Friday, August 27, 2021

The Many Type of Kimchi

My life is very simple when it comes to South Korean famous delicacy – Kimchi. I have also thought that kimchi is cabbage and spicy paste (what a simple brain I have) BUT NOOOOOO… apparently there are many many MANY type of kimchi. I am in awe…

Kimchi originally was a way to preserve vegetables during the winter months, this was back in the olden days lah. What began as pickles in a salty brine turned into the kimchi we know today, of course with the addition of various spices and condiments ie. paprika powder. Kira macam telah diberi nafas baharu gitew.

Nabak Kimchi is clear and soup, one that I have yet to try. 

Chonggak Kimchi a.k.a Young Radish is actually interesting as it is named base on how in the olden days Korean bachelors braid their hair. FYI, chonggak = “bachelor” in Korean language.

After a bit of help from Mr Google, I was made to understand that there are more than 50 kimchi varieties based on the raw materials being used, its processes, as well as spice and preparation methods. Not only that, it is also identified according to region, right down to its temperature and other environmental conditions, and this has led to the creation of more than 100 different varieties of kimchi.

Pakimchi (green onion kimchi) is crispy and much easier to make it seems.

I’ve learnt that Korean cabbage and radishes are among the most popular vegetables for kimchi, but I was surprised to found out that there are other types of kimchi aside from this 2 vegetables ie cucumbers, chive, carrots, onions and eggplants. You might be as surprise as I am to know that kimchi can also be in soup form – spicy red soup or spicy clear soup. There is also kimchi pancake and kimchi fried rice too, kimchi meehoon ada tak rasanya?

Oi Sobagi or Cucumber Kimchi is crunchy in texture and perhaps one of the recipes that doesn’t require one to ferment it.

In general, kimchi making process involves seasoning the vegetables and fermenting them until they soften and absorb the flavours. Its recipe gives kimchi fishy gochugaru (flaked peppers) flavor, ginger, garlic paste and fish sauce, and of course the spice. It is said that there are also Kimchi-jjigae or meat and seafood kimchi such as chicken kimchi, oyster kimchi, codfish kimchi, squid kimchi and etc but this is to added to improve and varies its flavor.

Yeolmu Kimchi or Water Radish Leaf Kimchi is popular dish during the summer.

Stuffed green chili pepper kimchi or in Korean Putgochumulkimchi reminds me of solok lada for nasi kerabu.

In general, kimchi making process involves seasoning the vegetables and fermenting them until they soften and absorb the flavours. Its recipe gives kimchi fishy gochugaru (flaked peppers) flavor, ginger, garlic paste and fish sauce, and of course the spice. It is said that there are also Kimchi-jjigae or meat and seafood kimchi such as chicken kimchi, oyster kimchi, codfish kimchi, squid kimchi and etc but this is to added to improve and varies its flavor.

Baechu-kimchi is basically cabbage kimchi or mostly referred to as kimchi.

Other common kimchi :
Napa Cabbage Kimchi is served in winter and early spring.
Perilla leaf kimchi (from Daun Pudina family) or Kkaennip kimchi, this fragrant kimchi commonly eaten during summer time as well.
Apparently Buchu kimchi or garlic chives kimchi is one of the easiest to make. Jom make.

Kimchi pancakes is made with wheat flour and perhaps leftover kimchi.

Kimchi fried rice or kimchi-bokkeum-bap is basically like our nasi goring but using kimchi, and some with cheese.

Gosh! All these kimchi are making me hungry. Jom makan kimchi!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Korean Folk Village goes VIRTUAL (한국민속촌)

Recently I participated in an online Korean Folk Village Virtual Tour, as I have not been here before I thought this is a good initiative by the Malaysia KTO team. Kudos to them.

A lot can be learnt about Korea from this place and I was amazed on how detail and information this place it, I guess once the world is able to travel I shall make a one month trip to Korea and visit all these places. But before that happens, let me share with you what I’ve learnt during this virtual tour of mine.

Located in Gyeonggi-do, Korean Folk Village was opened in 1974 to introduce the late Joseon period traditional culture via their lifestyle, custom, culture and heritage. It is taken from the 270 real houses from different parts of the country, restored from the Joseon dynasty to simulate a village during that particular period. There are also performance such as nongak (folk/farmer’s music), martial arts on horseback, traditional wedding ceremony and etc. Aside, they are also seasonal showcases depending on the month you visit, and I was told that "Welcome to Joseon’ is celebrated in May where you will get to experience ‘living’ in the Joseon dynasty. So do plan your trip well.

This 245 acres of land that houses the traditional houses is set with vast greenery of mountains as its backdrop and a tranquil river running through it. It is no surprise that this place is also the set for a few popular kdrama ie. My Love from the Star, Moon Embracing the Sun, The Great Queen Seondeok and many more. It is definitely a perfect place to reenacting a typical daily life during Joseon era.

This is the interesting part, you can actually rent a full set hanbok dress/attire when visiting this place so that you can take lovely photos. They also have hanbok for kids, so that you can take family photos, cute huh!

