A Look at the Gwangju World Kimchi Festival

By Dianelys Fuentes

You’ll see it as a side dish, in fried rice, or ramen; the possibilities are endless when it comes to kimchi dishes! According to the LA Times, the average Korean resident consumes 40 lbs of kimchi annually. There’s the traditional kimchi made of pickled cabbage, but there’s also radish, green onion, and cucumber kimchi among many others. That is why it's no surprise there is a world festival to celebrate kimchi in all its glory.

The Gwangju World Kimchi Festival is an annual event that takes place in...wait for it…

Kimchi Town in the Gwangju province of South Korea!

The festival started in 1994 to highlight kimchi-making, which was listed six years ago as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. 

The festival features kimchi from all regions of South Korea, from midwest to Gyeongsang-do (lower Southeast) to Hamgyeong-do (upper Northeast), and even Pyongan-do region of North Korea (outside of Pyongyang) over the span of four days.

The taste of kimchi differs from region to region because of the techniques and it has access to. For example, in the upper Northeast people use a lot of fresh fish and oysters to season their kimchi because of their proximity to the ocean. The regions also blend in their unique style of cooking into their kimchi. You can expect a saltier and spicier kimchi in the lower southeast regions because that’s what their cuisine is known for. 

You can try all of these from different booths at the festival and even try to make your own with a kimchi-making class. 

  • Kimchi Master Competition

One of the main attractions of the festival is the Kimchi Master Competition, in which people from all over Korea come to make kimchi from scratch in hopes to win a presidential prize and the title of “Kimchi Master.” Who doesn’t love a good cooking competition? 

Not a fan of kimchi? We get it, this dish can sometimes be an acquired taste, but you can still enjoy this festival by learning about the history of kimchi with a quick visit through their Kimchi Museum. There is also a theme park and free concerts held throughout the day, making the World Kimchi Festival a place everyone can enjoy.  

The festival is held during different dates each year so make sure to check out their official website for current information.

Let us know in the comments which type of kimchi is your favorite and if you’d love to go to this festival, we definitely would! 

Written by Dianelys Fuentes

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