Dayeong’s Reflexive Essay on Harmonizing Food Culture with Modern Society

The way to be harmonized Korean food culture with modern society

When I found out about Korean traditional culture as a Korean folklore assignment, I searched about ‘Korean jang’ and ‘gamasot’ in detail. I was unaware of correlation between these two subjects in choosing subject. In hindsight, two subjects have something in common. They are connected with Korean food culture. In Korean, the necessaries of life are considered to be food, clothing and a place of live. Seeing that I choose two subjects related to food culture, I probably think food is most important thing among three things. So, through this assignment, I want to review modern value of Korean food culture and find a new method to inform its value. I classified Korean food culture into two sections – ‘food itself’ and other Korean food culture. In light of my folklore assignment, ‘Korean jang’ is ‘food itself’ and ‘gamasot’ is other Korean food culture.

First at all, I look for ‘food itself’. I think food can easily interact with people compared to other traditional culture. If we go to the major supermarket, we can find traditional Korean food. With the purpose of informing Korean culture to the world, Korean food is used and branded. I think, the theme of Korean traditional food is ‘slowness’ and ‘healthiness’. In the article written by Han Gyeong-Gu, he mentioned about one of the traditional Korean food, gimchi(kimchi). He said that “A new interest in healthy cuisine has fostered a new regard for traditional Korean food”(Han. 2011: 150). We can know about theme of ‘healthiness’ into not only gimchi but also traditional food setting. By looking Korean food setting(sangcharim), we can know our ancestors ate nutritional food. Han also said that “The slowness of kimchi seems to refer to the fermentation process itself”(Han. 2011: 153). In the cases of gimchi and ‘Korean jang’, it is needed fermentation. In my ‘Korean Sauces, Jang’ video, I also mentioned this fermentation process. “The main ingredients in three Korean sauces or Jang are beans and they are fermented, ripened and stored. Through the processes, fermentation changes the properties of the ingredients and makes a unique flavor for the Jang”(Yi. 2014: 0.44-0.57). The process called fermentation is basically time-consuming. And gimchi and Jang is basic element for making Korean food. So, I think the term of ‘slowness’ could be used the theme of Korean traditional food.

I think, other Korean food culture can be included many things – manners, tools for eating food(spoon, chopsticks, traditional pot called gamasot, etc), community for making food and so on. Among this many things, I want to find out about ‘community for making food’. Han mentioned related content like “kimchi network” and said that “The network provided not only kimchi but also the opportunity to learn how to make better kimchi and how to live together”(Han. 2011:151). I also think Korean food is related certain group. In my ‘gamasot’ video, I said gamasot is connected family culture like that “Gamasot is necessary for Korean traditional Kitchens, and representative of family. When some family establishes a residence or moves into a new house, first of all they hang the gamasot on the Wood-burning stove. In this kind of practice, it is said that family members or people who live together for a long time are ‘eating hansotbab’ or ‘eating rice from the same gamasot’”(Yi. 2014: 0.39-1.07). I think this community comes from Korean traditional family or village culture. In old days, extended family was a very common style of a family and all people who lived in same village was on friendly terms with each other. This family or village culture makes an impact to food culture.

But, these days, the value I mention above of Korean traditional food is being lost. I think the value of Korean traditional food comes from its devotion and the process of making Korean food. As time passed, this process is simplified and substituted by someone else. “It has becoming possible to enjoy kimchi as a sort of instant food. This is quite ironic because kimchi is often praised by the Korean press for the “slowness” of its production and its healthiness”(Han. 2011: 153). I don’t think change is bad for Korean culture. Today, even ancestral rites are simplified and offspring bought some of ritual food at major supermarket, it didn’t mean lack of devotion. So, I think during making or eating Korean food, if you can feel its devotion, it is also good to feel our tradition. In explaining my other experience, I have had traditional class about making gimchi for Japanese students who are visiting to Korea. In class, instructor told the students about ingredient and process one by one. And then we can experience last process of making gimchi – just mixing kimchi seasoning. I think, this kind of class is also needed for Korean as well as Foreigner. It can be present interest and information about Korean traditional food.

As the structure of the traditional family is disintegrating and people barely says hello between the neighbors, we don’t find traditional food community like it used to be. I think instead of traditional community, by making new form of food community, we can overcome crisis of food community. Most people who like cooking foods may experience that finding new recipe through internet or SNS. Of course, direct experience is most important thing to develop culture. But, through new form of data – not only writing but also photo, video etc, I think we can overcome some differences between direct experience and indirect information.


Han, Gyeong-Gu. “The Kimchi Wars in Globalizing East Asia.” In Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late Modernity, edited by Laurel Kendall. 149-166. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011.

Korean Sauces, Jang. Accessed on 12/8/2014.

Gamasot – Korean traditional Cooking Pots Accessed on 12/8/2014.


Gimjang (Making Kimchi)

My name is Hwang Heon (황헌), and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Gimjang (The process of making Kimchi)

Related videos:




비에 젖은 해금 (Gang Eunil)


My name is Hwang Heon (황헌), and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Kimchi

Links to Related Videos: omija tea



Video Accessed on 11/26/2014


비에 젖은 해금 (Gang Eunil)

Traditional Wedding in korea

Hello! My name is Yang Ha-eon. I’m a first year student of Hanguk University of Foreign Studies. I want to explain to you about Korea’s traditional wedding ceremony~!