There is also a unique pile of rocks with hundreds of tiny pieces of paper tied around it. Apparently it is a wishing note rock. And that what you write/wish will come true. 

We were also shown the olden days’ toilet where the poo-poo with be taken out and dumped somewhere further from the village houses. Pretty much like the olden days in Malaysia too I guess, according to my mom that is.

Large pots (Malay calls them tempayan) for fermentation can easily be seen in the villages back in those days, I believe these are for kimchi making.

Oh! One thing I was in awe is when the tour guide showed a pharmacy house/shop and a garden in front of it, he later asked whether do we know why is there a garden in front of the pharmacy. The explanation surprises me – it is actually an herb garden for the pharmacist to grab his herb for potion making. Ahhh…. At first from his video, I actually thought it was a small grape garden. Silly me!

If you visit the place after the pandemic, you can also see the type of house – the farmers and nobleman. The contrast can be seen in terms of architecture and material being used, and of course the size as well.

During the vistual tour, we were shown old outdoor games played by kids those days such as yutnori. A game I might wanna try when I visit this place.

Oh! This is fascinating…. THE ONDOL/GUDEUL (baked stones).
The guide explained the amazing room heating technology back then. I will try to explain it in the best way I can. Stones are arranged under the ondol room during the construction of a traditional house where the stones are "heated or baked" to heat the floor from a fireplace. 

Photo credit : Wikipedia

The heat or hot smoke will pass through under the rooms thuse increasing the temperature of the floor, the smoke will then escape through the chimney at the end. Hence you will see the houses’ chimney is located on the ground outside unlike the western home. Impressive right.


  • Have a picnic here as outside drinks and foods are allowed
  • Bring water, lotsa of walking hence you’ll get pretty thirsty
  • There stalls, cafes and eateries available here but not halal though
  • Audio guides are also available in 4 languages - English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean also for rent.
  • Reservation is required is you wish to have a physical guide (please state your preferred language)
  • Wheelchair-friendly.
  • Oh yah! Wheelchair and stroller rentals are available.
  • Prayer rooms is not available here but you can go to the nearby tourism centre and use their place for prayer.

Korean Folk Village
90 Minsokchon-ro, Giheung-gu
Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
South Korea
Tel : +82-31-288-0000

Operating Hours

Entrance Fee
Adult : ₩22,000
Teenagers : ₩19,000
Children : ₩17,000

Interpretation Services*
Language : English, Japanese, Chinese
*Advance reservations are required for guided tour

Audio Guide*
Language : Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese
*Submit your own identification card, you can rent it. ₩2,000 rental fee
*Rental can be done at information desk in Market Village, Korean Folk Village

How to get to Korean Folk Village : (
- Stop at Gangnam Station (line 2/Sinbundang, exit 5). Upon exit, U-turn and cross the road just behind the station exit to the bus stop at the middle of the road.
- Take bus #5001-1. It’ll cost ₩2,500 per/pax for a 1 hour journey.
- Upon alighting from the bus, cross the road to the big car park in front and walk towards Korean Folk Village entrance on your right. It is a 5 mins walk.
Departure from Korean Folk Village :
- Take the same bus #5001-1 across the road from where you alight earlier. (i.e. departing bus stop is on the same side as Korean Folk Village, no road crossing required).
- Both bus stops from Gangnam Station exit 5 or 10 are the same bus stops going to Everland on bus #5002.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

I lost my mom’s Hanbok!

Yup! I lost my mom’s Hanbok that my late dad bought for her during his trip back in the 80s. I doubt she knows/remembers owning one and that I lost it, I believe I lost it during one of the company event where we need to wear traditional attire. Sushhh….. Don’t go and tell tau.

I guess, I should do this 2 (or perhaps 3 or 4 things) first when I visit South Korea next time.
   1. Take a photo in Hanbok at one of the palaces
   2. Go buy a Hanbok as a gift to my mom
   3. Attend a Hanbok class – I bet it’ll be interesting
   4. Buy a modern Hanbok dress that is currently trending

The handbook goes as far back as the Three Kingdoms of Korea with minimal changes made or perhaps none except for the material and how the sewing is done nowadays. In present time, it is won on special occasions or during festive season.

A Hanbok is divided into 2 parts namely the jeogori (jacket), baji (trousers for male) and chima (skirt for female). It is also said that a Mongol princess who is married into Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty has brought along and assimilate the Mongolian fashion into the Korean Hanbok. Due to this, the jeogori is abit shorter (at the waist line) and is tied at the chest. The sleeves are slightly curved where else the chima was shortened.

And it is further identified by the 5 yin-and-yang elements that is white (metal), red (fire), blue (wood), black (water) and yellow (earth). Not only that, these colours symbolises the social position as well as marital status for example, bring colours are usually worn by kids meanwhile the elders wear a more subdued tone. The colours were even distinguished by yellow jeogori and red chima are often worn by singles and married or middle age women, in green and red respectively. And those with sons donned in navy colours. Very technical right.

