In my household, my onggi are prized possessions. Not only are they super functional, but they’re also beautiful. In fact, they sit on my kitchen counter 24/7 even when I’m not actively fermenting a batch of kimchi or kkakdugi. That’s how much I love them.
Kimchi— where do I even begin with this heavenly dish? The bubbles, that perfect tartness and satisfying crunch… I could go on for days. Heck, I love it so much that it’s in the name of my blog and instagram handle.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, kimchi by definition is fermented vegetables (most commonly napa cabbage), prepared in a variety of seasonings like fish sauce, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and salt. It is the epitome of traditional Korean cuisine. Think spicy sauerkraut but with onion, garlic, ginger, and a hint of fish flavor. In fact, kimchi is actually the national dish of Korea.
Nestled into the hillside on the outskirts of Busan is South Korea’s Gamcheon Culture Village. Famous pastel colored houses and blue roofs now characterize a village that was once a cluster of shabby homes. Occupied by the elderly and poor, many of Gamcheon’s historic residents were North Korean refugees who lost their homes during the Korean War in the early 1950s. Its metamorphosis into a picturesque Santorini-like hillside was actually due to a government-funded initiative in 2009 for local artists to brighten up the previously run-down neighborhood. Today’s Gamcheon, in addition to the colorful buildings, boasts statues and modern sculptures throughout the winding village.