Alongside the Consul-General of Korea, Whie Jin Lee, and a host of chefs and food media personalities from Danny Russo to Lyndey Milan, I attended the Korean Cultural Centre for a fabulous multi-course Korean Banquet Showcase.
We were treated to an array of dishes, including seasonal hwe (Korean-style sashimi) of abalone, salmon, kingfish and cuttlefish, and...
...Korean pancakes (jun) with flavourings like zucchini, mung beans and oysters.
However it was clear from the outset, starting with bright red kimchi mandu (dumplings), that the hero of the meal was kimchi.
Wearing a beautiful hanbok (traditional Korean dress), Professor Jia Choi from Ehwa University (Korea) took us through the place kimchi has in Korean culture, beginning by explaining that eighty percent of Korean households have a kimchi fridge...
...and ending with kimjang, the collective, community-building aspect of making kimchi together.
It is said in Korea that the most humble meal consists of rice and kimchi, but the most extravagant banquet isn't complete without it.
While banquet Chef Heather Jeong did point out: “People say you don’t get good at making kimchi until middle age,” we even got to try our hands at making some kimchi ourselves!
It’s currently fermenting in my everyday fridge!
If you’re interested in making your own fermented cabbage, you too can visit the Korean Cultural Centre and take a cooking class ($50-70) with Heather.
The classes come highly recommended by Lyndey Milan.