If you think this ends here, NOOOOOOO. The upper class has the options of wearing any/many colours however the working class, back in those days are required to dress in white and match with shades of faint pink, light green, grey on special occasions. Similar with other traditional attire, upper class not only has the right to choose any colour (often opulent in tone) but the materials are usual expensive, rare and of a good quality. While cotton for commoners. In the older days, colors or dyes were extracted from natural plant - fruits or vegetables.

Any design on the material/cloth represents their wishes, a simple example will peonies flowers on a wedding dress is an aspiration for honour and wealth. Similarly, hope for nobility is being represents by lotus flowers and wish for children, pomegranates. As for animal design such as dragon, cranes and phoenixes are only for royalty and high-ranking officials.

This doesn’t end here, the Koreans are very detail and appreciate their custom – traditional attire right down to accessories and shoes. Usually a handbook is beautified with norigae; a traditional Korean accessory (ornamental tassel) that is hung from a woman's jeogori. There is also the daenggi; a traditional Korean ribbon that is used the end of a braided hair. Baetssi-daenggi is a head piece worn and is to be worn with the daenggi-meori, for married women and royalties they wear cheopji. Daenggi-meori and cheopji are differentiated by materials and design such as dragon, peacock, phoenix or flower and butterfly. Last but not least, the binyeo - a hairpin or cucuk sanggul for us Malaysian. It is made of metal, wood, jade, silver, brass or even bones.

To complete the whole attire, footwear requires the same attention. Suhye, unhye and heukhye are for woman, these is a silk embroided shoes and nowadays comes with a heel and taesahye, oikohye and jeokseok are worn by men that is made with fleece and leather.

You can easily rent a Hanbok at some of the palaces or the cultural village where you can roam around and take beautiful photos donning this beautiful Korean traditional attire.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

KNOT Knowing is the ULTIMATE LOVE – South Korea

Definition from Wikipedia that I’ve gotten on Korean Knot Tying or Maedeup as below :
Maedeup, or Korean knots, has evolved from a basic technique to produce textiles to skills such as knitting, knotting and weaving. It was a skill necessary for survival, rather than a creative art. In the past, maedeup was used to make tools for hunting, fishing, communication and records or even symbols of status.

Often we receive souvenirs from South Korea the likes of keychain, bookmarks or tassel where we usually put on a door knob. We usually buy them because its small, light and cheap but rarely ponder on the art of knot tying itself – this unique Korea art form. So I figure, why not I dig a little bit more and share with all of you guys so that the next round we visit Korea, we will understand and appreciate it more. We can even share the origin, history or meaning of this old art form.

This process of macramé (I just learnt a new word here) or art of knotting string in patterns for decoration to form a symmetrical pattern. And the Korean Maedeup is a skill of tying knots in various ways and types - Sul (tassel) that is attached to the lower part of a knot, Chrysanthemum Knot, Butterfly Knot, Bak Yuso (Korea traditional instrument), Norigae (Korea traditional ornaments worn by women) and many more. Very creative indeed.

There are 4 steps in making a maedeup. In the olden days these 4 steps were done by different knot artisans. However, due to this dying art and lacking of subject matter experts, hence nowadays these tasks are being done by 1 person.

1. Dyeing
- The thread is made of silk that has been washed and dyed. Aside from silk, ramie, mulberry, hemp and wool is also being used. Those days, dye are from natural pigment.

2. Dahoe (cord)
- Is a process of braiding by twisting several thread into cords depending on strength and thickness required.
3. Maedeup (knots)
- The traditional art form of knotting silken cords into decorative ornament or jewelry

4. Sul (tassels)
- Tassel is attach at the end of maedeup.

Know tying was made popular during the Joseon era where 38 type of traditional basic knots crafted from the Joseon Kingdom. Reason being, knots is used in events or for the purpose of beautifying and complementing and ornament such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants. Hence, it maedeup rose to its fame of which many dahoe and maedeup artisans and subject matter experts were being employed.

Some might also wonder the difference between Chinese (zhongguo jie), Japanese (kumihimo, mizuhiki & noshi) and Korean (maedeup) knot tying. Below are the distinctive differentiation between the 3 know tying style.

Chinese (zhongguo jie) – It is shaped as letters. Its tassel is shorter than the Korean knots
Japanese (kumihimo, mizuhiki & noshi)  Japanese knots are tied loosely
Korean (maedeup)  Maedeup are tighter and three dimensional. 

If you are interested to know more or to learn the art of making a meadeup, you can attend a session organized by Dong-Lim Knot Workshop. The session takes 40 minutes where you’ll get to see a demo by the meadeup master and learn to create one yourself. Worried not, you need not bring anything as tools and materials are all included.

Dong-Lim Knot Workshop
03056  10, Bukchon-ro 12-gil
Jongno-gu, Seoul 
How to get there
Board Subway Line 3, stop at Anguk Station and take Exit 2
Operation hour
Daily 10:00 - 18:00 
Close on Mondays, Lunar New Year & Chuseok
Option 1 : Bracele or Cellphone Charm : ₩7,000
Option 2 : Necklace : ₩10,000

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