Gung Ho for KimchiRecently a Korean Thai Friendship Festival in salute of 40 years of continuous friendship between Korea and Thailand was sponsored by the Korean Embassy, Chiangmai Municipality, Chiangmai YMCA and the KEC Thailand Company at Kad Suan Kaew. Chiangmai was the only city outside of Bangkok to hold this event.
The Korean Embassy organized 17 events such as a concert by the "Korean Charity Woodwind Quintet" from Seoul, Taekwando demonstrations, as well as exhibitions of Korean products, art by youths and a Korean food bazaar. An unusual culinary demonstration was organized where Korean women were to prepare sohm taam and Chiangmai women residents were to prepare famous hot, sapid kim chi---the condiment eaten with every Korean meal.
A group of six Chiangmai women residents gathered in enthusiastic readiness to prepare the kim chi. None had ever made kim chi before but one person had looked up information on the Internet. Later, to find out the information from the Internet compared with the brief live demonstration on that day were only alike in one way and that was the cutting of the cabbage leaves.
The wife of the Managing Director of KEC Ltd. a large Korean company in Lumpoon explained how to prepare kim chi. The Chiangmai competitors donned aprons and plastic gloves then moved to their assigned spots at the preparation table.
The first step was to mix Korean chilli powder with liquid rice starch, and sugar. Using one hand a paste was formed. Half the paste was mixed with slivers of carrots, turnips and green onion. After all vegetable slices were coated, the remaining portion of the paste was massaged into each leaf of the head of cabbage that had been previously soaked in salt water. Each competitor had two heads of cabbage. As the paste was applied by hand to a leaf, a handful of sliced vegetable mixture was placed between each leaf making a layered stack. The head of cabbage was then sliced length wise in two places, the nub cut off and leaves were cut in 2 inch sections and placed attractively on a platter.
Then six tasting experts judged the results. Several dishes were claimed too sweet, definitely prepared to suit Thai taste. The editor of "Welcome toChiangmai & Chiangrai" magazine took second prize and won a sizeable amount of prized Korean ginger tea for her efforts.
After seeing how efficient the Chiangmai team was in preparing the kim chi, the som tham competition was called off by the Korean team. Everyone much preferred just to eat the excellent sohm taam prepared by Mrs. Virat the wife of Chiangmai's Lord Mayor.
A big thank you to all the sponsors and organizers who made this weekend a success. It's a sure sign of the continuance of Korean-Thai friendship here in Chiangmai.
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