Related Videos List:  hope you enjoy it!! And also please watch my another video about Bowing. It will teach you how to bow in special day or events.

Sources List




  • Gim yundeok – “Geomungo Sanjo”

This year, Korea suffered lots of things. Especially, Sewol-ho disaster was the most tragic incident. Many performances and ideological movements were shown. I think these are the moral and attempt to make new things to do not repeat the tragic incident. History always gives us experience and moral. Furthermore at this point of time, history still attempts to tell us something. However, it may be asked whether we have ears can hear that. In performance and life, we can feel it and it is called Han. Because Han is in our DNA that consists of experience, it makes us share history and life.

Many performers and scholars attempt to arrange the stage that can combine modern and tradition. But we already combine and share modern and tradition through Han. As I studied and watched some performances, I felt sharing of Han. If someone asked me the question “what and where is the Han” Then my feeling such as love, charge, sadness and an overflowing joy will be basis. The feeling Han is the medium that connect modern and traditional culture. Especially, I felt deep sorrow when I heard pungmulnori. In Honam Udo Jeongeup Nongak, I could feel not only grief of Saewol disaster but also hope. The tearsouldn’t describe in one emotion. It was like an immediate and inevitable reaction. Also, I felt similar emotion in Goseong Ogwangdae. But there is also coexistence and equality that are the basic point of the performance and Korean culture. Performers combined the modern aspect and natural Korean culture. It is not weird but natural. This was the ideal point of the performance. Combination of modern and natural Korea is detailed goal of modern Korea society. But it is having an absurd dream.

During the video project, I went to traditional wedding ceremony and researched about bowing. They were about folklore and first I think it is really difficult. I couldn’t define and say folklore in confidence. But later when I was eating dinner I saw my spoon. Then I realized that this is the folklore. There is no spoon that is same with Korean spoon. I think that the unequaled thing that represents my identity is the folklore. Even a small product, our tradition and marvelous wisdom are in it. When I watched traditional wedding of Korea, I can confirm details that have meanings. For example, gourd dipper represents a well-matched couple and the concord of husband and wife. The chestnut symbolizes the ancestors and the jujube symbolizes fecundity.  Our duty is that reinvent the tradition and the meanings. Folklore is old and non-fashion, but it tie in and cannot be detached with modern. Modern makes folklore real “folklore”. That is to say, because modern exists, past also exists. Humor and cons of life coexist with us in the name of tradition. It is not natural but inevitable. I can feel tradition in daily life and me.

Tradition is the identity of Korea. That identity is gained by experience. Experience is the key-point of our identity. It makes me sad and even joyful. I can feel and see feeling of other people. My identity is hidden in my DNA called “Korean”. Because I am Korean can feel wonder seeing traditional wedding ceremony and many other performances. It is not a just nationalism. What I seen one by one can be my identity. Some foreigner can see Korea through me. Because  which I’m doing is all tradition and learned by experience and history. I am a subject that reconciles modern world and ancient culture. I am a living witness of ancient Korea and an intermediary between tradition and modern. Ancient and modern are connect with emotion and effort that keep and love tradition. We are the keeper and lover. Especially because I am a student of Korean Studies who is responsible for the knowledge of Korea.

Gamasot – Korean traditional cooking pots

My name is Dayeong Yi, and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of gamasot. Please enjoy!

Related Videos: 

Other my video is about Korean Sauce, Jang. Jang and Gamasot was necessary for Korean traditional cooking. If you want to know about basic material for Korean cooking, please watch this linked video.

Sources List:

Video : Accessed on 11/21/2014.

Photo :

Information : KISTI. Accessed on 11/21/2014.

Korean Sauces, Jang

My name is Dayeong Yi, and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Korean traditional sauces, called Jang. Please enjoy!

Related Videos:

Food is the most important thing to human life. So, I and other classmates choose subjects related to Korean traditional food. Please watch these videos!!!

omija-tea(오미자차) / red bean porridge(팥죽)


Information by: 2014 경복궁 장고 (2014 Gyeongbokgung Palace’s Janggo)

Video : TV. Accessed on 11/21/2014. TV. Accessed on 11/21/2014.

– TV. Accessed on 11/21/2014.

– Accessed on 11/21/2014.

– Accessed on 11/21/2014.

Photo :

Omija tea

My name is Go Jeongmin, and I am a first year student majoring in Korean Studies. Please watch the video I prepared on the topic of Omija tea.

Related Videos List:

Other student videos related to Korean food include one about Gamasot (pots), one about sauces, one about ddeokguk, one about kimchi, and one about red bean porridge.

Sources List:

Photos :


music by Yang Bang Ean – “Flowers of K”

Information: Accessed on 11/29/2014. Accessed on 11/29/2014.

Cedarbough Saeji.

The information about how to make omija tea, starting from the berries, is from the directions supplied by the omija grower.