According to its annual report on the state of kimchi-making in Korea, the KimChi Institute in Gwangju claims that for the first time ever, more foreigners than Koreans are making kimchi . Long considered a staple of the Korean diet and culture, kimchi -making is rapidly becoming something that is done largely by foreign residents and tourists.
According to the report, outside of restaurants and large Korean food companies, virtually the only people still bothering to make kimchi are “Japanese tourists and the wives of foreign diplomats and businessmen.” One enterprising company, KimChi4You, is planning to open several small factories at several locations where Japanese tourists like to visit. The plan is to encourage the tourists to experience traditional Korean culture, combining kimchi-making with underhanded labor practices.
KimChi4You CEO Kim Yong-Chul is proud of his innovative business plan. “The Japanese tourists will provide high-level free labor for my business. They are quick learners and follow directions very well. I am confident that my company will be able to undercut even the Chinese kimchi makers.” Asked if he has any plans to employ western kimchi makers, Kim was rather blunt…”No way. So many of the western kimchi-makers have a few glasses of soju before they try their hand at kimchi-making. They laugh and joke around, and they just don’t wrap the cabbage as well as a Japanese housewife.”