Kimchi but they also cook rice and take it with the Kimchi they have made.

We, too, all made Kimchi together and it is fitting that we all sit together and have a meaningful time, having the meal together and sharing the good experience we have had making Kimchi.

The Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival has a history and tradition of 20 years, and has become the premium Kimchi representing the Republic of Korea.

I will look forward to meeting with you all again at the 20th Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival 2013 on the upcoming October 5th to 9th. k

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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