Exploring South Korea’s Kimchi Culture: A Journey with ‘A Nation of Kimchi’


Watched something different this weekend on Netflix and I loved it! South Korea has a rich and vibrant culinary heritage, and at the heart of its cuisine lies an iconic dish – kimchi. On September 10, 2023, Netflix unveiled a tantalizing new documentary series, “A Nation of Kimchi,” created by Baek Heon-seok and produced by Cho Jeong-hoon and Lee Jee-hwi. This captivating show, also broadcasted on KBS, takes viewers on a mouthwatering exploration of kimchi’s evolution and significance in South Korea.

Fronted by the dynamic trio of Heo Yeong-man, Ryu Su-yeong, and Mimi, the series embarks on a gastronomic adventure across the nation. From time-honored recipes to contemporary innovations, “A Nation of Kimchi” delves into the diverse ways kimchi is crafted and utilized, revealing how this beloved dish has become synonymous with Korean cuisine.

In the debut episode, our intrepid hosts convene on a boat bound for Mokpo, nestled in South Jeolla Province. Here, they dive headfirst into the local way of life, joining native residents as they scour mudflats in pursuit of crabs and octopus. Unsurprisingly, our hosts find themselves knee-deep in mud, but their determination prevails, and they contribute to the hunt, catching a glimpse of the deep-rooted connection between the community and its seafood harvest.

The harvested treasures from the sea are meticulously cleaned and incorporated into the fiery kimchi mix, along with an array of fresh vegetables and fruits. This culinary fusion is a regional specialty, offering a tantalizing medley of flavors in every bite. Through this hands-on experience, Heo Yeong-man, Ryu Su-yeong, and Mimi gain insight into the intricate art of kimchi-making, witnessing firsthand the dedication and expertise required.

Their culinary journey takes them to a local eatery in the Namyangju area, where they savor the renowned cucumber kimchi. This delectable side dish not only accompanies meals but is also available for takeaway in generous portions. As they relish their meal, a lively debate ensues about the best way to enjoy it. Yeong-man and Mimi favor starting with the sliced tail, savoring each bite up to the intact head, while Su-yeong prefers to savor the head, savoring each of the four slices individually.

“A Nation of Kimchi” promises to be a feast for the senses, offering a tantalizing glimpse into the intricate world of South Korean cuisine. With its passionate hosts and mouthwatering adventures, this series invites viewers to savor the diverse flavors and traditions that make kimchi an integral part of South Korea’s culinary identity. Stay tuned for weekly episodes that will undoubtedly leave you craving more.

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